The Arizona Newspaper Association named the Tribune Newspaper of the Year 2004 on Saturday for its combination of editorial and advertising excellence.
"Those who do not know the Tribune may not realize that we offer a high-quality East Valley alternative to the Phoenix newspaper," said publisher Karen Wittmer. "This award will help us get out that message to even more readers and advertisers.
"This will also help us get out the message that readers and advertisers are the real winners when there is daily newspaper competition," she continued. "The other guys may not like it, but this award is a reflection of our customer focus in the East Valley marketplace."
To judge the winner, the association tallied up points associated with spring advertising contests and a recent newsroom contest.
Also during the group’s fall convention, four Tribune writers were honored for their work in using public records to benefit readers, and the newspaper captured top awards in the Best Newspapers contest.
The Tribune took a first place in reporting and news writing excellence and for its weekly entertainment supplement, Get Out. Gary Nelson won a first for best news feature story.
The paper got a second place in best use of photography, tied for second in page design excellence and scored third-place awards for best sports story (writers Scott Bordow and Craig Morgan), editorial page excellence, community service, special section ("Mourning a soldier: Pat Tillman, a hero’s life remembered"), and for its Web site.
Assistant city editor/ columnist Paul Giblin received an honorable mention for best news story.
Freedom of Information Awards went to Daryl James, Giblin, Jennifer Ryan and Rosa Cirianni.
James was recognized for his work in using Freedom of Information requests to challenge the accuracy of school crime reports; assess charter schools’ compliance with the Arizona Public Records Law; and investigate the amount of money East Valley school districts spend on attorney fees and court costs.
Giblin used public records to illustrate the huge funding disparities from a state agency set up to build public sports facilities using public money. Additionally, Giblin used a variety of records to outline internal police concerns about the Scottsdale Police Department’s top civilian official, administrative services director Helen Gandara Zavala.
Ryan used hundreds of public records from seven law enforcement agencies to reveal the number of deaths and injuries from police pursuits. Cirianni was honored for her continual pursuit to review public records on pertinent subjects of public interest.
"I want to thank all the employees of the Tribune for the work they have done and continue to do on behalf of our customers," Wittmer said.
Phoenix attorney Bob Kamman also was honored for his work in monitoring campaign finance reports.
Also during Saturday’s ceremony, Mesa’s Red Mountain High School newspaper, The Roar, took third-place honors.