This past Saturday at a banquet in Naples, the Florida Press Association announced the winners of its annual Better Weekly Newspaper Awards. In competition with 67 other weeklies around the state, New Times took home honors in twelve categories for work published in 1996, including seven first-place awards. The paper also received an additional award for most trophies garnered in the over-12,000 circulation division.
Elise Ackerman and former intern Michelle Mayer won the Claudia Ross Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting for "Policing the Police," which uncovered deficiencies in the ways Dade police departments handle complaints about excessive use of force. "Eat Early, Eat Cheap," Robert Andrew Powell's look at the early bird special, won in the Feature Story category. Judy Cantor's "Home Truths," which delved into the issue of migrant-worker housing, won for Agricultural Writing. Kirk Semple won the Environmental division with his piece about beach erosion, "Where's the Beach?" Former staffer Ray Martinez's "Off the Hook," about South Florida's declining offshore fisheries, topped the Outdoor Writing division. Steve Satterwhite won Portfolio Photography. And the paper won the Special Issue division for the "Best of Miami."
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In addition, columnist Jim DeFede took second place in two categories, Serious Column and In-Depth News Reporting; Kirk Semple won an honorable mention in the News Story division; and the paper took third place for Overall Graphic Design and second place for General Excellence.