2016 AAN Awards Finalists Announced

june 1, 2016  02:10 pm
The finalists for the 2016 AAN Awards have been selected. The finalists below were chosen as the most outstanding from a field of 821 entries submitted by 70 alternative publications across the U.S. and Canada.

The AAN Awards recognize the best in alternative journalism and are a unique chance for alt-weeklies to compete directly against the work of their peers in cities across the continent. Judging was conducted by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.

The winners will be announced during a reception on July 9 at the AAN Convention in Austin, Texas.

Finalists below are listed alphabetically by paper. Categories with four or more finalists indicate either a tie or an honorable mention. Categories with less than three finalists indicate that a 3rd place was not awarded.

  • Cash Prize Categories

  • Writing Categories

  • Design Categories

  • Online Categories

  • Outside-the-Box


    FEATURE STORY circulation under 45,000
    Winner will receive $200 funded by Isthmus founder Vince O'Hern.

    Arkansas Times: A Killing in Pocahontas by Will Stephenson

    Cleveland Scene: The Corvette Thief by Vince Grzegorek

    East Bay Express: Racial Profiling Via Nextdoor.com by Sam Levin

    Santa Barbara Independent: Sea Lions by Nick Welsh

    FEATURE STORY circulation 45,000 & over
    Winner will receive $200 funded by Isthmus founder Vince O'Hern.

    L.A. Weekly: How a Dogged DEA Agent Unraveled the CIA's Alleged Role in the Murder of Kiki Camarena by Jason McGahan

    Metro Times: Out From Under by Allie Gross

    OC Weekly: Accused Murderer Awaits Execution While OC Prosecutors Hide Exculpatory DNA by R. Scott Moxley

    Washington City Paper: Club Dread by Will Sommer

    Winner will receive $400 funded by Monterey County Weekly founder & CEO Bradley Zeve.

    Jackson Free Press: Taking on Secretive PACs in Mississippi (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Arielle Dreher and Donna Ladd

    Monterey County Weekly: True Confessions: The Case of Father Edward Fitz-Henry by Sara Rubin and Mary Duan

    North Coast Journal: Exempt from Disclosure (I; II; III; IV) by Thadeus Greenson

    Sacramento News & Review: SN&R vs. Mayor Kevin Johnson (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Cosmo Garvin and Nick Miller

    Winner will receive $400 funded by New Times co-founder Michael Lacey.

    Arkansas Times: Rehomed: A State Representative, a Failed Adoption, a Child Exploited (I; II; III) by Benjamin Hardy

    Boulder Weekly: Behind the Curtain by Joel Dyer

    North Bay Bohemian: Pinot vs. Coho by Will Parrish

    Seven Days: Attorney General Bill Sorrell's Uneven Compliance With Campaign Finance Law (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Paul Heintz

    Winner will receive $400 funded by Colorado Springs Independent former CEO Fran Zankowski.

    Arkansas Times: Ruth Coker Burks, the Cemetery Angel by David Koon

    Gambit: Same-sex marriage comes to Louisiana (I; II; III; IV; V) by Kevin Allman, Alex Woodward, Jeanie Riess, Robert Morris, and Charles Cody Siler

    NUVO: Trans Athlete by Amber Stearns

    San Luis Obispo New Times: Hello, my name is by Colin Rigley

    Winner will receive $400 funded by Charleston City Paper co-owner and AAN President Blair Barna.

    Chicago Reader: The Most Important Issue in the Mayoral Race No One's Talking About by Steve Bogira and Mick Dumke

    Cincinnati CityBeat: That Which Divides Us by Nick Swartsell

    Lagniappe: DiverseCity: An Exploration of Race in Mobile and Baldwin Counties (Stories and Maps) by Gabriel Tynes, Dale Liesch, Jason Johnson, Eric Mann, and John Kelsey

    Washington City Paper: Where The Sidewalk Ends by Will Sommer


    ARTS CRITICISM circulation under 45,000

    East Bay Express: What Was Withheld; The Sonic Sweet Spot; and Oceanic Aspirations by Sarah Burke

    INDY Week: Rite of Refusal;Identity Crisis; and Blackboard Shatteringby Byron Woods

    Memphis Flyer: Fifty Shades of Grey; Is Loving the Wrong Approach?; and I Thought I Might Find You Here by Eileen Townsend

    Orlando Weekly: Jess T. Dugan’s Portraits Look Into You; Art in Odd Places; and The “Visual Anthropology” of Bayeté Ross Smith by Richard T. Reep

    ARTS CRITICISM circulation 45,000 & over

    Chicago Reader: Fifty Shades of Grey; Batkid Begins; and Best of Enemies by J.R. Jones

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: It Follows; Southpaw; Females Are Strong as Hell by Curt Holman

    L.A. Weekly: Margot Robbie Will Be a Major Star if She Stays Nasty; 'Get Hard' Has Too Many Prison Rape Jokes, but Kevin Hart's Neediness Saves the Movie; The "Man-Child Movie" Trend Must End by Amy Nicholson

    Willamette Week: It Used To Be Better by Richard Speer

    ARTS FEATURE circulation under 45,000

    East Bay Express: Rap's Poetic License: Revoked by Sam Lefebvre

    INDY Week: Code Green by Brian Howe

    Memphis Flyer: Best of Enemies by Chris McCoy

    ARTS FEATURE circulation 45,000 & over

    The Inlander: Monsters & Demons by Mike Bookey

    L.A. Weekly: Can Budget-Slasher Jason Blum Prove the Way Hollywood Makes Movies is Horrifyingly Wrong? by Amy Nicholson

    L.A. Weekly: Why CDs May Actually Sound Better Than Vinyl by Chris Kornelis

    Westword: The Demon Dog in Denver by Alan Prendergast

    BEAT REPORTING circulation under 45,000

    INDY Week: Criminal Justice Reporting (I; II; III; IV; V) by John H. Tucker

    Mountain Xpress: Farming, Sustainability and the Environment in Western NC (I; II; III; IV; V) by Carrie Eidson

    Seven Days: Cops and Courts (I; II; III; IV; V) by Mark Davis

    BEAT REPORTING circulation 45,000 & over

    The Inlander: Education Reporting (I; II; III; IV; V) by Daniel Walters

    Phoenix New Times: Marijuana in Arizona (I; II; III; IV; V) by Ray Stern

    COLUMN circulation under 45,000

    Charleston City Paper: H1gher Learning (I; II; III) by K.J. Kearney

    The Pitch: Streetside (I; II; III; IV; V) by David Hudnall

    Seven Days: Poli Psy (I; II; III) by Judith Levine

    Seven Days: WTF: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (I; II; III) by Ken Picard

    COLUMN circulation 45,000 & over

    Austin Chronicle: Playback (I; II; III) by Kevin Curtin

    Nashville Scene: Vodka Yonic (I; II; III) by Clara Kim, Kim Green, and Abby White

    Phoenix New Times: Columns (I; II; III) by Robrt Pela

    Willamette Week: Lady Things (I; II; III) by Lizzy Acker

    COLUMN (POLITICAL) circulation under 45,000

    East Bay Express: Seven Days by Robert Gammon

    Gambit: Columns (I; II; III) by Clancy DuBos

    LEO Weekly: Editor's Note (I; II; III) by Aaron Yarmuth

    Triad City Beat: Citizen Green (I; II; III) by Jordan Green

    COLUMN (POLITICAL) circulation 45,000 & over

    Chicago Reader: Columns (I; II; III) by Ben Joravsky

    Metro Times: Politics & Prejudice (I; II; III) by Jack Lessenberry

    Miami New Times: El Jefe (I; II) by Chuck Strouse

    Phoenix New Times: Columns by (I; II; III) by Stephen Lemons

    FOOD WRITING circulation under 45,000

    Charleston City Paper: Making Cents: A by-the-numbers look at the price of dining in Charleston by Stephanie Burt

    East Bay Express: Food Writing by Luke Tsai

    Gambit: Food Writing (I; II; III) by Helen Freund

    FOOD WRITING circulation 45,000 & over

    L.A. Weekly: Food Writing (I; II; III) by Besha Rodell

    Phoenix New Times: Wok Away by Lauren Saria

    Washington City Paper: 'Young & Hungry' Columns (I; II; III) by Jessica Sidman

    Willamette Week: Food Writing (I; II; III) by Martin Cizmar

    LONG-FORM NEWS STORY circulation under 45,000

    Illinois Times: Horrific Healthcare by Bruce Rushton

    Memphis Flyer: The Brady Bunch by Toby Sells

    The Pitch: How does a mother lose custody of her child to a man the courts know has beaten her? In Eastern Jackson County, it's not that hard and An eastern Jackson County court found it easy to blame a domestic-violence victim by David Hudnall

    LONG-FORM NEWS STORY circulation 45,000 & over

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: Unanswered by Max Blau

    L.A. Weekly: A Drug Rehab Mogul Built an Empire That's Now Being Probed by the FBI, DA and State of California by Hillel Aron

    Westword: No Admitting by Alan Prendergast

    Willamette Week: Rat Tale by Aaron Mesh

    MUSIC WRITING circulation under 45,000

    Cincinnati CityBeat: We'll Always Have Short Vine by Brian Baker

    INDY Week: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Grayson Haver Currin

    San Antonio Current: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Matt Stieb

    Santa Fe Reporter: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Alex De Vore

    MUSIC WRITING circulation 45,000 & over

    The Inlander: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Laura Johnson

    L.A. Weekly: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Andy Hermann

    Washington City Paper: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Ron Knox

    Willamette Week: Music Writing (I; II; III) by Matthew Singer

    PUBLIC SERVICE circulation under 45,000

    Flagpole Magazine: Racial Discrimination in Downtown Athens, GA (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Blake Aued

    Illinois Times: Prying Loose Gov. Bruce Rauner’s secrets (I; II; III; IV; V) by Bruce Rushton

    Jackson Free Press: The Fight to Change the Mississippi Flag (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) Todd Stauffer, Donna Ladd, Arielle Dreher, Kristin Brenemen, Imani Khayyam, Amber Helsel, Micah Smith, Dustin Cardon, Adria Walker, Maya Miller, Zilpha Young, and Kimberly Griffin

    PUBLIC SERVICE circulation 45,000 & over

    Metro Silicon Valley: Water District Conflicts of Interest in a Time of Drought (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX) Josh Koehn

    Metro Times: Flint Water Coverage (I; II; III; IV; V) by Curt Guyette

    OC Weekly: OC Snitch Scandal (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX) by R. Scott Moxley

    Willamette Week: Home Sweet Hustle (I; II; III) by Nigel Jaquiss


    COVER DESIGN circulation under 45,000

    Boulder Weekly: Covers by Dave Kirby, Susan France, and Mark Goodman

    Cincinnati CityBeat: Covers (I; II; III) by Jennifer Hoffman

    Eugene Weekly: Covers (I; II; III) by Trask Bedortha, Todd Cooper, Darren Quardt, and Andy Singer

    Santa Fe Reporter: Covers (I; II; III) by Anson Stevens-Bollen

    COVER DESIGN circulation 45,000 & over

    Austin Chronicle: Covers (I; II; III) by Jason Stout

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: Covers (I; II; III) by Wes Duvall and Rachel Hortman

    Nashville Scene: Covers (I; II; III) by Elizabeth Jones

    Pittsburgh City Paper: Covers (I; II; III) by Lisa Cunningham, John Colombo, Sarah Wilson, Renee Rosensteel, Heather Mull, and David Pohl

    EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation under 45,000

    San Antonio Current: San Antonio Emojis by Sarah Flood-Baumann

    San Antonio Current: Wanted: Shelter by Eli Miller

    Santa Barbara Independent: Taco Town by Staff

    EDITORIAL LAYOUT circulation 45,000 & over

    Isthmus: SummerTimes Music Preview by Tommy Washbush

    Las Vegas Weekly: Cool Summer by Corlene Byrd

    Nashville Scene: Adventures in Drinking by Elizabeth Jones

    Nashville Scene: All You Need is Grub by Elizabeth Jones

    ILLUSTRATION circulation under 45,000

    Charleston City Paper: Best of Charleston (I; II; III; IV) by Scott Suchy

    Cleveland Scene: Terry Francona, In Tito We Trust by Oliver Barrett

    Eugene Weekly: Summer Food by Trask Bedortha

    Seven Days: Sweet Deal by Jeff Drew

    ILLUSTRATION circulation 45,000 & over

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: Best of the Blotter by Tray Butler

    The Inlander: Crime-Fighter + Criminal by Jeff Drew

    Nashville Scene: Best of Nashville by Rachel Briggs

    Nashville Scene: Brain's Song by Daniel Hertzberg

    PHOTOGRAPHY circulation under 45,000

    East Bay Express: Photos (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Bert Johnson

    Eugene Weekly: 2015 Music Coverage (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Todd Cooper

    Style Weekly: Photos (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Scott Elmquist

    Worcester Mag: Chasing Ebola (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Steven King

    PHOTOGRAPHY circulation 45,000 & over

    Baltimore City Paper: Freddie Gray Protests: The Battle of Sandtown-Winchester by J.M. Giordano

    The Inlander: Photos (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII) by Young Kwak

    Washington City Paper: Photos (I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII; VIII; IX; X) by Darrow Montgomery



    Creative Loafing Tampa: Potlikker (I; II; III: IV; V)

    Miami New Times: Cultist (I; II; III: IV; V)

    Phoenix New Times: Chow Bella (I; II; III: IV; V)

    Seven Days: Live Culture (I; II; III: IV; V)


    Miami New Times: Mac's Club Deuce: An Oral History by Ryan Pfeffer and Laurie Charles

    Seven Days: U.S. Winter Swimming Championship by Eva Sollberger

    Willamette Week: Burnside Skatepark Turns 25 by Lucas Chemotti

    Worcester Mag: Chasing Ebola by Walter Bird Jr, Steven King, Mike Murray, and Joe Santa Maria


    Cleveland Scene: Scene and Heard (I; II; III: IV; V)

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: Fresh Loaf (I; II; III: IV; V)

    Houston Press: News Blog (I; II; III: IV; V)

    Miami New Times: Riptide (I; II; III: IV; V)


    CARTOON (listed alphabetically by last name)

    Harry Bliss, Seven Days (I; II; III; IV; V)

    V.C. Rogers, INDY Week (I; II; III; IV; V)

    Jen Sorensen, Jen Sorensen Comics (I; II; III; IV; V)


    Creative Loafing Atlanta: Food Issue by Wes Duvall, Rachel Hortman, Stephanie Dazey, Brad Kaplan, and Jennifer Zyman

    NUVO: The Militant LGBTQ Agenda! by NUVO Editors

    Pittsburgh City Paper: Gender Pronouns: An Introduction by Em DeMarco

    Willamette Week: The Goonies Issue by Matthew Korfhage, Andy Kryza, and Matthew Singer


    Charleston City Paper: DISH: The Gullah Issue by Kinsey Gidick, KJ Kearney, Jeff Allen, Robert Moss, Eric Doksa, David Shields, and Charlotte Jenkins

    Chicago Reader: The Food Issue: An Exploration of Midwestern Cuisine by Jake Malooley, Robin Amer, Aimee Levitt, Mike Sula, Gwynedd Stuart, Julia Thiel, and Tanner Howard

    L.A. Weekly: People 2015 by Staff

    Seven Days: 20/20 Hindsight: A Look Back on Two Decades of Vermont News, Views and Culture by Pamela Polston, Paula Routly, Cathy Resmer, and Don Eggert