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2016 Better Newspaper Contest award winners

Here are the winners in the 2016 Better Newspaper Contest, which was judged by members of the Arizona Newspapers Association. The awards were presented during a banquet on Sept. 24 at the CasaBlanca in Mesquite.

(The winners are in order of first, second and third place, followed by the judges’ comments.)

Urban Daily

General Excellence

general-excellence-ud1. Reno Gazette-Journal
Brilliant use of design and white space, combined with top-notch investigative reporting, put Reno Gazette-Journal heads and shoulders above the competition. Little wire copy ensures readers are getting the stories on issues that directly impacts them.
2. Las Vegas Review-Journal
Relies too heavily on wire copy for A section – does national have to be A section; can it be B or C section? Better local stories lost too deep in the edition. Sports is RJ strength.
3. Las Vegas Sun
Too heavy reliance on opinion is a bit distracting, especially with a paucity of local news.

Community Service

1.  Colton Lochhead, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Guardianship abuses
This dogged investigation into how a government program intended to help residents in need went wrong left no stone unturned. Lochhead’s reporting shined light onto a dark corner of the community and led to reforms that will likely save countless families from the problems that arose with guardianships in Clark County.
2. Jackie Valley, Las Vegas Sun
Children In Crisis
Valley’s ambitious reporting details a growing problem in Nevada that does not have easy solutions. The project was expansive in scope, and painted a detailed picture with personal stories and data that backed the findings.
3. Brian Duggan, Jeff DeLong, Anjeanette Damon, Trevon Milliard, Jason Hidalgo, Mark Robison, Reno Gazette-Journal
RGJ’s investigation into local water usage during the historic Western Drought
Overall comments: It was difficult to pick a winner for this category, considering what phenomenal reporting was entered. The communities served by these newspapers are lucky to have such dedicated journalists, looking out for its residents.
A special mention for Anjeanette Damon’s reporting on group homes. If it had been possible to give a tie for third place, I would have opted for that. Her important reporting on this topic told a detailed and important story.

Best Breaking News Reporting

1. Siobhan McAndrew, Reno Gazette-Journal
Tristin Hurley
2. LVRJ Staff, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Car plows into pedestrians near Planet Hollywood, killing one, injuring 37
3. Staff, Las Vegas Sun
Jet at McCarran International Airport catches fire; 14 taken to hospital

Best Feature Writing

1. Steve Bornfeld, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Denial Blinds People From Symptoms That Signal Cancer
Hopefully with this article, more people will not be so blind from symptoms that may signal cancer
2. John Przybys, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nothing routine about the practice of anesthesia
Tells one how important anesthesia is during any surgery
3. Keith Rogers, Las Vegas Review-Journal
What in the world is area 6
Would encourage one to visit

Best Nonstaff Story

1. Matthew Crowley, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas man sues his Tinder hookup after contracting genital herpes
An interesting topic and interesting find, fairly covered and scaled so that both local and national readers can appreciate it. Even with details omitted or refused to be given, the story is complete.
2. Ed Koch, Las Vegas Sun
Nevada was a place of reflection and recreation for Nancy, Ronald Reagan
A good local retrospective on a national figure without focusing on easier traits that are more well-known. Though the downfall of Ronald’s career is somewhat overplayed, the details of Nancy are well put together.
3. Brock Radke, Las Vegas Sun
Las Vegas Club sale should be great for downtown
A good look at a local issue that might have been missed. Adds history and significance, though detailing the issue could have been better.
Overall comment: A good blend of stories, though most have too much opinion to be considered “straight” journalism stories. The feature angles are interesting and for the most part well-written, with my main concerns due to use of narrative, repetition and proper use of quotes. Content, and for all but one clarity were solidly covered.

Best Business Story

1. Rick Velotta, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Unusual incidents rock Allegiant Air’s profitable course
2. Daniel Rothberg, Las Vegas Sun
These Las Vegas undercover officers only look like they’re on vacation
Amongst the expected stories and subjects, the uniqueness of this story and how the sharing economy is impacting law enforcement was a great read.
3. Mike Higdon, Reno Gazette-Journal
Affordable Housing Vanishing

Best Explanatory Journalism

Jackie Valley, Las Vegas Sun
Children in Crisis: How Nevada struggles to help children battling mental illness
An excellent work that weaves personal stories of those impacted by the lack of children’s mental health services in Nevada with what is behind the problems to ultimately the potential solutions. Writer did a good job of weaving stories of people in the system with the system itself, and ultimately what needs to be done.
Mike Higdon. Reno Gazette-Journal
Cycle of Blight
Dealing with inner-city blight and the causes, as well as the challenges to actually doing something about it. The writer captures the challenges faced by Reno through stories of those who own property and those charged with finding out ways to fix them up.
Jennifer Robison, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Borrow $2,500 today, lose an $8,000 car tomorrow
Great look at an industry clearly having an impact on Nevada residents and a story that could lead the public to question why more rules aren’t in place to regulate such industries.
Overall comments: Nevada reporters in this category took on many challenging topics and succeeded on many levels. Many of these stories could lead the local officials or the public to make changes in a variety of subjects. The writing was solid and choices for winners were difficult.

Best Investigative Story

1. Anjeanette Damon, Reno Gazette-Journal
Living in Squalor
Excellent reporting that lead to meaningful and immediate changes in a state-funded industry designed to protect and support a vulnerable population. Through powerful anecdotes and descriptive passages, this story highlighted a defunct system that was largely unregulated and for which there was little to no accountability. Wasted taxpayer dollars, unqualified business owners and a complete lack of regulation lead to individuals with developmental disabilities living in deplorable conditions.
2. Brian Duggan, Jeff DeLong, Anjeanette Damon, Trevon Milliard, Jason Hidalgo, Mark Robison, Reno Gazette-Journal
RGJ Drought Investigation
Great use of public records laws and data to provide an intelligent analysis that was tailored toward each unique water consumer, over time. The series was reported well and advanced the topic on various fronts. The series meticulously showed an entire community and the impact it has on one of the West’s most delicate resources: water. The series not only highlighted key water users, including an all-but-abandoned golf course that used 11 million gallons of water in one year, but offered solutions and recommendations to advance public engagement.
3. Jackie Valley, Las Vegas Sun
Children in Crisis: How Nevada struggles to help children battling mental illness
The deeply reported series offers a well documented analysis into a complex issue for a youth with mental health issues, shedding light on a system that lacks the necessary resources and understanding to effectively manage “Children in Crisis.” Through disturbing narrative anecdotes, the series delves into the challenges families face as they deal with a disparate system that few understand or know how to navigate, ultimately highlighting the need for reform from the juvenile justice system to the availability of care to the capacity of medical professionals to handle growing case loads.
Overall comments: This was an impressive and very competitive category that included deep reporting with tangible impact on important public issues. Across the board, the public was well served by exceptional accountability journalism through deep data dives, dogged reporting and excellent use of public records.

Best Local Column

1. Howard Stutz, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Inside Gaming
Columnist’s long history with writing/reporting/researching the Nevada gaming industry displays insights and a depth of knowledge that the reader can trust.
2. Mark Robison, Reno Gazette-Journal
Mark Robison’s Ask the RGJ column
Excellent presentation for the reader to get an “at-a-glance” overview/answer to a question, or to have an option to read more deeply into the answer.
3. John Katsilometes, Las Vegas Sun
The Kats Report
Lively and personal first-hand writing on the entertainment scene. Impressive photo galleries accompany the column – give the reader even more to enjoy about the subject matter.

Best Local Non-staff Column

1. Jon Ralston, Reno Gazette-Journal
Great writing and detailed, understandable analysis from a writer who is articulate and has a strong, candid writing style.
2. Jane Ann Morrison, Las Vegas Review-Journal
These entries show the breadth of knowledge the writer brings to her subject matter and she writes about it in eloquent prose that is concise, clear, and compelling.
3. Cory Farley, Reno Gazette-Journal
The humorous, vivid narrative voice brings this columnist’s prose to life in a way that makes the reader feel like he/she is standing right there with Farley.
Overall comments: It’s a shame everyone can’t win. The entries in this category were all compelling, striking and fun to read — from the train story to the gun control column to the peek into the life of prostitutes to the rumbles of Burning Man. Congrats to all the writers who submitted — your work is so important.

Best Sports Story

1. Steve Carp, Las Vegas Review-Journal
25 years later UNLV’s final four loss Duke still stings
A well-written story on a classic game that still resonates with sports fans in Las Vegas and around the country. I liked how the writer incorporated a wide range of sources, including perspective from the Duke side. The writer also scores by including the aftermath, which ties up this story nicely.
2. Chris Murray, Reno Gazette-Journal
Don Jackson – A life saved
The writer did a wonderful job with storytelling, sourcing and research in this feel-good human interest piece. The lead provided a good hook and I found myself curious how the subject’s story would play out.
3. Taylor Bern, Las Vegas Sun
The Carters shine in Rebels’ 72-69 victory against No. 13 Indiana
In my opinion, in order for a gamer to place in this category, it needs to have a unique angle that carries the reader beyond game coverage. This story provided that with the father-son angle, which the writer captured in the lead and developed throughout the story. Backstory and game details are woven seamlessly, making this a compelling read.

Best Sports Column

1. Ed Graney, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nice range of community-related topics with national interest makes this entry stand out. The columnist tackles controversial issues head-on and, when applicable, offers potential solutions instead of simply railing on wrongdoing. Also, instead of merely expressing opinion, the columnist interviewed subjects affected by circumstances in each event.
2. Chris Murray, Reno Gazette-Journal
Fine job of humanizing sports personalities familiar to the community. These are touching stories that connect the local and athletic communities on a personal level. Some columns read more like feature stories and one was considered for an award in another category.
3. Ray Brewer, Las Vegas Sun
From the Pressbox
Covers big issues relevant to the local sports community and also the general populace.

Best Entertainment Writing

1. Johnathan L. Wright, Reno Gazette-Journal
9 things never to order at a business meal
The best all-around writing.
An excellent mix of entries showing real versatility. Wit and practical advice in the piece on what not to order at the business lunch; fast-paced factual writing in the turkey spread; and easy-going, entre-nous writing in the chat with the Couture Closet proprietor. All were expertly told tales.
2. Christopher Lawrence, Las Vegas Review-Journal
70 things I learned from watching Nicholas Sparks movies, Saying goodbye to CSI, Saluting the movies and categories the Oscars forgot
The wittiest writing. Breezy, biting writing that seems, at its best, more entertaining than some of the entertainment the author is covering. The Oscars and Nicholas Sparks pieces are little more than setups for the writer’s zingers and gags, but that’s a sort of entertainment writing genre in itself …and one newspaper feature sections across the U.S. could use more of.
3. Carol Cling, Las Vegas Review-Journal
‘Casino’ unflinching in its view of Las Vegas and its mob past, Sinatra Jr. sings the hits this Saturday at The Smith Center, Adult-only ‘Showgirls’ spoof promises to be better than the original
The best traditional journalism. Solid feature writing with nice turns of phrase here and there (“Twilight-of-the-mob” was an especially nice one.) Deft job of weaving lots of quotes from lots of different people into the narrative of both the “Casino” retrospective and the “Showgirls” preview.
Overall comment: It was a pleasure judging pieces that were so uniformly well written. The art of entertainment writing is evidently alive and well in Nevada.

Best Critical Writing

1. Christopher Lawrence, Las Vegas Review-Journal
What was Steve Wynn thinking with ‘Blart’ sequel?‘ Magic Mike XXL’ an abs-olutely pec-tacular experience, Earthquake extravaganza ‘San Andreas’ has plenty of faults
Strong, colorful opinions in which the writer’s conversational voice made me feel I was sitting across from him in a pub. Acerbic dry wit at its best.
2. John Katsilometes, Las Vegas Sun
This writer’s knowledge of the Vegas stage scene is truly a complement to his thoughtful, poignant and sometimes entertaining observations of the singers/entertainers he reviews.
3. Heidi Rinella, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Remedy’s is building better bar food, Does Tom’s Urban even have ribs?, Bold tastes and textures elevate dishes at Inyo Asian Variety Restaurant
Overall comments: All of the entries in this category were superb, and all the writers appeared to be experts in their chosen genre, which made all the reviews very sincere and insightful. Loved the use of language in all of them. Wish each reviewer could win…

Best Editorial Writing

1. Steve Sebelius, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Sunshine week smackdown, The opaque Boulder City, Commission should keep ex-judge Jones off bench for good
Smackdown, crackdown. Strong language and careful arguments that are well-thought-out with humor, logic and a biting tongue.
2. Tom Gorman, Las Vegas Sun
I love the way it seems the original reporting was weaved into the editorial. Very creative with a genre that often seems slate grey.
3. Mark Robison, Reno Gazette-Journal
An even tone sheds light on issues that affect not only Nevada, but the U.S. in general. Clean, clear, concise persuasion. The layouts were incredibly effective ways to illustrate the topics at hand.
Overall comments: All these entries were awesome and very difficult to differentiate between. Each writer has a command of the English language that serves them well in their goal of exposing corruption, persuading public opinion, etc. All entries were logical, concise, clear and all summarized issues in ways that made it easy for readers to understand what was being discussed or brought to light. There are no losers in this category.

Best Editorial Page

1. Reno Gazette-Journal
RGJ and LVJ were very close, but the presentation of the staff editorials pushed RGJ over the top. The Sun is lightyears behind these two in terms of what is being provided to readers.
2. Editorial Staff, Las Vegas Review-Journal
3. Editorial Page Staff, Las Vegas Sun

Best Overall Design

1. Reno Gazette-Journal
Big stories get excellent play, the pages are generally well-organized and the quality of the design is consistent throughout.
2. Las Vegas Sun
I like the pages and packages.

Best Page One Design

1. Take Uda, Reno Gazette-Journal
These front pages command readers’ attention: Look at me. This is important. They display the power of the printed page, and the planning that went into them is evident.
2. LeeAnn Elias, Las Vegas Sun
Several clever and eye-grabbing graphics on these pages really give them a fresh, inviting look.

Best Graphic Designer

1. Take Uda, Reno Gazette-Journal
2. LeeAnn Elias, Las Vegas Sun
3. Marc Jenkins, Reno Gazette-Journal

Best News Photo Coverage

1. Jason Bean, Reno Gazette-Journal
Hillary Clinton
I’m really pulled to Hillary’s eyes. I’m not certain of the exact circumstances, but I’m a bit scared. The woman to her right adds a seemingly out-of-place element. I wish I knew the back story, but I don’t get to read cutlines.
2. Jason Beanm Reno Gazette-Journal
GOP caucus
Whoa! The perfect combination of pink sneakers on the edge of a blue square grabbed my eye immediately. The little girl’s expression and gesture add so much. What a stroke of luck that the other child in the photo is donned in pink, too! It’s a moment we forget occurs at political events.
3. Andy Barron, Reno Gazette-Journal
Flash flood
These kids are so boldly escaping what I assume is a really dangerous situation. The photographer captured this as the exact right moment.

Best Feature Photo

1. Chase Stevens, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Zion Narrows
Great Photo. Love the silhouette.
2. Jason Bean, Reno Gazette-Journal
High winds
You feel like you are with the photographer. Great job!
3. L.E. Baskow, Las Vegas Sun
Death Valley
Love different colors and textures that you feel in this photo.

Best Multiple Photo Essay

1. L.E. Baskow, Las Vegas Sun
UFC Town
Incredible variety of photographs covering many aspects of this event. Composition, lighting, depth of field all excellent.
2. Andy Barron, Reno Gazette-Journal
Reno rodeo
Excellent variety of rodeo photos with some great close-ups and angles. Additional crowd photos told that part of the story as well. Great job!
3. Chase Stevens, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Death Valley Wildflowers
Sometimes it is hard to find great pictures for an assignment and this photo essay really impresses with its variety, imagination and quality. Love this!
Overall comments: Wonderful photos essays all around. Quality of photos made it very difficult to choose winners.

Best Portrait

1. Mikayla Whitmore, Las Vegas Sun
Kelsey Lane
Everything is right with this image. The ring is such an eye-catcher. The floral background, her floral clothing and the tats are just perfect together — the color combination is fascinating. I stared at this for a really long time. I want to interview this woman and find out everything I can about her. You can tell from her amazing eyes she has much to say.
2. Andy Barron, Reno Gazette-Journal
Joe Rock portrait
3. L.E. Baskow, Las Vegas Sun
Women’s Strawweight fighter Paige VanZant
Overall comments: This category was loaded with really nice images. I recruited a multiple-award winning photojournalist to weigh in on my choices. He was genuinely impressed, as am I.

Best Illustrated Photo

1. Jeff Scheid, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Jubilee Sunday
In a word, dazzling.

Best Sports Photo

1. Chase Stevens, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Arm’s Length Rebound
This image stood out to me for its painterly quality. It reminds me of the Mannerist style of Renaissance, most specifically Bronzino’s Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time. The emotion in each player’s face and elegance of the composition made this the clear winner for me.
2. L.E. Baskow, Las Vegas Sun
Stephen Zimmerman Jr. drops in a backwards dunk
Great composition and emotion made this image one of my top picks. The lack of conflict decreases the energy of the photo.
3. Andy Barron, Reno Gazette-Journal
Rodeo headbutt
A unique moment that illustrates the man vs beast aspect of bull riding. I wish the image was tighter to accentuate the tension and I find the rodeo clown in orange pulls focus away from the headbutt.
Overall comments: There were some nice images in this competition, but the winners stood out as precise moments that elicited more of an emotional response.

Best Special Section (Editorial)

1. Las Vegas Review-Journal
One sure bet: Death in Las Vegas
A morbid topic gets a thorough look. Not many special sections quote Herman Hesse and Hunter Thompson. Plenty of solid stats.
2. Benjamin Spillman, Reno Gazette-Journal
Hiking guide
This one was considerably more upbeat, with great photos and helpful maps.

Best Special Section or Campaign (Advertising)

1. Advertising Sales Staff, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Guide to The Holidays 2015
A holiday guide is traditional, but it still needs to be attractive and enticing. This one is both.
2. Advertising Sales Staff, Las Vegas Review-Journal
The Great Big Book of Savings

Best Web Site

1. Las Vegas Review-Journal
2. ReviewJournal.com
Las Vegas Sun
lasvegassun.com
3. James Ku, Caren Roblin, Yvonne Beasley, Rick Hoover, Ian McGibboney, Duke Ritenhouse, Reno Gazette-Journal
RGJ.com

Best Digital Storytelling

1. Jenny Kane, Reno Gazette-Journal
RGJ Exclusive: BLM wants $1 million VIP compound from Burning Man
2. Mike Higdon, Reno Gazette-Journal
Drought could dry up Nevada’s estate distilleries in 2016
3. Rachel Aston, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Tunnel Dweller

Best Platform Writing

1. Kristen DeSilva, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Knowing Vegas: Why isn’t the Strip in Las Vegas?
The Knowing Vegas series appears to be both light and informative. I judged this with other Knowing Vegas entries in mind.
2. John Katsilometes, Las Vegas Sun
The Kats Report
3. Anjeanette Damon, Reno Gazette-Journal
9 ways Reno might spend it’s $10 million surplus

Digital innovation

1. Brian Duggan, Brett McGinness, Kelly Scott, Caren Roblin, James Ku, Reno Gazette-Journal
The Reno Memo
Here is an appealing idea to connect with new readers. It does more than just rehash the same content, while at the same time promoting the core product.

Intermediate

General Excellence

1. Pahrump Valley Times, Arnold M. Knightly, Vern Hee, Mick Akers, Daria Sokolova, Selwyn Harris, Heather Ruth

Local throughout, with a good mix of hard news and features.
2. Lahontan Valley News
Good layout and focus on youth sports. Large number of features seem to appeal to audience.
3. The Record-Courier, Kurt Hildebrand,Dave Price,Sarah Hauck,Aurora Sain,Brad Coman, Jim Grant
Good emphasis on local content, with very strong photography.

Community Service

1. Cynthia Delaney, Elko Daily Free Press
Vietnam Voices
Really enjoyed this! Each article was well written and kept me reading to the end.
2. Fallon Godwin-Butler, Heather Kennison, Marianne Kobak McKown, Cynthia Delaney, Elko Daily Free Press
Breast Cancer Awareness
3. Kurt Hildebrand, Caryn Haller, Aurora Sain, The Record-Courier
Douglas County Gravel Pit

Best Breaking News Reporting

1. Taylor Pettaway, Nevada Appeal
Deputy Howell’s death
Solid reporting. Each story deserves to stand alone and is not simply a rehash of an earlier version.
2. Steve Ranson, Lahontan Valley News
Lonely, vast, unforgiving
3. Steve Puterski, Steve Ranson, Lahontan Valley News
Fallon man murders ex wife

Best Feature Writing

1. Sarah Hauck, The Record-Courier
Carson Valley connects World War II memories
Clearly the head of the class.
2. Geoff Dornan, Nevada Appeal
Nevada welcomes Charles Sehe
Second place by a hair. Both second and third place choices should be rightly proud of their work.
3. Aurora Sain, The Record-Courier
MS sufferer seeks options south of the border
Both second and third place choices should be rightly proud of their work.
Overall comments: Some excellent stories here. Reporters need to remember that sometimes the best stories are among the briefest.

Best Nonstaff Story

1. Caryn Haller, The Record-Courier
30,000 attend Minden Aviation Roundup weekend
2. Christy Lattin, Lahontan Valley News
Cleaning up the corner
3. Christy Lattin, Lahontan Valley News
CC High School junior faces kidney transplant

Best Business Story

1. Heather Kennison, Elko Daily Free Press
Downtown at crossroads
2. Daria Sokolova, Pahrump Valley Times
County ready to challenge state
3. Geoff Dornan, Nevada Appeal
Stewart Indian School
Would have liked more Native American perspective

Best Explanatory Journalism

1. Taylor Pettaway, Nevada Appeal
Domestic violence in Carson City
Great in-depth story. Covered a lot of necessary angles: the victim, the abuser, the authorities, impact on children/families, the causes/the difficulty to leave an abuser, prevention. Excellent side bar stats and data
2. Christine Kuklica, Lahontan Valley News
Suicide
Front page cover delivers impact, empirical stats & data, quotes from school officials – what they are doing for the group that is most at risk
3. Heather Kennison, Elko Daily Free Press
Pregnant women cope with doctor shortage
Clearly explained the OB-GYN & Medicaid / economic issues in rural Nevada community.
I know you don’t accept Honorable Mentions but if I could, I’d like to designate: Sage Grouse Land Use / Samantha Stine / Humboldt Sun for Honorable Mention.

Best Investigative Story

1. Elaine Bassier, Dylan Harris, Heather Kennison, Elko Daily Free Press
Homeless but not hopeless
2. Kurt Hildebrand, The Record-Courier
Slain woman’s mission to free husband
3. Joyce Sheen, Humboldt Sun
Homeless in Winnemucca & Living Without an Address

Best Local Column

1. David Henley, Lahontan Valley News
My Turn
2. Kurt Hildebrand, The Record-Courier
3. Arnold M. Knightly, Pahrump Valley Times

Best Local Non-staff Column

1. Thomas Mitchell, Elko Daily Free Press
Full of facts that bolster arguments. Subjects are related in general theme, and of importance to the local reader. Well-written and opinionated without overt name-calling or other crassness. Engaging and doesn’t bog down.
2. Trina Machacek, Humboldt Sun
Fun. There is a casual feel that keeps the reader’s eyes moving. The subjects are interesting even if small and pull the reader into the scene.
3. Rick Seley, Lahontan Valley News
I enjoyed the humor. The topics were well-rounded. It is an easy read but engaging, not letting the reader get bored at any point. Well done.
Overall comments: The top three were solid. The range of fun, relaxed topics to the serious was impressive. All top three were contenders for first.

Best Sports Story

1. Vern Hee, Pahrump Valley Times
Pahrump has cowgirls, they’re just harder to find
I thought the writing in this story was the absolute best of all the stories submitted and I liked the angle from which it was approached.
2. Tony Erquiaga, Humboldt Sun
Reno Aces groundskeeper
I enjoyed someone finding a story that most would overlook in covering the team.
3. Thomas Ranson, Laci Thompson, Lahontan Valley News
State Champs
I would have liked more story!
Overall comments: Thanks for the opportunity to read these stories.
I’ve worked at quite a few different newspapers (and have read many from the smallest to the largest) through the years and it never ceases to amaze me at how many mistakes remain after stories go to press. Sadly, many of these stories provide strong testimony to that circumstance.
I apologize, but spelling errors and bad grammar cause me to lose interest quickly when I’m reading a story.

Best Sports Column

1. Vern Hee, Pahrump Valley Times
The columnist does a good job of tackling issues relevant to the local sports community. He clearly identifies the issue, details background information, and offers solutions when applicable.
2. Thomas Ranson, Lahontan Valley News
The columnist seems to be in touch with the local sports community and produces human-interest commentary that are relevant to the audience.
3. Darrell Moody, Nevada Appeal
The columnist brings issues from the local sports community to light and does not shy away from controversial topics.

Best Entertainment Writing

1. Kirk Robertson, Lahontan Valley News
Writer does a great job of giving the reader the essential information in clear, concise prose. Great entry. Stories are well-organized.
2. Sarah Hauck, The Record-Courier
The lede on the Aviation Round-up piece piques my curiosity. The windchimes Candy Dance story was well-written and now I really want one of those things.
3. Fallon Goodwin-Butler, Elko Daily Free Press
Overall comments: Every entry was truly a joy to read and judge. Keep up the good work, reporters! You are doing your communities a great service by keeping them informed.

Best Editorial Writing

1. Jeffry Mullins, Elko Daily Free Press
2. Steve Ranson, Lahontan Valley News

Best Editorial Page

1. Nevada Appeal
2. Jeffry Mullins, Elko Daily Free Press
3. Lahontan Valley News

Best Overall Design

1. Laci Thompson, Lahontan Valley News
This is a well-designed tab that makes good use of its limited space out front. Ads and inside pages are clean, easy to use. What could be junked-up is given room to breathe.

Best Page One Design

1. Laci Thompson, Lahontan Valley News
Great mix of photos, design elements, fonts and colors to draw in readers. The front pages using big photo elements gave the appearance of magazine covers.
2. Nevada Appeal
Creative use of photos and colors, photos and layouts. The black border around the fallen deputy story in particular gave an air of mourning without detracting from the story itself.
3. The Record-Courier
Good photo placement probably made these pages popular with readers and families.

Best Graphic Designer

1. Melissa Erny, Nevada Appeal
I liked the way the graphics on these pages draw you to the story.
2. Laci Thompson, Nevada Appeal
Attractive pages throughout.
3. Amanda Fruehauf, The Record-Courier

Best News Photo Coverage

1. Brad Coman, Nevada Appeal
Nevada welcomes Charles
The sheer joy, the color, the relationships between the three people (and I have no idea what that is) just spoke volumes to me. The framing, the moment of the photo, and everything about it just made it a wonderful viewing experience for me. The only thing that could have been better is if the little snippets of the other two people hadn’t been there–but that’s news–not posing! LOVE IT!
2. Jim Grant, The Record-Courier
News Resisting Arrest
The frozen tension and action in this photo epitomize the peril our peace officers face each and every day when they pin on the badge and hit the streets. For me personally, it shows what my youngest brother (CA deputy sheriff) tells me–it’s nigh unto impossible for one person to handcuff someone who doesn’t want to be handcuffed.
3. Cynthia Delaney, Elko Daily Free Press
Innovation
The closeness to these two little guys concentrating on a learning experience, and the fact that things like this occur every day without someone recording it struck a chord in me. Love the colors.
Overall comments: I think that for me the photos need to represent what I think the average ‘picture-taker’ wouldn’t see. Often that means just getting closer physically or with a lens.
It’s often seeing a great photo in a commonplace occurrence–as reflected in my number 1 & 3 choices. The action and tension in number 2 and the framing of it are what made me select it.
While I liked the photos of the fire, the flooded road, Ted C, Marco R and the deputy, I felt like anyone could have taken them and that they could have been improved upon at the time they were taken.
Overall comments: I did not read the stories with the photos until after finishing my choices. I only wanted to judge the photos and how they made me feel.
Thanks for the opportunity.

Best Feature Photo

1. Jim Grant, Nevada Appeal
Pool Hoops
Great moment. Nice framing and emotion.
2. Toni Milano, Elko Daily Free Press
Indian relay brings excitement to fair
Nice composition with the colors and repetition of hand prints leads the eye through the frame.
3. Jim Grant, The Record-Courier
Features School Olympics
The emotion comes through very effectively.

Best Multiple Photo Essay

1. Cynthia Delaney, Elko Daily Free Press
Jarbidge journey
Strong perspective on the lead image, great color throughout. Probably could have left out the bottom three photos, which were pedestrian.
2. Horace Langford Jr., Pahrump Valley Times
Falconry enthusiasts come to Pahrump to share art
Good solid work. Photos were sharp with nice perspective and cool composition. Deserved bigger and better play in the design.

Best Portrait

1.  Jim Grant, Nevada Appeal
Young Violinist
The expression of this young violinist is beautifully captured in this photo. Every time I look at the photo, new details emerge; the lighting, background, and centering is excellent. The emotions radiate through the photo, making this a great shot on multiple levels.
2. Heather Kennison, Elko Daily Free Press
Horse trainer
This shot has a conversational feel, providing a connection for the viewer to the subject. The timing of the photo is excellent; animals are distinctly difficult to photograph, yet this shot captured great expression from the pictured horse.
3. Brad Coman, The Record-Courier
Bob’s Bike
This photo shows good expression; the subject’s quiet pride in his bike comes through clearly. The background and lighting on this photo create a backdrop that is pleasing without being distracting.

Best Illustrated Photo

1. Cynthia Delaney, Elko Daily Free Press
Catalyst vapors
By far the most interesting photo in the category. Unique perspective. Liked how the cloud of smoke obscured the bodies of the two smokers on the right, especially the guy on the far right. Also, I don’t know if was intended, but the image creates an interesting bit of dissonance with the headline, which seems to claim that type of smoking is healthy although it doesn’t look like it in the photo.
2. Brad Coman, Nevada Appeal
Meteor
Old-school photographers might not be happy, but this high-tech amalgam is sharp and compelling. It was a nice touch to include the treetops on the edges to provide perspective.
3. Dylan Harris, Elko Daily Free Press
Only guillotine in U.S.
Obviously, it’s the perspective that drives this image. The only slight drawback is that the blade is a visual afterthought.

Best Sports Photo

1. Jim Grant, Nevada Appeal
Snow Soccer
A perfect moment in the perfect storm.
2. Brad Coman, The Record-Courier
Mutton Busted
Very well done. Crop for a strong horizontal might make this better than the square presentation here.
3. Anthony Mori, Elko Daily Free Press
Danner Harris long ball performance
Excellent. This photographer knows the action doesn’t stop when the ball clears the fence.
Overall comments: A solid collection of photographs, all of them well above average.

Best Special Section (Editorial)

1. Nevada Appeal
Nevada Appeal 150 Famous Pages
2. Marianne Kobak McKown, Dylan Harris, Elaine Bassier, Elko Daily Free Press
Newmont 1965-2015: A Golden Era
3. Kurt Hildebrand, Sarah Hauck, Aurora Sain, Dave Price, Brad Coman, Jim Grant, The Record-Courier
Carson Valley Almanac

Best Print Ad

1. Erik Achenbach, The Record-Courier
Don’t let them get too comfortable
2. Heather Ruth, Pahrump Valley Times
Dr. George Leaks – Veterans
3. Mike Madsen, Nevada Appeal
Steinway Piano Gallery

Best Black & White Ad

1. Joe Plummer, Humboldt Sun
Zombie Run
2. Brittany Shober, Humboldt Sun
Dubble Check – Summer 2015
3. Erik Achenbach, Nevada Appeal
Smoking

Best Advertising Innovation

1. Mike Madsen, Lahontan Valley News
Merry Maids
This is a small space ad and there is always a temptation to put too much in the space. You overcame that temptation to create a very “clean” ad. This is perfect because it is for a cleaning company. This a truly a salute to less is more!
2. Joanna Vernarecci, Lahontan Valley News
Jerry’s
This ad has nice balance. The fire truck and the fork provide horizontal and vertical balance.The thread of spaghetti and the shadow of spaghetti in the background leads you through the details in the ad. Very Tasty.
3. April Miller, Lahontan Valley News
Jr.livestock show
4-H is for children and this ad has a childlike look. The only thing that may need improvement is the border. Perhaps a fence/pen border would be more appropriate. The coupon like border makes you think you need to “clip” this ad when you really just need to just recognize the winners. The cartoon like animals add a happy feeling to the ad.

Best Ad Series

1. Barby Bridges, The Record-Courier
Health and Healing
Very Neat.
2. Rob Fair, The Record-Courier
Alpine County
I like it, because its creative and it takes editorial risks. They just need to be careful with the column usage.
Mike Madsen, Phillip Lanzino, Mike McGarvey, Nevada Appeal
3. Nevada Appeal 150: Then and now
Very creative!

Best Special Section or Campaign (Advertising)

1. Advertising Staff, Elko Daily Free Press
2015 Mining Expo Vendor Edition
2. Advertising Staff, Elko Daily Free Press
Cowboy Poetry
3. Pat Bridges, Tara Addeo, Candice Lindsey, Alice Price, The Record-Courier
Best of Carson Valley

Best-In House Promotion

1. April Miller, Nevada Appeal
Pets page
Love the way this has a call to action, with the artworks as well as words
2. Brandy Minnick, Pahrump Valley Times
Great Layout and information on publication
3. Nancy Streets, Jeff Mullins, Kassidy Zaga, Lizz Todd, Marianne Kobak McKown, Elko Daily Free Press
AAA Student of the Week: Academic, Athletic, Artistic

Best Niche Magazine

1. Advertising Staff, Elko Daily Free Press
Mining Quarterly
The Mining Quarterly provides a regular in-depth look at an industry crucial to the community. Good insight and coverage generally.

Advertising General Excellence

1. Nevada Appeal
Nevada Appeal
2. The Record-Courier, Pat Bridges, Tara Addeo,Canice Lindsay, Alice Price
3. Elko Daily Free Press, Advertising Staff

Best Web Site

1. Nevada Appeal
www.nevadaappeal.com
2. The Record-Courier
www.recordcourier.com

Best Platform Writing

1. R-C Staff, The Record-Courier
The R-C Running Commentary
Interesting that most of the writing on here is snippets from readers, but it seems like a good tool for engagement — and I read some real news too.

Community

General Excellence

1. Mineral County Independent-News, Eric Dahlberg, Heidi Bunch
Excellent use of art to drive readers to the stories. Depth given to stories that warrant, mixed with shorter stories of community interest.
2. Mesquite Local News, Kirk Kern, Barb Ellestad, Stephanie Frehner, Teri Nehrenz
Good job of localizing national content, as well as covering local activities.
3. Tonopah Times Bonanza, Bill Roberts, David Jacobs, Arnold M. Knightly, Bobby Jean Roberts, Melissa Roberts, Nancy Whipperman
Good volume of local news.

Community Service

1. Julie Fairman, Laughlin Times
Laughlin Times: Boil Water Order
The Times did a good job of providing valuable information and hounding authorities for what they were doing to fix the problems.

Best Breaking News Reporting

1. Peggy Jones, Lovelock Review-Miner
C Punch Closes Doors
This is a well-reported story with lots of local color and dense factual reporting.
2. Heidi Bunch, Eric Dahlberg, Mineral County Independent-News
Tornado hits Hawthorne

Best Feature Writing

1. Peggy Jones, Lovelock Review-Miner
Last suspected witch in US, Winnescheika, executed in Lovelock in 1891
Real interesting topic, unsure how well-known this is in community but was captivating to me. Professionally written and well-timed.
2. Marcus Lavergne, The Nevada Sagebrush
Gray space: Woes of the undecided
Good insight into the caucus process. Picked a good interviewee. It shows difficulty in election without going to the national level and everything commonly said in “mainstream media.” I could’ve used more info on rules, but that may be due to my state not caucusing.
3. Barbara Ellestad, Mesquite Local News
Benghazi Survivor
Interesting read. I wanted to “see” it more in the description, often a difficult part of writing about a lecture or presentation. Picked the right quotes, finding the heart of the issue.
Overall comments: Top competition was tough, but good historical perspective, timing and well-written stories shone through.

Best Nonstaff Story

1. Andy Saylor, Boulder City Review
Good barbecue part of Smith’s recipe for success
Nice personality profile. Good job.
2. Mark Bassett, Ely Times
Why the railroad still matters
Interesting history column.

Best Business Story

1. Sheila Gardner, Carson Valley Times
Overland Restaurant & Pub Aims To Change Carson Valley Culinary Landscape
The writing is what differentiated this story from the other contenders. The lede, which contained a nicely turned phrase, provided a quick roadmap for the story, something the others in this category failed to do. The story was well organized, handled multiple angles in a relaxed, conversational manner and provided interesting details and quotes throughout.
2. Barbara Ellestad, Mesquite Local News
Mesquite lands RV facility
The lede could have been a little jazzier, but it nonetheless conveyed why the story was worth reading, then followed through with a detailed picture of how and why the decision was made to locate the facility in Mesquite.
3. Debra Reid, Lovelock Review-Miner
Indoor farm to grow fish, vegetables
A weak lede was rescued by interesting details sprinkled throughout and a determination to tell the full story in an easily understandable way.

Best Explanatory Journalism

1. David Jacobs, Tonopah Times Bonanza
Landowners outside town seek to keep rural lifestyle
You can really hear the voices in this piece of journalism. But you also received the factual background to what’s going on.
2. Debra Reid, Lovelock Review-Miner
Massive fish die-off at Rye Patch Reservoir
This was a complicated story to tell without ‘diving’ into the weeds. Well done.
3. Peggy Jones, Lovelock Review-Miner
Former Lovelock resident tackles addiction

Best Investigative Story

1. Kent Lauer, Sparks Tribune
Relatives say police ignored wheelchair death
Good follow-up to an overlooked tragedy.
2. Marcus Lavergne, The Nevada Sagebrush
Diversity: An open conversation
Solid overview of the issue.

Best Local Column

1. Barbara Ellestad, Mesquite Local News
Barb Ellestad writes about Mesquite
2. Kent Lauer, Sparks Tribune
Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
3. Hali Bernstein Saylor, Boulder City Review
Hali’s Comment

Best Local Non-staff Column

1. Thomas Mitchell, Ely Times
2. Jake Highton, Sparks Tribune
3. Andrew Barbano, Sparks Tribune

Best Sports Story

1. Neil Patrick Healy, The Nevada Sagebrush
Ten years later: The Pistol is still firing
This historical piece is well done and the lede brings the reader right into Coach Ault’s creation of the pistol.
There are some good quotes and anecdotes throughout to raise it above the others.
2. Nathan Shoup, Sparks Tribune
Get a load of this guy
The second place story used a solid lede and the last few graphs ties it all back together.
3. Nathan Shoup, Sparks Tribune
Wrestlers face pressures
The third place story really lets the reader understand the struggle for the wrestling program to reach the next level.

Best Sports Column

1. Nathan Shoup, Sparks Tribune
Strong opinions on potentially controversial topics, and I especially liked the ‘lesson learned’ in the interview with the sportscaster.
2. Neil Patrick Healy, The Nevada Sagebrush
Good, solid columns on the university football team.

Best Entertainment Writing

1. Alexa Solis, The Nevada Sagebrush
Sharp, entertaining writing about entertainment — which is what we’re looking for here.

Best Critical Writing

1. Penny Bach, Sparks Tribune
Viva La Fiesta!
Vivid descriptions of the food made me want to join the writer for lunch. Loved the even tone and straight-forward approach to the review. The lede could have been better than the standard “my editor made me do it.”

Best Editorial Writing

1. Thomas Mitchell, Ely Times
These editorials are strong and succinct.
2. Jordan Russell, The Nevada Sagebrush
Well-written editorials on topics of interest to your readers.

Best Editorial Page

1. Sparks Tribune, Eric Dahlberg
Interesting pages, good mix of columnists. They could use more letters or other reader interaction and some visuals.

Best Page One Design

1. Emily Stott, Laci Thompson, Amanda Fruehauf, Melissa Erny, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza
2. Eric Dahlberg, Sparks Tribune
3. Eric Dahlberg, Mineral County Independent-News

Best Graphic Designer

1. Melissa Erny, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza
Great design elements connect readers to the story.
2. Laci Thompson, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza
Innovative color use, design elements and photo use.
3. Amanda Fruehauf, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza
Good use of fonts and images.

Best News Photo Coverage

1. Staff, Mesquite Local News
Mesquite Celebrates Fourth
Good variety of images, and some outstanding ones among them. Nice spread.
2. Steve Andrascik, Boulder City Review
Veterans Day
You caught a touching moment.
3. Nancy Whipperman, Tonopah Times Bonanza
Health care and government officials working on hospital solution
A newsworthy event, although the crop could have been much tighter.

Best Feature Photo

1. John Byrne, Sparks Tribune
Getting an eyefull
Funny shot, with a great focus on the eye.
2. John Byrne, Sparks Tribune
Agony of Defeat
This really catches the emotion of sports.

Best Multiple Photo Essay

1. John Byrne, Eric Dahlberg, Mineral County Independent-News
State tournament
The images really capture a range of emotions during the tournament. Good choices, well executed pages.
2. Tanya Bunch, Eric Dahlberg, Mineral County Independent-News
Armed Forces Day
Everything a smalltown celebration should be, captured in pictures.

Best Portrait

1. Ron Harpin, Carson Valley Times
Douglas High School Graduation Photo Booth
I like the photo and its message, but I liked the idea of a graduation photo booth even more.

Best Sports Photo

1. John Byrne, Sparks Tribune
Nevada Champs
This photo does a wonderful job of capturing the moment. The scoreboard with the final score above the celebrating players is the icing on the cake.
2. John Byrne, Sparks Tribune
Eye on the ball
Great action shot that leaves one wondering if the quarterback managed to hold onto the ball. The focus of the background player lends to the intensity of the moment.
3. Laura Hubel, Boulder City Review
Baseball
Great action shot that leaves the audience wondering if the catcher actually stuck the landing, or fell flat on the runner.

Best Special Section (Editorial)

1. Shari Gilson, Teresa Stewart, Gary Cook, Ely Times
Spring Sports
Nice section, although I would have liked to have seen more about the teams and players.
2.  Barbara Ellestad, Stephanie Frehner, Mesquite Local News
Best of Mesquite 2015

Best Print Ad

1. Teresa Stewart, Ely Times
Valentine’s Day Special
These are wonderful examples of newsprint ads done the correct way, with good use of color and photos. Readers do not have to work at figuring out what the ad is about
2. Christine Bryner, Manuel Berroa, Sparks Tribune
Is your Life Out of Control?
3. Teresa Stewart, Ely Times
Polar Express Rides Again

Best Black & White Ad

1.  Brittany Shober, Battle Mountain Bugle
GardenGate Floral – Hope in Bloom
2. Brittany Shober, Battle Mountain Bugle
Taste of Winnemucca
3. Brandy Minnick, Tonopah Times Bonanza
Tonopah Rotary Club

Best Ad Series

1. Christine Bryner, Manuel Berroa, Sparks Tribune
Is your Life Out of Control?
2. Manuel Berroa, Christine Bryner, Sparks Tribune
NexGen Store

Best Special Section or Campaign (Advertising)

1. Gary Cook, Shari Gilson, Teresa Stewart, Ely Times
Annual Ely Visitors Guide
Quite an impressive publication, with outstanding photos and packed with visitor information. This is how it’s done.
2. Shari Gilson, Teresa Stewart, Gary Cook, Ely Times
Veterans Day
A nice tribute of vets’ photos.

Best Niche Magazine

1. Ben Rowley, Rydan Banis, Lincoln County Record
Lincoln County Magazine
It’s put together nicely and has all the basic info. More articles, profiles would make it even better.

Best Web Site

1. Carson Valley Times
www.carsonvalleytimes.com
2. Sparks Tribune, Ben Rowley
Sparks Tribune website
3. Ely Times, Ben Rowley, Shari Gilson
Ely Times website

Best Digital Storytelling

1. Joey Crandall, Carson Valley Times
When Hollywood Landed In Carson Valley: An Oral History Of ‘The Wizard’
What a fun read. I think this is a stellar example of what this category is about — how to tell a story with the ability to mix in a variety of elements.

Digital Innovation

1. Joey Crandall, Carson Valley Times
CVT Mobile App
Although many publications have apps these days, few come from an operation this size and with such quality.

Best online ad

1. Joey Crandall, Carson Valley Times
Nevada Cerakote

Urban Weeklies

General Excellence

1. The Sunday
Important stories are given depth of reporting and room to breathe on the page; broken into components for readers to easily take in. Plus the addition of graphics, pull-outs, number boxes and info-boxes makes each issue visually dynamic. Easily the best designed publication we’ve seen in any category – this is what journalism should be.
2. Reno News & Review
Tying a man-on-the-street to the cover story is a smart way to afford the reader attachment.
3. Las Vegas Weekly
Does a decent job of covering the Las Vegas entertainment scene.

Community Service

1. Megan Messerly, The Sunday
We Have a Pill Problem
Strong series on a problem common to a lot of communities. Hopefully, this had broad readership.
2. Jan Hogan, Sandy Lopez, F. Andrew Taylor, Caitlyn Belcher, Ginger Meurer, Lisa Valentine, View Neighborhood
Addiction Series
I liked the choice of topics to broach about addiction, which made for some interesting reading.
3. Ian Whitaker, The Sunday
5 charged in 3 months: School District battles history of personnel violating students
Good work on a frightening subject.

Best Breaking News Reporting

1. Eli Segall, Vegas Inc.
Court issues order blocking Allegiant pilot strike
This story, a thorough and easy-to-read update on a potential strike that could have had broad impact on readers, shows hustle by a weekly.

Best Feature Writing

1. Leslie Ventura, Las Vegas Weekly
Wielding needles and wild artistry, these women are leaving their mark on Las Vegas
I love this idea. Wow. Stealing at my paper.
2. Leslie Ventura, Las Vegas Weekly
The Ballad of Ryan Pardey
Great storytelling. Well organized and love that final quote. You helped make connections with two Las Vegas icons–musically and in the scene, but also get to know this person.
3. Leslie Ventura, Las Vegas Weekly
Gender Identity, through the eyes of six Las Vegans
Well done presentation. I love that it covers a range of peoples’ experiences and not just interviewing women and men who are transgender. Great stories and beautiful presentation.
Best Nonstaff Story
1. Jessica Santina, Reno News & Review
Wide awake
I thought this was very well written and interesting to hear a story like this (something people experience at some point or another) from another point of view, besides my own. Good job!
2. Chris Sieroty, Nevada Business Magazine
Economic Forecast 2016: Increasing Stability and Growth
3. Craig A. Ruark, Las Vegas Business Press
Diamond in the Silver State

Best Business Story

1. Gautham Thomas, Kyle Roerink, The Sunday
Battle For Power
2. Daniel Rothberg, The Sunday
Social media stripped bare: What does Las Vegas company do with all the data it compiles?
3. Emmily Bristol, Vegas Seven
The Comeback City

Best Explanatory Journalism

1. Daniel Rothberg, Vegas Inc.
The war over Solar in Nevada
In depth report on Nevada’s solar industry with several links cited for the reader to explore additional coverage. Balanced report on all sides of the solar businesses, the consumers and the energy commission’s positions and the effect it poses on the state. The reporter clearly explains why it’s a particularly “hot” issue in a state with abundant sunshine.
2. Georgia Fisher, Reno News & Review
Battle Grown; Seeding Change; Farmer No; How Green Was my Permit?
Informative four-part series to a subject that I think consumers give little thought to – the food they buy and the certification/regulatory process. This report sheds light on the NV organic food industry and its struggles with the Nevada Department of Agriculture and other entities that regulate/certify/verify organic food.
3. Megan Messerly, The Sunday
Rape Suspended in Time
Eye-opening report on rape kit testing, its backlog and why/how the process is in the state that it is. Impressive and informative side bar on the what an individual can do/expect from law officials & medical providers if sexually assaulted. Explodes the myth that rape is far from the unreality of TV cop shows.
Best Investigative Story
1. Ian Whitaker, The Sunday
5 charged in 3 months: School District battles history of personnel violating students
Absolutely thorough and riveting. Strong lead and emotional connection. Well documented thesis.
2. Conor Shine, The Sunday
Who really has rights to Nevada land?
I felt bad ranking this second, as it also had the power of the winning story, compelling message. The hair-splitting difference was the lack of a conclusion as solid as the winner.
3. J.D. Morris, Megan Messerly, The Sunday
Is This the Safe That Caused Watergate? and A Peek in the Mind of Howard Hughes
Very interesting and excellent graphics. Well documented and well told.

Best Local Column

1. John Katsilometes, The Sunday
John Katsilometes in The Sunday
This is the epitome of column-writing, when it combines some news with some opinion that is capable of stirring emotion.
2. Michael Green, Vegas Seven
Politics
I liked the historical background mixed with fresh perspective.
3. Brock Radke, Las Vegas Weekly
Incidental Tourist
Like many entries, these were well-written and entertaining reads that felt closer to feature stories than columns.

Best Local Non-staff Column

1. Sheila Leslie, Reno News & Review
What about when the boom fades?/ School trustees need schooling in trust/ White guys only need apply
Good social commentary focusing on community issues, holding leaders accountable and bringing to light to need for equality and diversity.
2. Herb Jaffe, View Neighborhood
Couple share story of trying to save Desert Shores duck; Metro asks for public’s help in stopping mail theft; 13-year-old cellist adds prestigious Carnegie Hall to resume
A mix of hard news and feature stories from a seasoned veteran in our field.
3. Brendan Trainor, Reno News & Review
Don’t count on the government for facts/ Civil asset forfeiture is a lot like theft/ The things we do not know
Raises discussion-able issues about government and our relationship to its functions.

Best Sports Story

1. Mike Grimala, Vegas Seven
Opportunity of a Lifetime
2. Case Keefer, The Sunday
Bring the Magic Back: Mayweather Pacquiao Reminiscent of the Golden Era of Boxing
3. Ray Brewer, The Sunday
Poised for A Revival

Best Entertainment Writing

1. Lissa Townsend Rodgers, Vegas Seven
Showgirls—In Praise of the Ultimate Vegas Icon, Playing Dolls, The Melvins Take on the Big Room
2. Mark Adams, Las Vegas Weekly
3. Mike Prevatt, Las Vegas Weekly

Best Critical Writing

1. Kristen Peterson, Las Vegas Weekly
Peterson’s writing makes the world of “alternative/non-traditional” art (if there is such a thing?) explainable. It gives the reader a sense of understanding without being “preachy”, or condescending … she guides the reader so they will want to go to a gallery to see it in person for themselves.
2. Bob Grimm, Reno News & Review
Infinite jesting, A load of bully, More than a feeling
From reading his contest entries it’s clear that Grimm knows the movie industry very well. His critiques are sensible, yet have a touch of “I know what I’m talking about, let me help you decide if you want to rent it later or go see it now at your local cinema” without coming across as high-handed.
3. Steve Bornfeld, Vegas Seven
Puppetry of the Penis Stretches the Limits of Weirdness; Heavy Burden to Carey; ‘Duck Commander Musical’ Is a Quack, Jack
Can’t quite put my finger on it, but, Bornfield has a way of writing about the quirky and unexpected in the entertainment scene that it’s palatable enough (without compromising his style) that even the most conformist of readers would be interested in the subject matter.

Best Editorial Writing

1. Tom Gorman, The Sunday
Well-written, well-reasoned, with calls to action.
2. Dennis Myers, Reno News & Review
Christian terrorism/ Thanks a bunch, Jeb. No./ Bring the public in
Interesting, timely topics.

Best Editorial Page

1. Tom Gorman, Mike Smith, Editorial Page Staff, The Sunday
Editorial pages are attractive, very readable and suit the readership well.

Best Overall Design

1. The Sunday, Design Staff
The best use of page design seen in any category. Spectacular use of pull-outs, number boxes, illustrations and info boxes. Best of all, stories were given room to breathe. An outstanding job.
2. Las Vegas Weekly, Art Staff
Design of the dining section is this magazine’s strength.
3. Vegas Seven, Ryan Olbrysh
Good use of photography, it just needs to be played a little bigger.

Best Page One Design

1. Elizabeth Brown, The Sunday
I think this is very eye catching with all the colors. Then you read the heading and it makes even more sense. Very intriguing.
2. Ryan Olbrysh, Vegas Seven
I really like the uniqueness of this cover. It has a kind of retro look, but it goes with Stevie Wonder really well.
3. Laci Thompson, Northern Nevada Business Weekly
For a business publication this one doesn’t make you fill like you are looking at business publication. It isn’t stuffy like some are.

Best Graphic Designer

1. LeeAnn Elias, The Sunday
Strong organization of elements.
2. Elizabeth Brown, The Sunday
Interesting balance of elements.
3. Corlene Byrd, Las Vegas Weekly
Engaging use of color, clean and bold.

Best News Photo Coverage

1. L.E. Baskow, Las Vegas Weekly
Supermoon and Total Lunar Eclipse (on the back page)
This supermoon photo is an incredible shot. The framing, the lighting, the timing all came together perfectly for a fantastic photo.
2. Mikayla Whitmore, Steve Marcus, Las Vegas Weekly
Bundy Protest
The photo offers a great deal of expression, from the main subject in the photo to those around her. This a well-timed shot.
3. Mike Stotts, Vegas Seven
Wait…Am I Next?
This photo is a cute, expressive portrait of a very thoughtful little boy. This shot was well-timed and well-placed.

Best Feature Photo

1. Krystal Ramirez, Vegas Seven
Selling Intimacy Online
2. L.E. Baskow, Las Vegas Weekly
Everybody Equal
3. Christopher DeVargas, Las Vegas Weekly
Bazaar Food “Meat Your Match”

Best Multiple Photo Essay

1. Matilda Temperley, Vegas Seven
The People of El Cortez
I like these pix being in B&W. It goes along with the grittiness of the stories. Great work!
2. Mikayla Whitmore, The Sunday
Exotic Animal Kingdom
I love animals and so what’s not to like with these?!?
3. Mikayla Whitmore, Las Vegas Weekly
Westside Story: The Legacy and heart of a historic neighborhood
I just love these photos from out in the middle of nowhere.

Best Portrait

1. Krystal Ramirez, Vegas Seven
Joseph Muro
2. L.E. Baskow, Vegas Inc.
Mind Poortinga
3. Krystal Ramirez, Vegas Seven
Justin Favela

Best Illustrated Photo

1. Jon Estrada, Las Vegas Weekly
MGM Parking
Simple, obvious and to the point.
2. Krystal Ramirez, Phil Wrigglesworth, Vegas Seven
On the Taco Trail
Humorous and well done.
3. Jon Estrada, Las Vegas Weekly
Donald Trump
Funny and well done.

Best Sports Photo

1. Mike Stotts, The Sunday
Jetpacking is Fun for All Ages
Having the jet-skier in the background helps give perspective to the shot. Nice job.

Best Special Section (Editorial)

1. The Sunday Staff, The Sunday
Light Rail: The Future of Transportation in Las Vegas
2. Craig Peterson, Special Publications Staff, Vegas Inc.
VEGAS INC Giving Guide 2015/2016
3. Staff, View Neighborhood
Neon Rebirth: The post-recession American Dream in Las Vegas

Best Print Ad

1. Dany Haniff, The Sunday
Sun Standout Awards Nomination
2. Courtney Meredith, Chris Meredith, Reno News & Review
Wild River Grille – Bridal Ad
3. Steve Rademacher, Las Vegas Weekly
Acura of Las Vegas

Best Black & White Ad

1. Kyle Shine, Reno News & Review
Silver Blades
Bold and makes a clear statement.
2. Kyle Shine, Reno News & Review
Funtime
Best Advertising Innovation
1. Wayne O’Hara, Northern Nevada Business Weekly
Smoke Free Meetings

Best Ad Series

1. Sean Rademacher, The Sunday
Sunrise Health Royals Campaign
Great use of local Nevada based graphic. Theme was carried successfully through all parts of the series. The Royal cards theme appeals to all age groups. It evokes childhood as well as adult memories. By using a cartoon they were able to show medical needs without any of the negativity. The theme was carried well across all versions to gain recognition. It could be used over a long period of time without getting old. Well done.
2. Kyle Shine, Gina Odegard, Reno News & Review
Nicholas Riley- ad series
This is a great series of ads. Carries a strong theme without being “too cute”. The light teal color is very appealing to the eye, while conveying a medical feel. Strong calls to action. Two different graphics used throughout the series varies the look but still holds the message together. The play on words captures your interest but still keeps a professional service look.
3. Skyler Smith, Kyle Shine, Gina Odegard, Reno News & Review
Virginia Street Antique Mall
Great graphics carry the vintage store theme. Use of a strong picture in each ad and limited text draws you in. The only suggestion I have would be to eliminate the New Year’s ad. It doesn’t have the same feeling. If you needed a fourth ad it would be better to use an ad with a strong graphic similar to the other three.

Best Special Section or Campaign (Advertising)

1. Kids & Staff of Boys & Girls Club, Advertising Department of Reno News & Review, Seren Lusano, Reno News & Review
Reno News & Review’s Kids News & Review
The kids’ drawings for advertisers really makes the section. How can parents resist picking this up?
2. Skyler Smith, Kyle Shine, Gina Odegard, Reno News & Review Advertising Staff, Reno News & Review
Nevada Humane Society Duck Race Festival Program
Really liked how many ads managed to get pets into them.
3. Kyle Shine, Skyler Smith, Bev Savage, Reno News & Review Advertising Staff, Reno News & Review
Best In The West Nugget Rib Cook-Off
Useful guide to the event.

Best-In House Promotion

1. Sean Rademacher, Las Vegas Weekly
Best of Vegas Awards 2015
It looks fun and classy.

Best Niche Magazine

1. Craig Peterson, Special Publications Staff, Vegas Inc.
VEGAS INC Health Care Quarterly
2. Craig Peterson, Special Publications Staff, Vegas Inc.
Construction Las Vegas
3. Brock Radke, Mark De Pooter, Las Vegas Weekly Staff, Las Vegas Weekly
Industry Weekly

Advertising General Excellence

1. Vegas Seven, Michael Skenandore
2. Reno News & Review, Advertising Staff, Kyle Shine, Skyler Smith, Seren Lusano
3. Las Vegas Weekly, Staff

Best Web Site

1. Vegas Seven, Nicole Ely, Genevie Durano, Herbert Akinyele, Zoneil Maharaj, Amber Sampson
vegasseven.com
2. Las Vegas Weekly, Staff
lasvegasweekly.com
3. Vegas Seven, Jessie O’Brien,Geoff Carter
dtlv.com

Best Digital Storytelling

1. Kristen Peterson, Mikayla Whitmore, Las Vegas Weekly
Road trippin’: The natural wonders and decaying attractions of the East Mojave
I truly enjoyed the amount of effort put into this story about a series of places I thought I was somewhat familiar with–only to find out I didn’t know much at all. I think the details seemed to bring the area to life and that the photos illustrated the area (stark as it is!) wonderfully.
2. Kristen Peterson, Mikayla Whitmore, Las Vegas Weekly
Wielding needles and wild artistry, these women are leaving their mark on Las Vegas
Once again…separate, but related pieces with a common thread woven together beautifully and photos that make the ink art sing. Loved it on both counts!
3. Michael Quine, View Neighborhood
For ‘Pawn Stars’ celebrity and wife it’s books instead of flowers
I would have liked to see either a video about this couple only and/or photos of them to accompany the story.

Best Platform Writing

1. Geoff Carter, Vegas Seven
Geoff Carter, DTLV.com
2. John Katsilometes, Las Vegas Weekly
The Kats Report
3. Mike Grimala, Vegas Seven
Mike Grimala, RunRebs.com

Magazines

General Excellence

1. Luxury Las Vegas, Leslie Frisbee, Ria Reodica, Blue Ash
Fall Fashion Issue: Absinthe and L’atelier, Leading Ladies: A Collective of Culinary Excellence, Spring Fashion
2. RANGE magazine, C.J. Hadley, publisher/editor, John Bardwell, art director
3. edible Reno-Tahoe, staff

Best Feature Writing

1. Dave Skinner, RANGE magazine
“Sheep vs. Sheep”
The struggle between ranchers and government continues and seems never ending – this story’s in depth look at the issue really engages the reader by taking them inside the view of those who live it. Striking photos too.
2. Megg Mueller, Eric Cachinero, Nevada Magazine
Kingston for a Day or Three
The secret’s out. Charming piece written about an off-the-beaten-track location that is more than just a place, it’s a community to those who live there.
3. Heidi Bethel, edible Reno-Tahoe
Making the cut – Local butchers are devoted to their craft.
Food – everybody’s favorite subject. But, this is well written piece is about those who ‘butcher’ it. (pun intended) Explores their craft and passion, and personalities, along with their tips. Btw, awesome cover picture – the hacksaw and over-sized clever nailed it.

Best Nonstaff Story

1. Lisette Cheresson, Nevada Magazine
The Last Roadhouse
This is what good feature writing is all about. A fantastic topic, well written with flavor and life. Put this in a book and show it to J-School students under the header “How To Write A Good Feature Story.”
2. Kimberley McGee, Desert Companion
‘I’m a real boy’
Brutally difficult topic, but so timely. This, I imagine, must have been an emotionally taxing topic to research and write about, but great care was taken. This would have been a winner 9 times out of 10, but competition was fierce.
3. Marisa Finetti, Luxury Las Vegas
Sunken Treasures
Great writing as a whole – enjoyed several of your pieces. This was your strongest, based on the uniqueness of the subject.
Overall comments: Some really talented writers, but the top story and then the next two were head and shoulders above a group of well-composed and interesting stories.

Best Explanatory Journalism

1. Hugh Jackson, Desert Companion
About those exciting jobs of tomorrow
2. Eric Cachinero, Nevada Magazine
Hunters and Conservation are a Natural Pair
3. Andrew Kiraly, Desert Companion
Goodbye, Review-Journal

Best Investigative Story

1. Eric Cachinero, Nevada Magazine
Odyssey of a Ghost Town Explorer
I particularly appreciated that this series was entered as ‘investigative,’ when the investigating was done largely on the ground. It made for good reading.
2. Sue Edmondson, edible Reno-Tahoe
Celebrating unusual breeds – Meat from heritage animals not only is tasty and nutritious, but it also plays a key role in food security.
This was an eye-opening piece about an unusual topic. It really fits your readership.
2. C.J. Hadley, publisher/editor, John Bardwell, art director, & Staff, RANGE magazine
Caring for the land/Feeding America
Lots of interesting grist for the mill here — and I mean lots. Much of it, though, was opinion.

Best Local Column

1. Alicia Barber, edible Reno-Tahoe
Traditions
2. Megg Mueller, Nevada Magazine
Editor’s Note
3. C.J. Hadley, publisher/editor, RANGE magazine
Up Front by C.J. Hadley

Best Local Non-staff Column

1. Michael Tragash, edible Reno-Tahoe
Edible Updates
Tasty bits of information.

Best Entertainment Writing

1. Nina King, Las Vegas Magazine
Nina King’s Entertainment Writing
I loved the story ‘Every dog has its day on the Las Vegas strip.’ It was not only well written but with a unique voice making a some-what simple story fun to read.
2. Eric Cachinero, Nevada Magazine
City Limits/Wide Open
Each story submitted was consistent and well written. Good job.
3. Lee Pitts, RANGE magazine
Best Critical Writing
1. Dave Skinner, RANGE magazine
A great deal of information here that doesn’t appear to have been pulled together by anyone else, it clearly is an engaging topic for your readers.
2. Michael S. Coffman, Ph.D, RANGE magazine

Best Overall Design

1. edible Reno-Tahoe, Melissa Petersen
2. Luxury Las Vegas, Leslie Frisbee, Ria Reodica
The Gift of Giving, A Collective of Culinary Excellence, Spring Fashion
3. Nevada Magazine

Best Cover Design

1. Oliver X, Chris Meredith, Courtney Meredith, Anicia Beckwith, Franz Szony, Reno Tahoe Tonight Magazine
Nevada Magazine
2. Brooke Bertuzzi, Jina Hustler, Beth Schwartz, Elevate NV

Best Graphic Designer

1. Chris Meredith, Design on Edge
Complicated, informative golf and ski charts were amazing. Blue Jeans spreads made the merch and not the nice, moody settings the star.
2. Wesley Gatbonton, Las Vegas Magazine
You had me with the deft retro b/w Sounds of Summer spread. You clinched it with the dead-on headline typography on the other pieces. Love the way this designer organizes text.
3. Sean Nebeker, Nevada Magazine
The Hunter-Conservation piece was a real model of professional graphic design. The antler background theme was handled very well, especially on pgs 32-33. You had breathtaking photos to work with and you gave them their due.
Overall comments: Very close calls here. Every designer knew his/her stuff and every entry was professional-grade. But only a handful seemed to break out of the pack and have a distinctive fingerprint on them.

Best Feature Photo

1. Christopher DeVargas, Las Vegas Magazine
Absinthe
2. Chris Holloman, edible Reno-Tahoe
The Brewer’s Cabinet
3. Candice Nyando, edible Reno-Tahoe
Carson City Prison Dairy

Best Multiple Photo Essay

1. Shea Evans, edible Reno-Tahoe
Thrill of the hunt – Horsemen’s breakfast mixes Old-World tradition with a heaping side of Nevada gusto.
Beautiful photos that give a real sense of the event. Great use of wide, middle and tight shots.
2. Larry Angier, RANGE magazine
Branding
Great use of light and composition. These photos convey a true feeling of community. The last two photos are your weakest and break the energy and intimacy that is created from the first four.
3. Jerry Metellus, Luxury Las Vegas
Immersed
Nice use of color and composition to create a theme. Because of the strong theme and strength of the best images any inconsistencies, such as cut off hair in the first image and off-peak moment in the sixth, stand out.
Overall comments: This was a hard category to judge. There were a lot of great images, but I chose the winners because of their abilities to engage and convey an overall concept through their strongest and weakest images.

Best Portrait

1. Christopher DeVargas, Las Vegas Magazine
Carrot Top
This photo is all about concept and preparation. It’s well executed and cuts to the core of Carrot Top’s personality. You might not even need to read the story.
2. Fred Howland, Nevada Magazine
Self Portrait
This almost takes your breath away. The elements are well chosen and well blended in the composition.
3. Jim Shafer, Nevada Magazine
Two Little Buckeroos
It’s the colors, shapes and textures that drive this image, but what did it for me was the apparent lack of awareness on the part of the kids that the shot was being taken. Love candids.

Best Illustrated Photo

1. Christopher DeVargas, Wesley Gatbonton, Las Vegas Magazine
SLS Djs
Nice effects and original idea. Excellent illustrations.
2. Christopher DeVargas, Las Vegas Magazine
Drais
Stands out—love the colors and it’s not busy. Your eyes know exactly where to look. Nice illustration.
3. Adam Sternberg, Nevada Magazine
Nostalgic Las Vegas
Illustration complements the cover story. Photo itself is very vintage and composition is good.
Overall comments: Interesting entries. For some entries the quality of the photo was a problem (pixelated), but their ideas were good.

Best Print Ad

1. John Bardwell, art director, C.J. Hadley, publisher/editor, RANGE magazine
Back cover image ads. Biker, Summer; Hunter, Fall; Cow Boss, Winter; Ecologist, Spring Client: Nevada Rangeland Resources Commission
Love using “real” people and appreciate the natural nature and environmental blurbs. Feels good.
2. Jaci Goodman, Amanda Burden, Chris Meredith, Courtney Meredith, edible Reno-Tahoe
A world of Wine one Click Away
Concept comes across as cool and it engages you and does not let you down for taking your time to check it out.
3. Chris Meredith, Courtney Meredith, Design on Edge
Slainte! Irish Spirits – Ceol Irish Pub
Including the oak barrel gives it a nice touch; conveys aging and craftsmanship.
Best Ad Series
1. Adele Hoppe, Danny Miller, Nevada Magazine
Safe Haven Rescue Zoo
This magazine ads draws you in and creates an interest. From the artwork and color to the copy….Beautifully done.
2. Courtney Meredith, Chris Meredith, Design on Edge, edible Reno-Tahoe
Czyz’s Appliance Ad Series
Great series of ads, beautiful artwork. Draws your attention to the appliances, and craftsmanship in kitchen.
3. Adele Hoppe, Nevada Magazine
Austin, Nevada
Draws you in, looks like a place you might want to plan a vacation to.

Best-In House Promotion

1. Adele Hoppe, Nevada Magazine
Subscription Promotion
2. Eric Cachinero, Danny Miller, Nevada Magazine
Silver State Scavenger Hunt
3. Adele Hoppe, Sean Nebeker, Nevada Magazine
2015 Great Nevada Picture Hunt

Advertising General Excellence

1. edible Reno-Tahoe, Jaci Goodman, Amanda Burden
2. Nevada Magazine, Adele Hoppe
3. Las Vegas Magazine

Best Regular Department

1. Todd Klassy, photographer/writer, Ivan Agerton, photographer, Aaron Hitchins, writer, Larry Angier, photographer/writer, C.J. Hadley, publisher/editor, John Bardwell, art director, RANGE magazine
Portrait of the West
I really enjoyed letting the photos speak and only including a limited amount of text with it. Nice job.
2. Nevada Magazine, various photographers
Visions
Very nice photos, and I liked how the paper includes their readers. Perhaps including one quote from each submission about what was going on or how it felt during their photo would be a nice addition.
3. Grace Bascos, Luxury Las Vegas
Vices
I enjoy the subject of this re-occurring column, Vices. The articles were light and well written and the pages were all pleasing to the eye.

Best Profile/Interview

1. Leo W. Banks, RANGE magazine
Wide Open Spaces
2. Megg Mueller, Nevada Magazine
Pawn Stars Rick Harrison
3. Sue Edmondson, edible Reno-Tahoe
Setting the bar (with a splash) – Three Reno friends brew a winning mix of creativity, craft, and caring.

Best Special Project

1. C.J. Hadley, publisher/editor, John Bardwell, art director, RANGE magazine
Reflections of the West: Cowboy Painters and Poets
2. Eric Cachinero, Jody Cory, Nevada Magazine
Ghost Town Map
3. Danny Miller, Adele Hoppe, Nevada Magazine
Nevada Rides Guide

Best Web Site

1. edible Reno-Tahoe, Mike Van Houten, JM Studio
2. Elevate NV, Austin Grantham, Guy Bertuzzi, Shanna Perry, Beth Schwartz
3. Las Vegas Magazine

About Barry Smith

Barry Smith is executive director of the Nevada Press Association. Before joining NPA, he was editor of the Nevada Appeal in Carson City and has been an editor, columnist and reporter.

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