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Observer Nominated for Six AltWeekly Awards

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We woke up this morning to exciting news. The Texas Observer is a finalist for for six honors from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, including awards for feature writing, investigative reporting and public-service journalism. We couldn’t be prouder. Our mission is always to provide independent, investigative reporting, free of charge to readers. (If you want to help in our mission, consider becoming an Observer Partner.)

We’ll be crossing our fingers when the final results are announced on July 22. In the meantime, check out the stories that earned nominations:

• Forrest Wilder’s Agency of Destruction is up for AAN’s investigative reporting award. His story chronicled the systemic corruption in the world’s second largest environmental agency—the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

• Dave Mann’s A Bloody Injustice was nominated in the long- form news story category. The article explored the flawed evidence in that convicted Warren Horinek of murder in 1996 and revealed how questionable testimony from forensic experts can send innocent people to prison.

• Melissa del Bosque’s Children of the Exodus, nominated for the feature story award, describes the horrifying plight of children who cross the border illegally and then are deported without their families. The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund provided support for del Bosque’s reporting.

• Dave Mann’s story DNA Tests Undermine Evidence in Texas Execution broke the international story that DNA testing disproved key evidence that led to the 2000 execution of Claude Jones. The Observer partnered with the Innocence Project in the successful three-year court battle to obtain the evidence: a single strand of hair. The story was nominated for the public-service award.

• Michael May’s Gone Rogue was nominated for an award for drugs reporting. His article chronicled the story of Barry Cooper, a former cop who turned into a hardline activist dedicated to catching police breaking the law.

• Ben Sargent was nominated for the best cartoon for his regular feature Loon Star State. Sargent never runs out of hilarious ways to poke fun at Texas’ most outrageous political moments.