Judges selected the Observer as the best nondaily newspaper in the press club's 38th annual Katie Awards November 2. The contest accepts entries from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Louisiana. The paper was cited for its mix of investigative reporting, feature writing, and arts and entertainment coverage.
Observer writers also won three individual awards, all in categories in which press club rules allow the Observer to compete directly with major daily newspapers from the five states including The Dallas Morning News.
In several major categories, the press club does not allow the Observer to compete head to head with the News, which won 10 awards this year.
Observer columnist Laura Miller received the award for best government/political story for her article "The truth about Townview," which explored the racial politics and petty infighting besetting the Dallas Independent School District's newly opened Townview school.
Staff writer Miriam Rozen received the award for best business news story for "Project X," an examination of a secret policy at Southwestern Bell that resulted in inferior service for low-income neighborhoods.
Former music editor Robert Wilonsky was honored for arts criticism for his story on the problematic success of Dallas soul singer Bobby Patterson. Wilonsky is now music editor at the New Times in Los Angeles, a sister publication of the Observer.
The Observer had finalists in eight additional press club awards categories, including five in direct competition with major daily newspapers.
An Observer writer was also honored last week by the Dallas Bar Association. Ann Zimmerman received the Stephen Philbin Award for her story "Juvenile injustice," which related the troubling tale of a man who lost custody of his daughter after the girl's baby sitter was arrested on a drug charge.
Zimmerman's story won in the weekly newspaper category. The bar association does not allow the Observer to enter in the same category as daily newspapers.