Observer Takes Home Six Altweekly Awards


Well la-dee-da!

This weekend, we won six awards from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, including two for first place.

Our very own executive editor, Dave Mann, won first place from AAN in two different categories. That gives Dave a total of seven awards from AAN in his time at the Observer. Dave won the top prize in public service journalism for his story DNA Tests Undermines Evidence in Texas Execution. The article 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.

Meanwhile his story Bloody Injustice won the top prize for best long-form news story. The article explored the flawed evidence that convicted Warren Horinek of murder in 1996 and revealed how questionable testimony from forensic experts can send innocent people to prison.

We’re pretty darn proud ourselves. In addition to Dave’s articles, four other staffers won awards, all listed below. That gives us at total of 49 awards from AAN. We see it as an affirmation of our mission: providing independent, investigative reporting to readers, with all the stories available free on the web. (If you want to help in our mission, consider becoming an Observer partner.

Here are all the awards we snagged:

• Dave Mann won first place in the long-form news story category for his story A Bloody Injustice and first place for public service reporting for his story DNA Tests Undermine Evidence in Texas Execution. 

• Forrest Wilder won second place in investigative reporting for his story, Agency of Destruction

• Melissa del Bosque won third place in features writing for Children of the Exodus. The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund provided support for Melissa’s reporting.


• Michael May won third place for his reporting on the War on Drugs in his article Gone Rogue.


• Ben Sargent won an honorable mention in the cartoon category for his regular feature Loon Star State