This image of a Kush user was just one part of the portfolio that won Leif Reigstad a national photography award for the Houston Press.
This image of a Kush user was just one part of the portfolio that won Leif Reigstad a national photography award for the Houston Press.
Photo by Leif Reigstad

A Winning Year for Houston Press In Words and Pictures, Online and In Print

The Houston Press is a small shop that's gotten smaller over the years, much like all newsrooms in the journalism landscape. Fortunately, this past year, as in previous recent years, we've been able to bolster the work of a hard-charging staff with some pretty dynamic freelancers.

In the latest contest season covering work done in 2016, staffers and freelancers alike were recognized in a number of national and regional journalism competitions. These contests were judged by professionals from far away, people who in most cases don't know us, but recognize good work.

And it was good work in several areas, from investigative to feature writing, arts criticism to hard news, and as the above photo shows, photography as well. In four different categories spread over two national contests, we had two of the four finalists out of all the contest entries in the country.

As editor-in-chief of the Houston Press I am continually amazed by the dedication and competency of the freelancers and staff members who ply their craft so well, punching far above their weight class to bring better news coverage to the Houston area. It is a gift to get to work with them.

And now, here are our latest award winners, in no particular order:

Leif Reigstad:
—Placed first in the nation in the Feature Reporting category (Non-daily publication) in the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Awards competition for "Kush City."
— Placed third in Feature Story for the same story in the national Association of Alternative Newsmedia Altweekly awards.
— Placed first in that same AAN competition for Photography for the photographs he took with the Kush story and in a slide show.
— Received an honorable mention, along with Meagan Flynn in the staff blog category of the AAN awards for their work on the Houston News website.

Meagan Flynn:
— Placed first in the nation in the Women in Communications Clarion Award contest in the Newspaper Feature Story category for "Sorry for Life: Ashley Ervin Didn't Kill Anyone, But She Drove Home the Boys Who Did."
— Was a finalist in the National Association of Black Journalists competition in the Feature Story category for the same story in the Under 150,000 circulation division.
— Placed second in the national Association of Alternative Newsmedia Altweekly awards in the Feature Story category for the same story.
— Received an honorable mention, along with Leif Reigstad in the staff blog category of the AAN awards for their work on the Houston News website.
— Won the two-state (Texas and Oklahoma) Fort Worth SPJ First Amendment award in the Business News Under 100,000 circulation category for "Falling Down on the Job."

Michael Barajas:
—Placed first in the national AAN awards competition in the Long-form News Story category for "Get a Ticket While Being Poor in Houston? Here's How You Might End up in Jail."
— Received an Honorable Mention along with Craig Malisow in that same contest in the Investigative Reporting category for "Officials Can’t Remember the Last Time HPD Saw an Unjustified Shooting. Here’s Why."
— Was a finalist along with Craig Malisow in General News in the two- state (Texas and Oklahoma) Fort Worth SPJ First Amendment awards Under 100,000 circulation category for that same story.

Dianna Wray:
— Placed third in the Investigative category of Association of Alternative Newsmedia's Alt Weekly competition for "As Regulation Lags, Texas Flats Boat Casualties Mount."
— Placed second in the Investigative Reporting category of the Best of the West competion for "When Dental Surgery Lands A Patient in a World of Everlasting Regret."
— First place in General News Under 100,000 circulation category in the two- state (Texas and Oklahoma) Fort Worth SPJ First Amendment awards for "When Dental Surgery Lands a Patient in a world of Everlasting Regret."

Steve Miller:
— Winner in the two- state (Texas and Oklahoma) Fort Worth SPJ First Amendment awards in the Investigative Under 100,000 circulation category for "How a Few Rent-A-Voters in a Vacant Lot Lead to Millions in Bonds for Taxpayers."

Craig Malisow:
— Received an Honorable Mention along with Michael Barajas in the national AAN Awards Altweekly contest  in the Investigative Reporting category for  "Officials Can’t Remember the Last Time HPD Saw an Unjustified Shooting. Here’s Why."
— Was a finalist along with Michael Barajas in General News in the two- state (Texas and Oklahoma) Fort Worth SPJ First Amendment awards for that same story.
— In that same competition, he was a finalist in Business News for "Selling Space."
— He was also a finalist in the First Amendment contest in the Defending the Disadvantaged Under 100,000 circulation category for "There’s Little Outrage for 12,000 Kids Suffering in the Texas Foster Care System."

D.L. Groover:
— Placed second in the national AAN awards competition in the Arts Criticism category for a selection of his theater reviews: "The Motherfu**er With the Hat Is a Wonderful, if F-word-filled, Night at Obsidian Theater," "Bat Boy The Musical: A Bat Boy's Gotta Do What a Bat Boy's Gotta Do" and "Big Fish the Musical Has a Sterling Cast and Crew but the Plot Falls Short."

Jessica Goldman:
— Received Honorable Mention honors for her theater columns in the national AAN awards competition in the Arts Criticism category: "Heathers the Musical Goes Gleefully Into the Politically Incorrect," "After All Media Passes Were Canceled, We Decided to See White Rabbit Red Rabbit Anyway" and "Come to The Nether, Where People Live Out Their Virtual Reality Fantasies."

Rolando Rodriguez:
Finalist in the Opinion category of the nation Education Writers Association competition for "The Mariachi Superintendent: A Signal of Hope for Hispanics and America."

Margaret Downing:
— Finalist in the national NABJ competition in the Feature Story category for "HISD’s College Success Program Uncovered Inequities and Is Changing the Status Quo."
— Placed second in the Race Relations category of the national AAN Awards competition for the same story.

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