The June 1 message from LA Weekly’s Jill Stewart, the feisty and fun Deputy Editor, News, was short, sweet and a total surprise: “Check out the finalist in News Story, Short Form, category near end. Who loves ya baby? — Jill”
Sure enough, the Association of Alternative Newspapers, AAN, had just announced the finalists in the venerable organization’s 2010 AltWeekly Awards and there I was listed with three LA Weekly stories that Jill and I had produced: The Valley’s Galaxy of Goo, Wrinkles at Runkle Canyon, and Brentwood’s Toxic Grave. I had no idea she had entered this work, which is reward enough. Jill is a gem.
LA Weekly has nine finalists in this year’s competition, second only to the ten finalists the Boston Phoenix has in the large newspaper category of over 50,000 circulation. One of those finalists is Jill herself in the prestigious Public Service category with the cover story Los Angeles on $300,000 a Year by Patrick Range McDonald, Tibby Rothman, Daniel Heimpl and Jill Stewart.
When I told EnviroReporter.com’s editor, Denise Anne Duffield, of this incredible news, she shouted “JILL ROCKS!” from the studio where she was working on her graphic online comic “Bad Girls from Outer Space” to be unveiled later this year.
My not-so-secret weapons include having these two excellent editors. Nothing goes over the wires from EnviroReporter.com before going through Denise whose multi award-winning skills at editing and website design are unsurpassed. And no hot news hits the pages and website of the largest, and best, alternative paper in the country, LA Weekly, without Jill’s whip-smart editing.
This year’s AAN competition is between 91 alternative newsweeklies nationwide with nearly 1,100 submissions.159 finalists were culled from the best of America and Canada’s alternative newspapers by 135-plus judges from such august publications as the Chicago Sun-Times, The New Republic and NY Observer, New Media outlets including Slate, DailyKos and ProPublica as well as Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc. and the Columbia School of Journalism.
The two other finalists in the News Story, Short Form for larger papers are Mark DeBonis of Washington City Paper and Chris Faraone of Boston Phoenix, the only category where second-in-nods LA Weekly takes on first place Boston Phoenix. The competition is formidable. And thanks to Jill Stewart and LA Weekly, so are we.