For the third year in a row, Scene was named Ohio's best non-daily newspaper. The award, announced June 21, was part of the Excellence in Journalism Awards competition sponsored by the Press Club of Cleveland.
The annual contest, judged by out-of-state journalists, recognizes outstanding work throughout Ohio. The Scene staff won a total of 19 awards; 11 were for first place.
Scene also was named the state's best weekly by the Society of Professional Journalists. The results of that statewide competition were also released June 21. SPJ judges noted that "A diverse mix of hip humor and poignant storytelling makes Scene the undisputed winner."
In the Press Club competition, three Scene staff members won for their body of work: writer Laura Putre for columns, Copy Editor Erich Burnett for headlines, and Music Editor Jason Bracelin for arts criticism. Burnett also received first place for "Kosher Pickle," about a Jewish retirement home criticized for not admitting gentiles, and Putre took honorable mention for the column "Meals on Turtles," about lunches delivered chronically late to low-income residents.
The other awards were:
First place, Features-Personality Profile, for Putre's "Hangin' With Mother Hough," about Cleveland City Councilwoman Fannie Lewis.
First place, Business Column Writing, for Editor Pete Kotz's "The Velvet Hand of Justice," which skewered insurance companies and banks that profit from prejudice.
First place, Public Service Reporting, for staff writer Sarah Fenske's "The Mayor Who Thought He Was King," chronicling the trials of ex-Avon Lake Mayor Vince Urbin.
Second place, Investigative Reporting, for Fenske's "While the EPA Slept," which reported on industrial contamination in Middlefield.
First place, Sports Reporting, for staff writer David W. Martin's "Radar Love," about Ohio's baseball scouts.
First place, Features, for staff writer Thomas Francis's "A Few Good Men," about the challenge of recruiting Catholic priests.
Second place, Features, for Francis's "Her One Mistake," the story of Karen Spencer, chief administrative officer for the Cuyahoga County Community Mental Health Board, who died at the hand of her abusive boyfriend.
First place, Personality Profile, for Francis's "Con Man of the Year," about rogue businessman and swindler Clay Krcal.
Honorable mention, Personality Profile, for staff writer Andrew Putz's "Skins Game," a profile of Bill Powell, the first black man to design, build, and run his own golf course.
First place, Photo Journalism, for Walter Novak's "The Long Goodbye," a story about an adoption dispute.
First place, Pictorial, for Novak's "Table Setting," which accompanied a restaurant review.
Honorable mention, Pictorial, for Novak's "Sly Fox," which also illustrated a restaurant review.
Honorable mention, Portrait/Personality Photography, for Novak's "Alter Ego," a photo of shock-rocker Marilyn Manson.
In the SPJ competition, Scene won 10 awards in addition to best weekly:
First place, Best Coverage of the Environment, for Fenske's "While the EPA Slept."
Second place, Best Investigative Reporting, for Fenske's "The Bank of Jim Crow," about black customers receiving a disproportionate number of high-interest home loans from Charter One Bank.
First place, Best Coverage of Minority Issues, for Putre's "Hell to Pay," about black gay men's struggle for acceptance in their churches.
First place, Best Personality Profile, for Putre's "Hangin' With Mother Hough."
First place, Best Human Interest Writing, for Francis's "Con Man of the Year."
First place, Best Religion Coverage, for Francis's "A Few Good Men."
First place, Best Sports Coverage, for Martin's "Radar Love."
Second Place, Best Sports Coverage, for staff writer Martin Kuz's "Next-to-Last Man Standing," which described the emotional roller coaster of draft day.
First place, Best Headline Writing, for Burnett's "Kosher Pickle."
Best Critic in Ohio, for Elaine T. Cicora's restaurant reviews.