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The awards have arrived 

New Times, and its sister paper the Sun, occasionally enter contests—not, you know, for bragging rights or anything, but it’s fun to see how our papers hold up. We like to ask, “How do we compare to our fellow publications?”

And the most recent answer was: pretty well, thanks.

At a May 5 California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspapers Contest event in San Jose, we learned that we took several top awards in our circulation divisions (New Times, weekly, 25,001 and up; Sun, weekly, 11,001 to 25,000).

On the New Times side of things, Amber Kiwan, a former intern who wrote about a scandal involving Cal Poly’s volleyball coach in 2011, received first place for best investigative reporting.

Photographer Steve E. Miller took second place for a photo essay and first place for art/nature photo. (He was also recognized for feature photo, for news photo, and twice for art/nature photography.)

All tolled, New Times received more than a dozen nods for achievements—essentially honorable mentions. News Editor Colin Rigley was awarded for business news and twice for investigative reporting. Arts Editor Anna Weltner took honors for coverage of youth or education, cartoonist Russel Hodin for editorial cartoon, Derek Schultz for illustration, Neal Breton twice for illustration, and graphic designer Dora Mountain for advertising design excellence.

The Sun racked up several achievements for coverage of environment (Managing Editor Amy Asman), coverage of youth (Asman again), illustration (Breton), and feature photo (Photographer Miller). The paper took second place for editorial cartoon for Ross Mayfield’s depiction of Santa Barbara County as a car going over a cliff.

First place awards went twice to “Jail break,” a cover story about mental illness and recidivism related to the Santa Barbara County Jail: one top honor for Miller’s photography, and another for Managing Editor Asman’s writing. Jeremy Thomas was also awarded first place for investigative reporting for his August 2011 story “Betraying the badge?,” which highlighted tensions related to the Santa Maria Police Department.

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