Alumna Lara named ANA Journalist of Year

Oct. 17, 2020

Genesis Lara photo.jpg

Genesis Lara
Genesis Lara, Nogales International reporter

Nogales International reporter Genesis Lara, a 2018 University of Arizona School of Journalism graduate, was named the non-daily Journalist of the Year by the Arizona Newspapers Association.

Meanwhile, the Casa Grande Dispatch — under sibling co-publishers and J-school grads Donovan Kramer Jr. ('76) and Kara K. Cooper ('79) — was named the non-daily Newspaper of the Year by the ANA, while the Arizona Daily Star was named the daily Newspaper of the Year, thanks to 10 UA J-school alums who were honored.

Individually, UA journalism alums took home 10 first-place awards and 37 total awards in the ANA's 2020 Better Newspapers Contest, which saw 32 newspapers participate with a total of 745 entries. The awards were presented via Facebook live stream by Blossom Digital studios on Oct. 15 at the Kramer Media facility in Casa Grande.

Lara placed first in feature reporting, shared a second place in best sustained coverage and a third place in feature photography. Arizona Republic reporter Rob O'Dell, a former UA J-school adjunct instructor, and colleague Ian James were named daily Journalists of the Year. 

Payson Roundup Editor-in-Chief Alexis Bechman, a 2008 UA J-school graduate, captured three first-place awards. Mike Christy ('11), Dave Ord ('84), Curt Prendergast ('11 M.A.), and Caitlin Schmidt ('14) took home first-place awards for the Arizona Daily Star, while Star colleagues Justin Sayers ('14 B.A., '19 M.A.) and Jasmine Demers ('19 M.A.) shared a first place. Shayne Tarquinio ('19), a former intern at the Arizona Jewish Post, also shared a first place. 

See a full list of the recipients. The list includes the Sierra Vista Herald/Review, under managing editor and alum Andrew Paxton, which won first place in General Excellence for dailies under 25,000.

Here are the UA J-school alums who won individual awards:

Division 1 – Non-Dailies Circulation: Under 3,500

Nogales International

1st Place . . . . . . Best Feature Story . . . . . . Genesis Lara . . . . . . Volunteers share language

2nd Place . . . . . . Best Sustained Coverage or Series . . . . . . Jonathan Clark, Genesis Lara, Nick Phillips . . . . . . Border crossing restrictions

Division 2 – Non-Dailies Circulation: Under 3,500 – 10,000

Green Valley News

2nd Place . . . . . . Investigative Reporting . . . . . . Kim Smith . . . . . . A death in Sahuarita

2nd Place . . . . . . Best Column, Feature or Commentary . . . . . . Dan Shearer . . . . . . Supervisors, you're killing us!

Arizona Jewish Post

1st Place . . . . . . Best Sustained Coverage or Series . . . . . . Phyllis Braun, Debe Campbell, Korene Charnofsky Cohen, Shayne Tarquinio, Michelle Shapiro. . . . . . Voices of Hope: The ongoing legacy of the Holocaust

Payson Roundup

1st Place . . . . . . Best Multimedia Storytelling . . . . . . Alexis Bechman . . . . . . Appeals Court rules deputy should get workers’ comp

1st Place . . . . . . Online Coverage of Breaking News . . . . . . Alexis Bechman . . . . . . Fire chief goes missing on Arizona Trail

2nd Place . . . . . . Best Headline . . . . . . Alexis Bechman . . . . . . Runs out of juice

2nd Place . . . . . . Best Sustained Coverage or Series . . . . . . Alexis Bechman . . . . . . Tonto Creek Tragedy

2nd Place . . . . . . Best Multimedia Storytelling . . . . . . Alexis Bechman . . . . . . Thanksgiving tragedy: Details of Tonto Basin incident revealed in reports

3rd Place . . . . . . Investigative Reporting . . . . . . Alexis Bechman . . . . . . Appeals Court rules deputy should get workers’ comp

The Phoenix Business Journal

2nd Place . . . . . . Enterprise Reporting . . . . . . Patrick O'Grady . . . . . . Taking the big risk: Transgender workers transition in the office with varied results

Division 3 – Non-Dailies Circulation: Over 10,000

Apache Junction Independent

2nd Place . . . . . . Best News Story . . . . . . Richard Dyer . . . . . . Active-shooter exercise

Division 5 – Dailies Circulation: Over 25,000

Arizona Daily Star

1st Place . . . . . . Best Headline . . . . . . Dave Ord . . . . . . Assorted headlines

1st Place . . . . . . Best News Story . . . . . . Justin Sayers and Jasmine Demers . . . . . . Nursing homes, a COVID-19 hotbed

1st Place . . . . . . Best Sustained Coverage or Series . . . . . . Curt Prendergast . . . . . . Border wall

1st Place . . . . . . Best Team, Sport or Sports Beat Coverage . . . . . . Caitlin Schmidt . . . . . . Title IX

2nd Place . . . . . . Best Headline . . . . . . Martin Rosales . . . . . . Assorted headlines

2nd Place . . . . . . Best News Story . . . . . . Jasmine Demers . . . . . . Family of Tucson's first COVID-19 victim wants his life to mean something

2nd Place . . . . . . Best Sustained Coverage or Series . . . . . . Curt Prendergast . . . . . . Asylum seekers

2nd Place . . . . . . Investigative Reporting . . . . . . Patty Machelor and Danyelle Khmara . . . . . . Rising rents driving out families

2nd Place . . . . . . Best Sports Story . . . . . . Caitlin Schmidt . . . . . . Doggone fast

2nd Place . . . . . . Online Coverage of Breaking News . . . . . . Bruce Pascoe, Justin Spears, Alec White, Michael Lev, Greg Hansen . . . . . . The day college sports stopped

3rd Place . . . . . . Best Headline . . . . . . Elizabeth Quinlan . . . . . . Assorted headlines

3rd Place . . . . . . Best News Story . . . . . . Danyelle Khmara . . . . . . Tucson teen fights deportation

3rd Place . . . . . . Investigative Reporting . . . . . . Justin Sayers and Carol Ann Alaimo . . . . . . University of Arizona finances

3rd Place . . . . . . Enterprise Reporting . . . . . . Curt Prendergast . . . . . . Guns quietly smuggled across border

3rd Place . . . . . . Best Multimedia Storytelling . . . . . . Curt Prendergast . . . . . . Border wall built with drug money, but won't stop drugs

The Arizona Republic

2nd Place . . . . . . Best Column, Feature or Commentary . . . . . . John D'Anna . . . . . . Paper chase: How one reporter’s epic quest for toilet paper explains panic buying

3rd Place . . . . . . Best Sports Story . . . . . . John D’Anna . . . . . . How many racehorse deaths is too many?

BEST NEWS PHOTOGRAPH

Division 2 Non-Dailies Circulation: 3,500-10,000

1st Place . . . . . . Alexis Bechman . . . . . . Payson Roundup . . . . . . Man gunned down at gas station

BEST SPORTS PHOTOGRAPH

Combined Divisions: 4 & 5 – Dailies Circulations: Under 25,000 & Over 25,000

1st Place . . . . . . Mike Christy . . . . . . Arizona Daily Star . . . . . . Torrential track meet

BEST FEATURE PHOTOGRAPH

Division 1 – Non-Dailies Circulation: Under 3,500

3rd Place . . . . . . Genesis Lara . . . . . . Nogales International . . . . . . Nogales resident Conrado Humberto Villegas

Division 2 – Non-Dailies Circulation: 3,500 -10,000

3rd Place . . . . . . Jorge Encinas . . . . . . Green Valley News . . . . . . Don't touch 'em

Division: 5 – Dailies Circulation: Over 25,000

3rd Place . . . . . . Rebecca Sasnett . . . . . . Arizona Daily Star . . . . . . Pandemic and prom

BEST FEATURE PHOTO LAYOUT or PHOTO STORY

Division 2 – Non-Dailies Circulation: 3,500 -10,000

2nd Place . . . . . . Dan Shearer . . . . . . Green Valley News . . . . . . Pence Visit

3rd Place . . . . . . Alexis Bechman . . . . . . Payson Roundup . . . . . . Bikepacking the Arizona Trail