This post, as you will soon realize, clearly falls under the "tooting one's own horn" category, but I hope that's o.k...
Seven Days belongs to a professional group called the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN). Each year, member papers submit their best pieces to AAN, which doles out a variety of prizes for writing, art, webdesign, etc. in a variety of categories. The prizes are split up basedon newspaper size: We're in the smaller, "circulation under 55,000"group.
Back in January, I selected my favorite food stories from '07, and my editors winnowed the list down to three stories: Shuck & Awe, His Daily Bread and Newfound Ground Round. They submitted them to the competition. A few weeks ago, I learned that I was chosen as one of four finalists.
I was sure I wouldn't win. After all, I am kind of a new kid on the block. Plus, there were fun & snappy entries from the competition, all of whom are excellent writers (you can find links to their stories below) -- but I was really pleased to be chosen as a finalist.
I didn't attend the award ceremony, which was in Philadelphia as part of AAN's annual conference, but a few of my co-workers did. I was convinced I had no chance of winning, so I didn't really think twice about it. I was wandering around the Burlington Farmers' Market, oblivious to the fact that the awards lunch was in progress, when I got a text message telling me that I'd gotten 1st place!!!
If I had to guess why Seven Days won, I would relate it to the breadth of our food writing. A lot of newspapers have excellent critics, but fewer mix up their culinary coverage with features on agriculture, profiles of interesting folks in the industry and occasional silly stuff. I'm really lucky because my editors see that there is lots more to food than just eating.
For information on other Seven Days winners, see Blurt.
FOOD WRITING circulation under 55,000
First place -- Seven Days: His Daily Bread, Newfound Ground Round and Shuck and Awe by Suzanne Podhaizer
Second place -- Nashville Scene: The Sign of Paradise, Heckuva Job, Chappy and Get Your Goat by Carrington Fox
Third place -- Monterey County Weekly: Miles to Go Before I Eat (PDF) by Mark C. Anderson
Honorable mention -- North Bay Bohemian: First Bite: Sky Lounge, First Bite: Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar and Saint Elsewhere by Carey Sweet