Margaret Downing, editor of the Houston Press, has won a national Unity Award from Lincoln University in Missouri in the Economics category for her story "A Closer Look at Dillard's." That feature investigated incidents that have led critics to label the department store's security policies as racist and poorly considered.
Unity Awards recognize "contributions to continuing standards of excellence in media through efforts that reflect accurate exposure of issues affecting minorities and disabled persons." The awards' print category is open to both newspapers and magazines.
Also, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies has announced its national finalists in the 2005 Alternative Newsweekly Awards competition, and the Houston Press took four spots, the second-highest number of finalists for one newspaper in the "Over 50,000 Circulation" category.
Staff writer Josh Harkinson is a double finalist for "HCCS's Gift Basket Bonanza," in the Education (wildcard) category, and the news stories "Firing Line," "Carrying the Torch" and "Cooked Book" in the News Story Short Form category.
Food writer Robb Walsh is a finalist in Food Writing for "The Cow Says 'Oink,' " "Sex, Death and Oysters" and "Osso Buco Me? Osso Buco You!"
Downing is a finalist in the Column category for "Watching You," "A Dog's Life" and "Up in the Air."
First-place winners will be announced June 17 in San Diego.
And Harkinson placed second in the Texas Institute of Letters statewide competition for "Thrilled to Death," an examination of amusement parks and water rides in Texas.