Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010 | 2 a.m.
The Las Vegas Sun has won 22 first-place awards for writing, editing, art, design and photography in the Nevada Press Association’s annual Better Newspaper Contest. The Sun did better than any other daily newspaper in the contest’s 42 categories.
Overall, the Sun won 45 awards, including photo of the year, best special section, best editorial page and best explanatory journalism. The contest was judged by the Arizona Press Association, and the results were announced Saturday night at a banquet at the Pahrump Nugget.
“I’m pleased that our commitment to journalism excellence is recognized by our peers,” said Tom Gorman, senior editor for the Sun’s print edition.
Other publications owned by the Greenspun family, which owns the Sun, competed in the contest. In Business Las Vegas won seven first-place awards and 15 awards overall among community papers. Richard N. Velotta was named outstanding journalist among community newspapers. Judges called his work “well-crafted” and “informative.”
Las Vegas Weekly won three first-place awards and six awards overall among large weekly newspapers.
Among large daily newspapers, the Las Vegas Review-Journal won the top prize, general excellence, which recognizes the whole newspaper, including advertising. The Sun does not have advertising. Overall, the R-J won 10 first-place journalism awards and four advertising first places. The Reno Gazette-Journal won 10 first-place journalism awards. The Nevada Appeal in Carson City won two first-place advertising awards.
Contest judges singled out a wide variety of the Sun’s work. The editorial page won the top honor in its category, and judges said it was “by far the best.” The Sun also won for best page-one design, which judges called “bold,” and for best news special section for “Special Report: 2020 Vision.” The section looked at the future of Las Vegas. Judges said it was, “comprehensive, authoritative and diverse ... giving readers a solid blueprint” for Las Vegas’ future. The Sun also won best multimedia story for its online project about gambling addiction.
Photographer Leila Navidi won three awards: photo of the year, best multiple feature photos and best portrait. Her photo of the “stripper-mobile,” with a dancer hanging upside-down as the vehicle rolled down the Strip, won the top photography honor. Judges called her work “breathtaking” and “brilliant.”
Reporter J. Patrick Coolican won two awards: best sports feature for a story about “Wreckless” Willie,” a 40-year-old boxer struggling to keep fighting, and best explanatory journalism for his coverage of the economy.
Chris Morris won best illustration, and he teamed with Alex Richards on the winning entry for best information graphic.
Other Sun first-place winners were:
• Mike Smith won best editorial cartoon for a cartoon about Tiger Woods. Judges said the cartoon was “simple and hysterical.”
• Abigail Goldman won best feature story for a piece about a horse named Checkers and the neighborhood she had lived in. Judges called the story a “classic slice-of-life feature.”
• Richard A. Serrano’s story on child abuse in Boulder City won best news feature.
• Stacy Willis won best nonstaff local story for a piece about Hildale, Utah, and polygamy.
• Lisa Mascaro’s “Letter From Washington” won best local column. Judges praised it as “Great, broad coverage of D.C.”
• Political commentator Jon Ralston won best local nonstaff column. “His cuts are deep and to the point,” judges said. “Ralston doesn’t spare his subjects from their own hypocrisies and foibles without being mean.”
• Ray Brewer won best local sports story for a piece explaining the handling of baseball phenom Bryce Harper, the College of Southern Nevada star who became this year’s first-round draft pick.
• Kristen Peterson won best entertainment writing for a portfolio of her work.
• Joe Brown won the critical writing award for a portfolio of his work.
• Spencer Holladay won best page designer. Judges called him, “the best of the best.” The Sun’s design team took all three places in the category.
• Columnist John Katsilometes won best blog for the Kats Report.