Las Vegas Review-Journal reporters receive journalism award honors

Two members of the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s investigative team were among the big winners honored Saturday at the Battle Born Journalism Awards, a statewide news competition hosted by the Las Vegas chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The second annual contest was judged by SPJ members in Cincinnati.

“This is a tough competition that rewards great work in areas of coverage of immense importance to the community,” said Review-Journal Editor-in-Chief Glenn Cook. “RJ’s winning work had a strong focus on accountability and ensuring the public was aware of the wrongs that needed to be righted.”

Investigative journalist Briana Erickson won first place in the Human Rights Reporting category for her narrative piece on the survivors of the 2019 Alpine Motel fire that killed six residents and left dozens homeless in downtown Las Vegas.

“A terrific tale that focuses on those left behind by a deadly fire,” wrote one of the judges. “The writing is so crisp, clear and personal you can almost smell the smoke and see the flames of the fire.”

The Review-Journal swept this category, with journalist Katelyn Newberg taking second place and journalist Colton Lochhead taking third place.

Investigative journalist Arthur Kane placed first in the Reporting Using Public Records category for his investigation into Henderson police officers who were kept on strength despite a history of misconduct.

“This is a comprehensive and shocking look at how Nevada’s second largest police department failed to maintain proper discipline,” a judge wrote.

Health care journalist Mary Hynes has been recognized for her coverage of COVID-19 pandemic, ranking first in the Topical Storytelling category. The nominated package included her story about a baby who was born while her mother was on a ventilator.

“From the start of vaccination (and how people couldn’t get appointments or get around the rules) to the death of a mother whose baby was born by caesarean section, to the troubles of long COVID, this story set provides comprehensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic,” one judge wrote. “The stories are captivating.”

In a web presentation category, the newspaper also won first place for its online preview of the latest megastation will open on the Las Vegas Strip: Resorts World.

The award went to Tony Morales, Jaroon Chookul, Severiano Del Castillo Galvan, Wes Rand and Rick Velotta of the RJ.

“This story feels like it was created with a true digital mindset and while there’s a lot of information here, it doesn’t feel overwhelming or confusing,” a judge wrote. “Fantastic job.”

Morales also took third place in the same category.

Newberg, Erickson and former staff writer Rio Lacanlale won second place in Spot News Reporting for the newspaper’s coverage of the 2021 crash involving Henry Ruggs, the former Raiders player charged with crimes in the death of motorist Tina Tintor and her dog.

Bill Dentzer, the newspaper’s former Capital Bureau reporter, is tied for second for Environmental Justice Reporting. He and Lochhead also took third place for their work in the 2021 legislative session.

UNLV student and current Review-Journal sports intern Alex Wright took first place in the student journalism category.

“One of the hallmarks of good writing is the reader’s ability to finish a story without stopping and gain a deep understanding of the subject. That’s what happens with the work of Alex Wright,” said writes a judge, “He finds ways to connect his subjects with readers using strong character development.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.

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