Press Club of Dallas Honors Aynesworth Award Winners Dec. 1

hugh aynesworth awards for texas
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Press Club of Dallas honored 17 winners and 10 finalists at the 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Awards for Texas Journalism.

The dinner and award presentations were held at the Irving Convention Center Dec. 1. They were hosted by longtime WFAA TV investigative reporter Byron Harris. Named for veteran reporter and Press Club member Hugh Aynesworth–a four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist–the Aynesworth Awards honored Texas journalists’ work completed in 2017.

The journalists and their news organizations represented Texas reporting in the following categories: daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and digital news sites. There was also a public service award that was open to all media organizations.

“Tonight, we celebrate the best in Texas journalism,” Press Club President Paul Wahlstrom told the audience. “These are the most creative, hard-fought examples of what a true story can be.”

Wahlstrom said the contest’s judges were given free rein in determining finalists. “The judges were asked to pick only award-worthy entries — no minimums, no quotas. All the finalists are award-winners.”

Wahlstrom described the judges as “well-known journalists from the East Coast with no involvement in Texas journalism, so their deliberations were based on what they read and saw, not who they knew.”

Hugh Aynesworth

Before the awards were announced, Aynesworth, who witnessed the assassination of John F. Kennedy Nov. 22, 1963, and all the subsequent events, answered questions from the audience. He was asked to recall his most vivid memory on that fateful afternoon. “I remember a man pointing up at a window in the Texas Schoolbook Depository,” Aynesworth said. “‘I saw him! I saw him with the gun,’ the man said to me. Later on, it was his description that the police used to capture Lee Harvey Oswald at the Texas Theater. I’ll never forget the look on that man’s face.”

2018 Hugh Aynesworth Awards For Texas Journalism Winners & Finalists

Daily Newspapers:
Feature Reporting –
Frank L. Christlieb, Dallas Morning News
“What Kind of Father,” June 15, 2017
Finalist — Naomi Martin, Dallas Morning News,
“Speaking up for Kara” March 23, 2017

Investigative Reporting –
Cary Aspinwall, The Dallas Morning News
“What Happened to Tony Timpa?” Sep. 20, 2017

Sports Feature Reporting –
Michael Florek, The Dallas Morning News
“The Faith He Carries,” Sept. 27, 2017

Weekly Newspapers:
Feature Reporting –
Monte Walker, Howe Enterprise
“Two Howe Ladies Blessed to Survive Las Vegas Weekend,” Oct. 9, 2017

Awards For Broadcast Journalists

Investigative Reporting –
Charlotte Huffman and Mark Smith, WFAA
“Criminal Caretakers,” Nov. 16, 2017
Finalist –
“Pricey Perks”
Lori Brown, Vicki Chen, KDFW Channel 4, April 10, 2017

TV Feature Reporting –
Brian Curtis, KXAS
“Love and Loss: Kenny Goss Remembers George Michael,” Feb. 27, 2017
Finalist —
A Hero’s Past: Lost and Found
Courtney Friedman, KSAT TV 12, May 29, 2017

TV Spot News Reporting –
Patty Santos, KSAT TV 12
“Singing and praise. Then gunfire.” Nov. 6, 2017

Investigative Reporting –
Courtney Collins and Jessica Diaz-Hurtado, KERA
“One Crisis Away/No Place to Go”

Radio Feature Reporting –
Bill Zeeble and Stella M. Chavez, KERA
“The Changing Face of Schools,” March 8, 2017
Finalist –
“The Effort to Bring Back Vinyl Records”
Hady Mawajdeh, Art and Seek, KERA, Feb. 16, 2017
Finalist —
“Building Houston’s Super School”
Reporter, Laura Isensee, Houston Public Media, Nov. 8, 2017

Radio Spot News Reporting –
David Brown, The Texas Standard
“Vignettes From A Disaster: Galveston After Harvey,” Aug. 31, 2017
Finalist –
Reporter, Rachel Osier Lindley,
“In A Houston Emergency Room, It Was A Week Like No Other”
KERA, Sept. 2, 2017

Radio Criticism –
Jerome Weeks, KERA
“Art & Seek,” Aug. 16, Sep. 14 and Oct. 25, 2017

Awards For Magazine Journalists

Investigative Reporting –
Christopher Collins, The Texas Observer
“Death From Above,” April 17, 2017

Magazine Feature Reporting –
Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly
“The Day the Fire Came,” July 2017

Magazine Feature Reporting Finalist
“The Leadership of Wilshire Baptist Church”
Reporter, Keri Mitchell, The Advocate, Nov. 28, 2017

Digital News:
Investigative Reporting –
Shelby Allison-Hibbs, Katy Lemieux, Mark Lowry, Theater Jones
“Lee Trull Accused of Misconduct,” Dec. 5, 2017

Digital News Editorial Opinion –
Bethany Erickson, Candy’s Dirt
“And Now, the Hard Part of Righting Dallas’ Racial Wrongs Actually Begins,” Dec. 5, 2017

Digital News Criticism –
Mark Lowry, Theater Jones
“Outside the Lines – Water Tower Theater Hit the Wall,” Aug. 8, 2017

Public Service Journalism Awards

Dallas Morning News
Cary Aspinwall,“Women in Jail,” June 27 and Dec. 3, 2017

Public Service Finalist
Candy’s Dirt
“Dallas ISD’s Needs Won’t Disappear But You Can Help”
Bethany Erickson, columnist, Aug. 23, 2017

Public Service Finalist
Dallas Examiner
“Monday Night Politics”
Mollie Belt, Publisher and Editor, March 16, March 30, 2017 (and throughout the calendar year)

Aynesworth Award presenters included Rena Pederson, Bobbie Wygant, Jo Ann Holt, and Barry Hoffman, along with Harris and Wahlstrom. The featured photo shows presenters with award winners and finalists.

The Press Club of Dallas, formed in 1948, is an organization of journalists and professional communicators in North Texas, committed to promoting the discipline of journalism, communication, literacy, current affairs, and First Amendment freedoms. Journalists, communications professionals, and students are eligible to join the organization.