On Friday, June 11, the Florida Press Association announced the winners of its annual Better Weekly Newspaper Contest for material published during 1992. This year, in competition with weekly newspapers throughout the state, New Times won a total of eleven awards.
The paper as a whole earned recognition in four areas. A first place in community service was awarded for coverage of Hurricane Andrew and for the "Andrew and Me" hurricane benefit writing contest, a second place for the 1992 "Best of Miami" special issue, and third place for front page make-up and for overall graphic design.
The work of staff writer Steven Almond topped two categories. "The Bird Road Rapist," which examined the circumstances of the 1980 conviction of Luis Diaz, garnered a first place for in-depth news reporting, while "King Putt," a profile of Zen golf instructor Chico Miartez, was awarded a first among sports stories.
Veteran staffer Greg Baker claimed the outdoor writing honors with his first-place feature about crustacean-questing in Biscayne Bay, "Shrimp City!"
In the investigative reporting competition, Jim DeFede's "Justice Undone," which examined an off-duty police officer's killing of teenager Andrew Morello and raised serious doubts about how police shootings are probed in Dade, was recognized with an honorable mention.
Among New Times contributors, illustrator Larry Ashton's "Andrew and Me" cover took first place for best individual graphic; "Filing for Dollars," in which freelance writer David Villano illuminated the labyrinthine layers of red tape that surround the White House Office of Presidential Travel, won second place for First Amendment defense; and the work of Tom White, New Times's resident pen-and-ink wit, won third place among local editorial cartoons.