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Westword editor Patricia Calhoun wins a top SPJ award for her story on Kristen Stillman

"Spreading Her Wings," Westword editor Patricia Calhoun's September 9, 2010, story about Kristen Stillman, who, along with her twin brother, was held hostage at a home in northwest Denver for over a decade, has won first place for non-daily feature reporting in the national Society for Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Awards; the award will be presented at the annual SPJ convention in September in New Orleans. (The same story took second place in the regional SPJ Top of the Rockies awards.) Calhoun's September 23, 2010, column, "A Crying Shame," which detailed Kristen's day in juvenile court when she relinquished all parental rights to the four children who had resulted from the rapes she suffered while she was a captive, was a finalist in this year's Golden Quill contest sponsored by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors and will be honored at that group's convention in England next month. Calhoun's entire package on Kristen Stillman was a finalist in the MOLLY National Journalism Prize, named after Molly Ivins and presented last week in Austin, Texas.

Staff writer Alan Prendergast's "You're in Bad Hands," his February 11, 2010, feature on the whopping $37 million bad-faith verdict that a Boulder jury awarded to Jennifer Latham, a mother of four who was severely injured in a 2005 auto accident — and then had her insurance taken away by Assurant Health because she supposedly misrepresented her medical history — is one of five finalists in the explanatory category in the prestigious 2011 Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Reporting, up against nominees from the Wall Street Journal and CNBC. The winners in that contest, sponsored by UCLA Anderson School of Management, will be announced June 28. ("You're in Bad Hands" also took second for business reporting in the regional SPJ Top of the Rockies awards.)

And several stories by staff writer Joel Warner are finalists in the National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Awards. His July 22, 2010, "Trial by Fire," about efforts to bring back Holly Square, is a finalist in the single news-story category; his May 27, 2010, "Lax and the City," which profiled brother-and-sister athletes on an inner-city lacrosse team, is a finalist in the feature-story category. And "Taken for a Ride," his December 2, 2010, package that detailed the efforts of minority cab drivers to start their own company — and fight discrimination at Yellow Cab — is the sole finalist in the investigative category. The winners will be announced at the NABJ convention in August.

All of the winning stories are available in our online archives at http://www.westword.com/search/archive_search/.

 
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2 comments
Jennifoodie
Jennifoodie

Mad props to Patty, Alan and Joel. Good investigative journalism is alive and kicking at the Westword.

Lisa
Lisa

Congrats to Patricia Calhoun for recognition of her story about Kristen Stillman. This story is what journalism is supposed to be about; reporting on a horrible issue that needs public awareness. The writing was informative, moving, grating, cohesive, emotional, hard to read yet hard to put down, fascinating, repulsive and told of Kristen's struggle within a messed up social services' system and the abuse this poor girl endured. Our family passed this article on to many readers. We believe writers such as Patricia actually change our world!!!

 
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