Clockwise, from top right: Tucson Local Media staff Logan Burtch-Buus, Kathleen Kunz, Jeff Gardner and Christopher Boan were among the big winners at this year’s Arizona Newspapers Association awards.

Under the leadership of publisher Jason Joseph and managing editor Logan Burtch-Buus, the Explorer and its sister newspapers in the Tucson Local Media family of publications brought home 29 awards in this year’s Arizona Newspapers Association competition, including 10 first-place awards.

The newspapers compete in the large non-daily categories in the Better Newspapers Contest and Excellence in Advertising competition.

The Explorer took second place in the Page Design Excellence category and Best Special Section (for our Fall Arts pull-out).

The Explorer came in third place in the Community Service and Journalistic Achievement category (for last year’s Breast Cancer special section).

Associate Editor Jeff Gardner won first place in the Best Feature Story category for “Brewski Benefit,” a story about how a group of breweries teamed up to raise funds for one of the owners of Crooked Tooth Brewery. Gardner also took top honors in the Best Sustained Coverage category for his stories about the University of Arizona’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid-hunting mission. He also claimed third place in a headline-writing category.

Staff Reporter Kathleen B. Kunz earned a first-place award for “Care Bear,” a story exploring the challenges of finding affordable daycare. 

Managing editor Logan Burtch-Buus won third-place honors in Best Sustained Coverage category for his series of stories about the Oro Valley town council elections, as well as third place for Best News Photograph for his image of last year’s Canyon del Oro High School graduation.

Sports writer Christopher Boan won second-place honors in Best Sports Beat Coverage for his coverage of high-school football and in the Best Sports Column category for his column The Weekly Take. 

Former web editor Tirion Morris took second place in the Best Feature Story category for “Nostalgia on the Move,” a look at a local food truck. 

Tucson Weekly, which is also owned by Tucson Local Media, swept the Best Feature Writing category and claimed a second-place finish in the overall General Excellence category.

Tucson Weekly won first place in four categories, including Reporting and Newswriting Excellence, Departmental News and Copywriting Excellence, Page Design Excellence and Special Section (for Best of Tucson).

The Weekly also took second place in the Best Use of Photography category and the Community Service/Journalistic Achievement category (for last year’s Pride special section). Executive editor Jim Nintzel’s columns won third place in the Editorial Page Excellence category.

Tucson Weekly columnist Brian Smith, whose work has been collected in Tucson Salvage: Tales and Recollections from La Frontera, took first place for “Billy Sedlmyer: Bowed But Unbroken,” a profile of the local singer-songwriter who has battled drug addiction but who has resumed his career since his release from prison. Smith also completed the Weekly’s sweep of the Best Feature Writing category with his third-place finish for an article profiling Salvation Army bell ringers.  

Longtime Tucson Weekly arts writer Margaret Regan won third place in the Best Column, Feature or Criticism for “Up Close and Personal,” a review of Richard Avedon’s work at the Center for Creative Photography. 

Former staff writer Danyelle Khmara won third place in Investigating Reporting for “Collateral Damage,” a look at the challenges that consensual sex workers face when Tucson police investigate sex traffickers.

In the Excellence in Advertising competition, Tyler Vondrak and Oliver Muñoz won first place for Best Online Ad (Static) for an India Oven ad. Candace Murray and Oliver Muñoz won first place for Best Black and White Ad for Can It. The entire staff won second place in Best Special Section (for Best of Tucson) and Brek Montoya and Oliver Muñoz won third place in Best Color Ad. 

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