Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2019

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Sun earns 6 awards in Best of the West contest

Water series, graphics on worker deaths take first-place honors

Sun Topics

The Las Vegas Sun has won six awards in the 2009 Best of the West competition, which honors the best journalism among newspapers in the 13 Western states.

The awards included two first-place honors, for the Sun’s in-depth examination of the region’s search for more water, and for informational graphics that illustrated the newspaper’s investigation of worker deaths at Strip construction sites.

The Sun also won three second-place awards and a third-place honor.

The awards include:

• First place in reporting on the environment and natural resources, for Emily Green’s five-part series examining the search for more water by the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Judges credited Green for “telling the tale of a desert metropolis’ water fight in all its moral complexity.”

• First place in informational graphics, for Chris Morris’ diagrams illustrating the how construction workers died on the job. “The events are described, without being insensitive,” said judges, who also applauded the effective simplicity of his diagrams.

• Second place in reporting on growth and development, for Alexandra Berzon’s series of stories examining worker safety and construction deaths on the Strip. Judges applauded her focus “on the safety of a little-heard-from but essential character in the growth machine — the construction worker.” Three weeks ago the Sun won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for this body of work.

• Second place in editorial writing, for Matt Hufman’s editorial that tied construction deaths on the Strip to a national issue of workplace safety, and for offering specific remedies.

• Second place in business and financial reporting for Liz Benston’s and Berzon’s story examining whether Las Vegas was positioned to fend off the recession.

• Third place in general reporting for J. Patrick Coolican’s and Michael J. Mishak’s on-deadline analysis of how Hillary Clinton won the Nevada caucus early in the 2008 presidential campaign season.

“This has been a great year for recognition of the Sun’s journalism,” Managing Editor Michael J. Kelley said, “and again, we are thankful.”

The Best of the West awards are the most recent to be bestowed upon the Sun and its Web site in recent weeks including, most significantly, the Pulitzer Prize.

The newspaper’s Web site,, won the EPpy award for having the best newspaper-affiliated Web site in the country for online sites with fewer than 1 million unique monthly visitors. And in the Associated Press California/Nevada Newswriting and Photo Contest, the Sun won the top two awards in a competition among all newspapers in the two-state region and, in its circulation class, won first place in six of the seven newswriting categories as well as a first place for portrait photography.

In the Best of the West contest, the Las Vegas Review-Journal won first place in explanatory reporting for its coverage of the hepatitis C outbreak, and third place in spot-news reporting for its reports on the Monte Carlo fire.

The Best of the West contest rewards journalistic excellence and promotes freedom of information. It is administered by First Amendment Funding Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation.

Among other winning newspapers were The Arizona Republic (Phoenix), the Deseret News (Salt Lake City), The Fresno Bee, The Oregonian (Portland), the Rocky Mountain News (Denver), The Sacramento Bee, The Salt Lake Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, The Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.