FAILING TO LOSE Karl Stevens took top cartooning honors at the 2010 AltWeekly Awards.
Unless you work in the alt-weekly business, you almost certainly weren't in Toronto this past weekend to whoop it up with a horde of slightly disheveled journos at the 33rd annual Association of Alternative Newsweeklies conference. Some things you missed out on: New York Times writer David Carr heckling the Village Voice via PowerPoint, "¡Ask A Mexican!" columnist Gustavo Arellano teaching the finer nuances of Spanish cuss words, and a terrifying motivational speaker who raved about precognitive elves. (Yes, that last bit actually happened; and no, we're not sure how she got in, either.)
Over those four days in Toronto, North America's scrappiest news outlets cast aside their rivalries and bonded over Jäger shots in dim Canadian dive bars. But they were also there to slug it out in the convention's AltWeekly Awards ceremony. To pick their winners, AAN's panel of judges — including delegates from the New Republic, DailyKos, and Slate — sifted through more than a thousand entries.
Out of this stiff competition, the Phoenix snagged 10 prizes, with two first-place wins. Our "50 Bands, 50 States" music feature clinched the top spot for Multimedia Article, while artist Karl Stevens won best Cartoon for his painstakingly crosshatched, ripped-from-real-life comic Failure.
Additionally, David Bernstein captured second place for Long-Form News Story with "Sarah Palin, Inc." (which examined Palin's multi-billion-dollar brand power); Chris Faraone won the Short-Form News Story silver for his coverage of hackers, anti-circumcision activists, and Beacon Hill's tap-water woes; and Valerie Vande Panne's profile of a pot-dealing suburban mom netted second in Feature Story. Our third-placers were Adam Reilly (in Media Criticism), Greg Cook (Arts Criticism), and Jason Notte (Investigative Reporting).
You don't need ESP to know that it's been a time of upheaval for alt-weeklies, bringing all kinds of scary and exciting change to the media landscape. To reflect that, one big development to come out of this year's convention was the decision to allow web-only publications to apply for AAN membership. Sounds like progress to us.