RJ continues winning streak at Nevada Press Awards

The Las Vegas Review-Journal and its staff won first place for general excellence for the sixth year in a row Saturday in the Nevada Press Association’s 2014 Better Newspaper Contest.

Jennifer Robison, the newspaper’s health care and real estate reporter, was named outstanding journalist of the year, and reporter John Przybys won first place for the story of the year.

In all, the Review-Journal was honored with 14 first-place awards, 15 second-place awards and 13 third-place awards. The Las Vegas Sun, a daily insert in the Review-Journal, received nine first-place awards. The Reno Gazette-Journal won 19 first-place awards.

“These results reflect great effort on the part of our staff,” Review-Journal Editor Michael Hengel said. “I’m particularly pleased that we won the general excellence award. Our goal is to serve our readers with exceptional reporting and editing, both of which are evident in the results. Congratulations to our reporters and editors, and hats off to all the winners among Nevada’s newspapers.”

Stephens Media-affiliated publications Boulder City Review, View Neighborhood newspapers, Las Vegas Business Press and Luxury Las Vegas magazine also won awards.

The awards were announced at the Aliante in North Las Vegas.

R-J FIRST-PLACE WINNERS, Urban daily category

Robison, who has extensively covered the Affordable Care Act’s impact on Nevada, won journalist of the year.

“Ms. Robison’s impressive body of work reflects a commitment to solid reporting and fact-gathering,” contest judges wrote, “as well as an understanding of how to make a complex story compelling and interesting to read. Very solid work!”

Przybys won story of the year with a family profile about two teens with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic condition that left them unable to use their own muscles.

Judges said of Przybys’ work: “This story is not just compelling, it is inspiring … this story is raised to the next level by the author’s choices. He uses the power of language beautifully …”

Glenn Cook won two first-place awards: best local column and best editorial writing.

A 10-part project about the Downtown Project in Las Vegas, written by Benjamin Spillman, won awards for best explanatory journalism and best special section. Spillman worked on the project for more than three months. He now writes for the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Ron Kantowski won best sports story with his piece about a College of Southern Nevada assistant coach befriending a boy with Down syndrome.

Christopher Lawrence’s story about tattoo artists who fix less-than-desirable tattoos was given the best entertainment writing award, and a review of Bally’s “Veronic: Voices” show by Mike Weatherford received the best critical writing award.

The outstanding visual journalist award went to photographer/videographer Justin Yurkanin. Jeff Scheid won the top award for best photo portrait.

Jessica Ebelhar, now in Kentucky, won best illustrated photo with her images of Pink Pearl apples in September.

The best page designer award went to George Riggle.


Community service: Keith Rogers, second place.

Best spot news story: Mike Blasky, second and third place.

Best feature story: Paul Harasim, second place.

Best explanatory journalism: Trevon Milliard and Brian Haynes, second place. Laura Myers, third place.

Best local column: Paul Harasim, second place. John L. Smith, third place.

Best entertainment writing: Heidi Knapp Rinella, second place.

Best critical writing: Christopher Lawrence, second place.

Freedom of the press: staff, second place.

Best editorial page: staff, second place.

Best overall design: staff, second place.

Best page one design: staff, second place.

Best headline writing: Matthew Crowley, second place.

Best news photo coverage: David Becker, second place. Jason Bean, third place.

Best feature photo: John Locher, second place.

Best multimedia story: staff, second place.

Best business feature: Howard Stutz, third place.

Best investigative story: Francis McCabe, third place.

Best sports feature: Paul Harasim, third place.

Best sports column: Ed Graney, third place.

Best multiple-photo essay: Jeff Scheid, third place.

Best special section: staff, third place.

Best website: staff, third place.

Best online writing: Steve Sebelius, third place.


View Neighborhood newspapers writers James DeHaven — who now covers the city of Las Vegas for the Review-Journal — Caitlyn Belcher and Michael Lyle won first-place awards for investigative, business news and feature stories. The newspaper won the best website award as well.

Best nonstaff story: Linda Simpson, second place.

Best news feature story: Michael Lyle, second place.

Community Service: Steve Blust and Ginger Meurer, third place.

Best business news story: Caitlyn Belcher, third place.

Best sports feature: Michael Lyle, third place.

Best entertainment writing: F. Andrew Taylor, third place.

Best page one design: staff, third place.

Best headline writing: Lisa Valentine, third place.

Best news photo coverage: Martin S. Fuentes, third place.

Best sports photo: Erik Verduzco, third place.

LAS VEGAS BUSINESS PRESS, Urban weekly category

Best page one design: Jennifer Land, second place.

BOULDER CITY REVIEW, Community newspaper category

The Boulder City Review won general excellence for its community newspaper category.

Other first-place awards include best spot news by Jack Johnson, best sports feature by Pedro F. Fonteboa and best news photo coverage by Steve Andrascik.

Best sports feature: Pedro F. Fonteboa, second and third place.

Best news photo coverage: Steve Andrascik, second place.

Best sports story: Pedro F. Fonteboa, third place.

Best page one design: Hali Bernstein Saylor and Jenny Scheid, third place.

LUXURY LAS VEGAS, Magazine category

General excellence: Beth Schwartz and Ria Reodica, second place.

Best page designer: Ria Reodica, second place.

Best profile/interview: Marsala Rypka, second place.

Best multi-color ad: Ria Reodica and Jim K. Decker, third place.

Best regular department: Danny Axelrod, Kara Williams, Kate Silver, Ria Reodica and Beth Schwartz, third place.

Along with the awards, two news­paper men were inducted into the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame on Saturday. The late Dave Sanford, whose family ran the Mason Valley News in Yerington for decades, and Brian Greenspun, editor and publisher of the Las Vegas Sun, joined 49 others in the Hall of Fame.

Contact Annalise Little at alittle@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0391. Find her on Twitter: @annalisemlittle.

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