On national, regional and state fronts, the Houston Press received good news in several recent contests.
Nationally, Press writer Jesse Washington won first place in the National Association of Black Journalists contest in the category of sports stories for publications of under 150,000 circulation. His feature "A Dying Race" looked at Olympic track and field winners living in Houston who get little recognition locally.
Also, Press food writer Robb Walsh was notified that his story "The Inkblot Test: Do You Prefer Old Greasy Diners? Or Imitations of Old Greasy Diners?" has been selected for inclusion in Best Food Writing 2001, the annual anthology of the previous year's best food writing.
Former Press staff writer Bob Burtman received second place in the investigative category of the Association of Alternative Newspapers national competition for "Paying the Price" and "Pumped Dry." This was Burtman's examination of how independent service station owners are being forced out of business by oil companies.
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Burtman also was a finalist in the national Gerald Loeb Award in the small newspapers category for the same package of stories. The Loeb awards are given for "distinguished business and financial journalism."
Former Press staffer Randall Patterson was a finalist in the PEN USA West competition for "Chicken Man," about a man who raises chickens for cockfighting. This contest is open to writers living west of the Mississippi.
In statewide competition, Burtman placed second in the print journalist of the year and investigative story categories for the gas stories in the new Lone Star Awards of the Houston Press Club.
Other Press winners in the Lone Star Awards were as follows: Margaret Downing, second place in general commentary/criticism for "Breaking Bigotry"; Lauren Kern, third in arts and entertainment commentary/criticism for "Where Art Thou, Juliet?"; Brad Tyer, third in feature story for "Mommy's Little Angel"; Richard Connelly, third in general commentary/ criticism for "Winner in OT"; John Suval, third in business story for "Awakening Giant"; and Monica Fuentes, third in layout for "Deliverance from China."