Westword Cafe critic Jason Sheehan brought home the bacon this month when he took first place in the Newspaper Restaurant Review or Critique category of the James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards, which honor the country's best food writers. But that wasn't Westword's only national win. Last week, staff writer Julie Jargon was named a finalist in the John Bartlow Martin Awards, handed out by the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and intended to honor reporting that probes into the country's neglected, abused and forgotten. Jargon was cited for two pieces: "Arrested Development," her December 5, 2002, look at a controversial treatment program for sex offenders, and the March 14, 2002, "Playtime Is Over," which detailed the odd case of Dr. James Dicke, a child psychologist who used dildos in therapy.
Earlier this year, Michael Roberts was honored as a finalist in Ball State's Eugene Pulliam Awards, which reward sheer excellence in writing, for "Trading Places," his November 14, 2002, profile of Steve Cyphers, an ESPN big shot who chucked it all to teach in Grand Junction.
Closer to home, on Friday Westword picked up three first-place prizes at the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists awards, competing against the state's biggest dailies. Robin Chotzinoff won first place in personal columns for a series of pieces marking Westword's 25th anniversary. Said the judges: "These columns reflect a quirky, utterly engaging approach to what could have been mundane assignments. With understated prose, Ms. Chotzinoff's detail-packed columns offered readers intimate and revealing insights into the ordinary and extraordinary of Denver life."
David Holthouse took two top prizes, in Legal Affairs Reporting for his November 21, 2002, "Trials and Tribulations" and in News Features for the May 2, 2002, "Tricks of the Trade." Of that story, the judges said: "In a category with many worthy entries, Holthouse distinguished himself with a fine sense of narrative, an ear for dialogue and the kind of access that few reporters get when writing about prostitution."
Other Westword staffers earning SPJ awards: Laura Bond, second place in Arts and Entertainment Reporting: News or Feature, for her October 31, 2002, "Methods of Mayhem"; Kenny Be, second place for Cartoons; Harrison Fletcher, second place (tie) in Sports Feature Writing for the August 1, 2002, "Cruz Control"; Alan Prendergast, third place in Political Reporting for the May 16, 2002, "Vendetta"; and Jason Sheehan, third place in Arts and Entertainment Reporting: Food.
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All of the winning stories are online at www.westword.com