University of Arizona School of Journalism alums won at least nine first-place awards at the Arizona Newspapers Association's Better Newspapers Contest on Oct. 9.
Meanwhile, the Arizona Daily Star under editor and alumna Jill Jorden Spitz and the the Navajo Times scored the highest cumulative points to garner the award for the 2021 Arizona Newspaper of the Year.
Curt Prendergast ('11 M.A.) of the Star won two awards: best news story ("Future of border wall") and best enterprise reporting ("Future of border wall about to be handed over to voters").
Caitlin Schmidt ('14) of the Star also captured two awards: best sports story ("3 race car-driving girls make track history") and best sports beat coverage ("Title IX and other issues in UA athletic dept").
Other first-place winners were:
- Kim Smith ('89), Eastern Arizona Courier, best news photograph ("Safford Firefighters")
- Alexis Bechman ('08), Payson Roundup, best online coverage breaking news ("Bush Fire")
- Dan Shearer ('85), Green Valley News, best headline ("I DO I DO I DO I DO")
- Jeremy Duda ('02), Arizona Mirror, best news story ("Cyber Ninjas scoop -- stop the steal tweets")
- Genesis Lara ('18), Nogales International, best sustained coverage/series with Jonathan Clark and Nick Phillips ("Border wall construction")
Also, Donovan M. Kramer Jr. (’76), publisher of Casa Grande Newspapers, saw one of his non-dailies -- the Florence Reminder and Blade-Tribune -- take first place in departmental news and copywriting excellence.