UA alumni, students grab 13 firsts in Arizona Press Club Awards

Murphy Woodhouse, Nogales International, in July 2014. (Photo by Jonathan Clark)

The Daily Wildcat staff took first place in community editorial writing and second in statewide editorial writing with this project on gun violence and other issues.

Former University of Arizona journalism student Murphy Woodhouse of the Nogales International was named Community Journalist of the Year, and those with J-school and UA ties won 12 other categories Saturday at the Arizona Press Club Awards in Phoenix.

Adjunct instructor and alumna Sarah Garrecht Gassen of the Arizona Daily Star took first place in statewide editorial writing with “well-written, muscular editorials that took a deep dive into state and regional education issues,” the judge said. She received her bachelor’s in 1995 and master’s in 2010 from the School of Journalism.

The Star’s Kristen Cook (’92) and Dave Ord (’84) placed first in statewide short-form writing and headline writing, respectively.

Derek Jordan (’14) of the Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review took first in community breaking news. Bill Coates (’78) of the Casa Grande Dispatch won in community column writing. Maria Ines Taracena of Tucson Weekly placed first in community immigration reporting. Adam Gaub (’06) of the Maricopa Monitor won community headline writing.

The staff of the Arizona Daily Wildcat, where many UA journalism students work, placed first in community editorial writing, and Jacquelyn Oesterblad and Patrick O’Connor of the Wildcat won the student features and sports reporting awards, respectively.

Adjunct instructor Cathalena E. Burch place first in statewide arts reporting.

In short-form writing, Woodhouse grabbed first place in the community category and second statewide. In community, he also placed second in human interest writing and third in public safety reporting. “His portfolio stood out for the strength of its enterprise reporting,” a judge wrote. “These were well-written stories that a reporter could only get via the difficult work of being a tenacious community journalist.”

Woodhouse earned his undergraduate degree in journalism at Montana and a master’s in Latin American Studies at UA, where he took the J-school's borderlands reporting class. 

Alumni and those with UA J-school ties also captured 14 second-place awards and 13 thirds. Here’s the full rundown (for judges’ comments, go to

  • C1. The Don Bolles Award for Investigative Reporting. Second place: Joe Ferguson (’06) and Caitlin Schmidt (’14), Arizona Daily Star: Tucson Police and Prostitution. (Ferguson is also a UA journalism adjunct)
  • C2. Statewide public service journalism. Third place: Rachel Leingang and Hank Stephenson (former UA J-student), Arizona Capitol Times: “Stonewalled”
  • C5. Statewide John Kolbe Politics Reporting Award. Second place: Brenna Goth (’13), Arizona Republic: coverage of Phoenix’s proposed transit tax hike
  • C11. Statewide immigration reporting. Third place: Perla Trevizo, Arizona Daily Star and Fernanda Echavarri ('07), Arizona Public Media
  • C17. Statewide column writing. Second place: Bill Coates (’78), Casa Grande Dispatch
  • C18. Statewide editorial writing. First place. Sarah Garrecht Gassen (’95, ’10), Arizona Daily Star: “Teacher evaluations should be rigorous, not punitive,” “Tucson Unified superintendent’s 24 percent raise” and “Employers want college graduates, not prison beds.” Second place. Staff, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “It happened here twice,” “UA tobacco ban just smoke and mirrors” and “President Ann Weaver Hart should have shown solidarity and refused bonus after budget cuts and 320 layoffs at the UA.”
  • C21. Statewide short-form writing. First place: Kristen Cook (92), Arizona Daily Star: “Family knows how to rock.” Second place. Murphy Woodhouse (former UA J-student), Nogales International: “Local artist’s catrinas add life to Day of the Dead.” Third place: Kristen Cook, Arizona Daily Star: “This gym’s gone to the dogs”
  • C22. Statewide arts criticism. Second place: UA adjunct instructor Cathalena E. Burch, Arizona Daily Star
  • C23. Statewide arts reporting. First place: Cathalena E. Burch, Arizona Daily Star
  • C25. Statewide headline writing. First place: Dave Ord (‘84), Arizona Daily Star: “After 26 years, this UA assistant can surely judge a back by his cover.” Second place: Lee Shappell (UA J-grad), Arizona Republic: “They’re a page right out of history.” Third place: Lee Shappell, Arizona Republic: “Liquid asset”
  • E2. Student news reporting. Third place: Bailey Bellavance, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “UA research team discovers liquid water on Mars”
  • E3. Student features reporting. First place: Jacquelyn Oesterblad, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “Big dreams, no funding.” Third place: Jacquelyn Oesterblad: “Smoke and mirrors”
  • E4. Student sports reporting. First place: Patrick O’Connor, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “Greening the Game aims for its first zero-waste football game against Utah.” Second place: James Kelley, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “T.J.’s legacy.” Third place: Matt Wall, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “Haka no more”
  • Arizona Community Journalist Of The Year. Winner: Murphy Woodhouse, Nogales International. First Runner-Up: Hank Stephenson (former UA J-student), Arizona Capitol Times. Second Runner-Up: UA journalism adjunct Jim Nintzel, Tucson Weekly
  • B1. Community investigative reporting. Second place: Hank Stephenson, Arizona Capitol Times: Arizona House renovation efforts
  • B2. Community public service journalism. Second place: Jamie Verwys, Aztec Press and UA J-student: “What’s Your Deadline?”
  • B3. Community breaking news. First place: Derek Jordan (’14), Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review:”F-16 crashes outside Douglas
  • B4. Community public safety reporting. Third place: Murphy Woodhouse, Nogales International: “From $300 to $50,000 Per Load, Smuggling Wages Range Widely” and ” ‘Blind Mule’ Defense Can Turn Fed Cases Local”
  • B5. Community political reporting. Second place: Jim Nintzel, Tucson Weekly: “Loan charges.” Third place: Rodney Haas (’10), Casa Grande Dispatch: Central Arizona College recall
  • B6. Community government reporting. Second place: Hank Stephenson, Arizona Capitol Times: “Azerbaijan connection.” Third place: Jim Nintzel, Tucson Weekly: “Grant Road rage, redux”
  • B11. Community immigration reporting. First place: Maria Ines Taracena (’12), Tucson Weekly: “The waiting game”
  • B17. Community column writing. First place: Bill Coates, Casa Grande Dispatch
  • B18. Community editorial writing. First place: Staff, Arizona Daily Wildcat: “It happened here twice,” “UA tobacco ban just smoke and mirrors” and “President Ann Weaver Hart should have shown solidarity and refused bonus after budget cuts and 320 layoffs at the UA.”
  • B20. Community human interest writing. Second place: Murphy Woodhouse, Nogales International: “Neighborhoods of Nogales” series. Third place: Maria Ines Taracena, Tucson Weekly: “Dignified displacement” and “Evicted”
  • B21. Community short-form writing. First place: Murphy Woodhouse, Nogales International: “Local artist’s catrinas add life to Day of the Dead”
  • B25. Community headline writing. First place: Adam Gaub (’06), Maricopa Monitor: “Board blunts Voyles’ protests on Rx marijuana grow site.” Third place: Adam Gaub, Maricopa Monitor: “PD chief candid about cameras.”

Published Date: 

05/02/2016 - 10:49am