Westword won nine awards at the Colorado Society of Professional Journalists' 1993 Excellence in Journalism ceremony Friday night, competing for the first time in the big-newspaper class for publications with a circulation of more than 100,000. The only other papers in the class are the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, which won nine awards; the Denver Post, which also won nine awards; and the Rocky Mountain News, which won 25.
Westword swept the magazine/general reporting category. Former managing editor Christine Fleming (now executive managing editor of New Times Inc., Westword's parent company) took first place for "The Trouble With Tom," the story of a man who preys on AIDS victims; Alan Prendergast won second for "Beyond the Pale," his profile of one of Colorado's newest and most frightening residents, white supremacist James Mason; and Karen Bowers placed third with "A Death in the Family," the account of a troubled teenager who sought vengeance against his mother's killers.
In magazine/feature writing, Westword managing editor Andy Van De Voorde took both first and third for "Hollywood R.F.D.," his look at the last days of small-town movie palaces, and "A Barrel of Trouble," the bizarre tale of a Colorado oilman who co-veted Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle.
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In one of the contest's most competitive categories, Bill Gallo took first place in newspaper/sports commentary, winning with what the judges called "some of the best writing in the entire competition."
Karen Bowers also took home second place in newspaper/general reporting for "Away With the Ladies," the story of a former state trooper who is a suspect in his wife's death. In newspaper/feature writing, Michael Roberts won third for "A Cut Above," his profile of Denver mohel Jay Feder. And the late David Chandler placed second in investigative/enterprise reporting for his series of articles on Denver International Airport.
At Friday's ceremony, the Denver Post was named winner of the Best of the Best newspaper award for its sixteen-page report on Amendment 2. Rocky Mountain News photographer Dennis Schroeder won the Best of the Best photography award with his picture "Kids and Bullet Hole." Pat Woodard of KMGH-TV took the Best of the Best in television reporting for "More Than a Game," his look at six-man football. Sue O'Brien, associate dean at the University of Colorado's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was named Journalism Educator of the Year; Pat Pascoe, the state senator and former journalist who crafted the Freedom of Expression bill voted into law in 1992, won the SPJ Board of Directors Award; and Jeff Thomas, a general-assignment reporter with the Gazette Telegraph, was named Lowell Thomas Journalist of the Year.
The Colorado SPJ contest was judged by members of the Minnesota chapter.
Westword also came up a winner last month at the 37th annual Western Publications Association Awards of Excellence, the Maggies, in Los Angeles. David Chandler's "Grounded at Denver International Airport" series was again honored, this time with an Award of Excellence for public service. Eric Dexheimer's "Lien On Me" won a Maggie for excellence in the best news story/consumer category. And Westword itself was awarded a Maggie for excellence in the consumer tabloid class.