The Write Stuff

Four Westword staffers have been honored in regional and national journalism contests.

Music editor Michael Roberts took home a first-place prize in the national Music Journalism Awards, which were handed out last week in San Francisco. Roberts won for criticism in weekly and bi-weekly newspapers with his story "Viva Las Vegas," a review of a boxed set of Elvis Presley recordings. Roberts also was a finalist in the feature-story category for "Some Like It Hot," his profile of two Denver rave personalities.

Staff writer Stuart Steers received second place in growth and development reporting in the annual Best of the West contest, which is open to both daily and weekly newspapers in thirteen Western states. Judge Gary Blonston, Washington bureau chief for Knight-Ridder Newspapers, called Steers's look at how Colorado's Douglas County has outgrown its residential water supply "chillingly well-done."

Steers was the highest-ranking Colorado journalist in the contest's writing categories. Other state winners were Erin Emery of the Colorado Springs Gazette, who took third place in short-form feature writing; David Bladders of the Northern Colorado Business Report, who tied for second in the illustration category; and Heidi De Laubenfels of the Denver Post, who received third place in the words, editing and design category. The Rocky Mountain News was not honored in the contest.

Westword staff writers Alan Prendergast and Steve Jackson were finalists in the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards, a national writing contest that traditionally is entered by the country's largest daily and weekly newspapers. Prendergast's "Fear and Groping in Boulder," about the University of Colorado's dubious handling of sexual-harassment complaints, was one of eight finalists in the Paul L. Myhre single-story category, alongside efforts from the The Washington Post Magazine, the Miami Herald and the San Jose Mercury-News.

Jackson's "Growing, Growing, Gone," which chronicled the withering of Colorado's once-thriving carnation industry, was one of twelve finalists in the Consumer Affairs category. Other finalists included the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press and the Los Angeles Times. Earlier this year, the same Jackson story took first place in business feature writing in the annual Colorado Society of Professional Journalists contest.


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