Independent wins eight SPJ awards 

The Colorado Springs Independent has won eight awards, including two first-place citations, from the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Competing with newspapers across Colorado with circulations between 10,000 and 99,999, the Indy was awarded the citations for work done during 2001 at the society's annual banquet last week in Denver.

Independent Editor Cara DeGette won first place in General Political Reporting for "The Man Nobody Knows." The story, published last Aug. 30, detailed the arrest of Randy Ankeney, a 33-year-old former up-and-coming local Republican star. Ankeney was arrested for picking up a 13-year-old girl off the Internet, getting her drunk and stoned, and sexually assaulting her. This is what the journalism judges said about the article: "Cara DeGette has a flowing writing style and diverse sources in her story on a Colorado Springs attorney and Republican leader. Excellent reporting."

DeGette also won first place in Political Reporting, Features, for "Citizen Schuck," a Feb. 1, 2001 profile of local developer, voucher proponent and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Schuck. According to the judges: "DeGette combines a variety of reporting styles, including a Q&A. The quotes are gritty and give readers the feeling of a conversation with Schuck.

In addition, DeGette took a third place in Legal Affairs Reporting for her March 1, 2001 story "Police State," which detailed court rulings that implicated several Colorado Springs cops who deliberately lied about their investigations in attempts to bust people.

Contributing editor Kathryn Eastburn picked up two second-place awards, one in Feature Writing for "To Hell and Back." The piece, published May 10, 2001, chronicled David Reeher's long journey through undiagnosed mental illness and a near-fatal suicide attempt.

Eastburn also took second in Food and Beverage Writing and Reporting for "Southern Comfort," which took the reader back to the author's culinary roots of the country farm foods of southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee.

Listings Editor Kristen Sherwood picked up a second-place award in Arts and Entertainment Feature Reporting for "Gouda Vibes." The May 31, 2001 piece was a daybook account of Sherwood's experiences as she followed the String Cheese Incident, the Colorado band that's cultivated a cultlike following nationwide, on a tour through the Deep South.

Former Independent reporter Bob Campbell won third place in Science, Environmental, Agricultural and Medical reporting for "Road to Nowhere." The piece, published last Oct. 4, detailed the efforts of neighbors' successful efforts to fight off the development of a road through the Black Forest Regional Park, the "crown jewel" of the county's park system.

Finally, former Arts and Entertainment Editor Owen Perkins picked up a second-place award in sports reporting for several pieces that ran last year.

Links to the winning stories:

The Man Nobody Knows
Rising Republican star accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl
by Cara DeGette

Citizen Schuck
Developer Steve Schuck and his war on teachers unions, anti-sprawl elitists and the ugly side of politics.
by Cara DeGette

Police State
Judges' findings of cops' reckless and untrue statements raise questions of credibility
by Cara DeGette

To Hell and Back
David Reeher's long journey through undiagnosed mental illness
by Kathryn Eastburn

Southern Comfort
Country ham, fried corn and a trip back home
by Kathryn Eastburn

Gouda Vibes
On the road with Colorado's String Cheese Incident across the Deep South
by Kristen Sherwood

Road to Nowhere
The battle over the "crown jewel" of El Paso Countys park system intensifies
by Bob Campbell


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