The Missouri School of Journalism studied more than 1,400 entries from papers of all sizes around the country last year in its search for outstanding lifestyle journalism in categories that included arts and entertainment, short features, consumer affairs, fashion and design, health, and multicultural subjects. The school awarded 28 trophies and $15,000 in prize money.
The Observer took first place in the general-excellence category for nontraditional, nondaily papers. The paper was praised for having "a very clear idea of what it takes for an alternative publication to be successful. It mixes solid stories written with a little edge, and a heavy dose of useful service pieces."
Observer staff writer Ann Zimmerman was a finalist in the Fashion & Design category for "Second chance," a February 9, 1995, profile of the late Dallas fashion designer Michael Ballas.
Zimmerman was also recently honored with an Association for Women Journalists Vivian Castleberry Award. She won in the news-and-feature-reporting category in newspapers with circulations of less than 100,000 for "Archer County justice," a May 25, 1995, cover story that chronicled the struggle for justice of Gail Bennett, who says she was raped by a sheriff.