The Payson Roundup Saturday captured the Arizona Newspapers Association award for all around “editorial excellence” among non-daily newspapers between 3,500 and 10,000 circulation.
The newspaper swept most of the top editorial and news awards in its category, including best Web site, best reporting and news writing, best page design and best editorial page. The paper took second-place awards for community service, special sections and use of photography.
The paper also won second place statewide for advertising excellence, based mostly on ad design. Top awards included best black and white ad series, best special section (Arizona Highlands), second place for newspaper promotion ad, third place for best black and white ad, best color ad, best static online ad, best animated online ad and best public service ad.
Reporter Alexis Bechman proved the star of the evening for the Roundup, winning a prestigious award for use of the Freedom of Information Act in investigative reporting. The dozen stories submitted included accounts of problems within the Payson Police Department and examinations of health department inspections of hotels and restaurants, as well as reports on the accuracy of gas station pumps in the area.
Bechman also won the award for the best news story of the year for all non-daily newspapers, an examination of problems with the construction of the women’s jail in Globe.
In addition to those statewide awards across all non-daily newspapers, Bechman also won a first-place award for investigative reporting, a first-place award for column writing for a story about bicycling the rim of the Grand Canyon, a second-place award for sustained coverage for a series on teen sexual abuse, a third-place award for best news story for a story about the dismissal of a police officer for “sexting.”
The Roundup won one of the top three awards in almost every paper-wide and individual category and won two of the three awards for investigative reporting and sustained coverage. Several Roundup writers and photographers won multiple awards in the various individual categories, including sports editor Max Foster, editor Pete Aleshire, Bechman and photographer Andy Towle. Schools reporter Michele Nelson also won a feature writing award her first year as a reporter.
Payson Roundup publisher John Naughton said, “The Roundup has been winning awards judged by our peers for years. It was a lot easier prior to the current recession as, like most companies, we have been charged to do more with less.
“This fact makes our first place for General Excellence in News extremely important to me personally. We, have fewer employees doing more, yet the Roundup has managed to maintain the pulse on our community. From reporters to press operators, I thank all the employees of the Roundup who produce a quality product. Just as importantly, thanks you to our readers for sticking by our side.”
“What a treat to work with this bunch of weird, workaholic, idealists,” said Roundup editor Pete Aleshire. “And what a great community to cover.”
The only disappointment of the evening for the vocal Roundup contingent at the day-long series of seminars and the awards banquet in Scottsdale on Saturday lay in the paper’s failure to win the award as non-daily newspaper of the year. That award went to the Arizona Capital Times, a weekly in the under-3,500 category that covers the state legislature.
The winners are:
The list of awards won by Roundup editorial staff included:
Best Sports Beat First Place
Best Sports Column Third Place
Best News Photograph Second Place
Best Sports Photograph Second Place
Investigative Reporting Third Place
Best Sustained Coverage or Series First Place
Investigative Reporting First Place
Best News Story Third Place
Best Sustained Coverage or Series Second Place
Best News Feature Story Third Place
The list of awards won by Roundup advertising staff included:
2nd Place General Excellence
1st Place Best Paid Ad Series Black and White for Charlie's Meats
1st Place Best Special Section for Rim Country Adventures
2nd Place Best Newspaper Promotion Ad, Series or Section for Yellow's Out
3rd Place Best Black and White Ad for Everstart
3rd Place Best Color Ad for Overman Designs
3rd Place Best Online Ad Static for Kim Ross
3rd Place Best Online Ad Animated/Dynamic for Payson Care Center
3rd Place Best Pro Bono Public Service Ad for Marine Corps Ball 2011