Phoenix New Times brought home several prestigious, statewide awards from the Arizona Press Club contest for work published in 2019, including a runner-up for the contest’s highest honor.
Former staff writer Steven Hsieh was awarded with third place for the Virg Hill Journalist of the Year award for stories that included his coverage of ex-state lawmaker David Stringer’s scandalous past, which led to Stringer’s resignation.
Hsieh, along with freelance writer Lawrence Lanahan, revealed that the Republican state representative had been charged in the 1980s with several sex crimes, including child pornography. A later story revealed the source of the charges: Stringer had allegedly paid child male prostitutes for sex. He quit his elected post amid a legislative inquiry into the charges.
Tony Davis of the Arizona Daily Star won first place in the Virg Hill category; Lily Altavena and Mariana Dale of the Arizona Republic and KJZZ radio tied for second place.
Judges additionally gave Hsieh second place in the John Kolbe Politics Reporting award for exposing how the Koch organization was behind an anti-light-rail campaign in Phoenix.
Former staff writer Elizabeth Whitman won a first place award for public service journalism with her stories about utilities’ policy to shut off power to non-paying customers, even in extreme heat. The judge in that category commented that “this series of stories both humanizes the impact of power shutoffs while also laying bare the systemic issues that led to the death of Stephanie Pullman.”
Whitman also won a second place in for social issues reporting for covering homelessness issues, including a story on a 74-year-old woman who found herself homeless after her landlord raised her rent, and a third place Nina Mason Pulliam Environmental Journalism award for stories on Arizona’s water speculators.
Food critic Chris Malloy won first place in arts reporting for his in-depth and wide-ranging food stories, including “A Curious Eater’s Guide to the Ancient and Wild Foods of the Sonoran” and “Sonoran Arcana: The Most Ambitious Beer Project in Arizona.”
As the category’s judge commented: “With gorgeously rollicking writing and an intensely Arizonan sense of place, Chris Malloy’s writing on food and the artists who craft it was hard to beat. His guide to foodscapes of the Sonoran Desert — that ‘harsh, sublime, fickle master’ — conjured up all of its wild magic and gave us a roadmap to food’s future. His profiles of people obsessed with their craft had a contagious energy, bringing the reader down funky, twisty rabbit holes we’d never have known were there.”
Malloy also took second place in arts criticism for coverage of the Valley’s growing pizza scene, a story on Arizona-grown peppers, and a review of a pricey sushi joint.
Read about all of the contest winners on the Arizona Press Club’s website.