The Las Vegas Review-Journal took home five awards in the 2018 Best of the West journalism contest.
The five awards, including two for the newspaper’s coverage of the Oct. 1 mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, tied for fourth-most among news organizations that entered the contest. The contest, founded in 1987, is considered one of the most prestigious news competitions in the western United States.
The Seattle Times led all organizations with nine awards, The Deseret News garnered eight, and the Dallas Morning News took home six.
The Arizona Republic, The Oregonian and the San Antonio Express-News and its website also received five awards apiece in the contest.
“It’s a great privilege for the Review-Journal to be among the most-honored news organizations in Best of the West, which is one of the most competitive journalism contests in the country,” Review-Journal Executive Editor Glenn Cook said. “It’s a testament to the talent we’ve assembled and our commitment to telling important stories.”
The contest is open to all newspapers, magazines and websites in 14 Western states including California and Texas. This year’s contest honored work published in 2017.
Artists win for graphic
The Review-Journal took first place in the Informational Graphic category. Graphic artists Severiano Del Castillo Galvan and Wes Rand illustrated the geology of Yucca Mountain after the proposed nuclear waste repository at the site was revived by President Donald Trump’s administration. The honor was Galvan’s eighth award since 2009 and his first with the Review-Journal.
The infographic presented complex information in a well-organized format that answers questions readers would have, according to the judge comments.
“This thing is like a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner,” one comment read. “So much to take in, but it’s so damn delicious you can’t stop eating.”
Reporters honored for shooting stories
Review-Journal investigative reporters Anita Hassan and Brian Joseph and reporter Colton Lochhead placed second in the Feature Writing, Long Form category with their story “One family’s path through horror of shooting on Las Vegas Strip,” which follows the Watkins family’s journey in the hours following the Oct. 1 shooting.
“There were other stories in this category that dealt with the Las Vegas shooting, but this one was told masterfully,” the category judge wrote, according to the awards announcement. “Restrained storytelling at its best.”
Hassan and investigative reporter Jeff German placed third in the Business and Financial Reporting category for their story examining the lax enforcement of a law requiring Strip resorts to have emergency response plans. Hassan was one of just six individuals to win multiple awards in 2018.
The category judge called the piece an informative, important story to write after the shooting, adding, “This reporting could literally save lives.”
“It’s an honor to receive such great recognition for the work our reporters did in the wake of the shooting,” Review-Journal Assistant Managing Editor for Investigations Karisa King said. “So many members of our staff witnessed the aftermath of the violence first-hand that we felt these were deeply important stories to tell.”
Editor gets second for headlines
Assistant Features Editor George Riggle finished second in Headline Writing. Among his headlines cited in the award were “You may kitsch the bride: Unique weddings are daily routine at Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel” and “Fights, camera, action: Feud spotlights rivalry of Hollywood legends Joan Crawford, Bette Davis.” He placed second in the category in 2017 and 2015 and took first in 2012.
“These are very creative, well-thought-out headlines that entice the reader and convey what the story is about,” the judge said of his entries.
Sports columnist takes third
Sports columnist Ed Graney took third in the Sports Reporting category for his profile on ex-UNLV baseball coach Tim Chambers, who discussed his struggle with addiction. “The reporter did a great job getting the subject to open up,” the category judge wrote.
Graney previously received two Best of the West awards in 2015, receiving an honorable mention for Sports Reporting and placing second in Special Topic Column Writing.