The Independent Weekly earns 19 awards in National Newspaper Association competition

Founded in 1885, The National Newspaper Association is the largest newspaper association in the United States, with 2,500 newspapers. Each year, its Better Newspaper Contest honors the best journalism from its members through a nationwide competition, and the 2006 contest attracted a record number of entries, with 3,126 entries submitted from newspapers across the country.

And we're pleased and honored to report that The Independent Weekly won a number of prestigious awards.

â?¢ Managing Editor R. Reese Fuller and Contributing Writer Mary Tutwiler both earned honorable mentions in the Best Feature Story or Series category. Fuller was recognized for his piece on the closing of Hamilton's Club, while Tutwiler garnered praise for her story on her father's death after his evacuation from Hurricane Katrina.

â?¢ Contributing Photographer Robin May won honorable mention for Best Photo Essay for her photographs of New Orleans evacuees stranded on Causeway Boulevard.

â?¢ Staff Writer Nathan Stubbs earned an honorable mention in the Best Education/Literacy Story for his cover story on the challenges facing N.P. Moss Middle School.

â?¢ Senior Editor Leslie Turk won third place for Best Investigative or In-depth Story or Series for her continuing writing and reporting on the UL Lafayette horse farm land-swap deal.

â?¢ In the Community Service Award category, our annual Lecture Series ' which presents distinguished speakers from the educational, business, environmental communities and more ' earned second place honors.

We also won a number of first-place honors, in diverse categories:

â?¢ Contributing writer and Independent Weekly film critic Shala Carlson earned two first place awards: her profile of Abdalla's closing won Best Business Story, and her review of Good Night, and Good Luck won for Best Review.

â?¢ Stubbs took first place honors for Best Environmental Story, for his cover story on the battle for south Louisiana's cypress forests.

â?¢ Contributor Lili LeGardeur's cover story on CAFTA and the state of the Louisiana sugarcane industry won first place for Best Agricultural Story.

â?¢ And in recognition of the work of the entire Independent Weekly editorial and production staff, our Sept. 7 issue covering the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina won first place for Best Special Issue/Section Dedicated to Editorial.

Kudos also to The Independent's advertising and production staff, which took home seven awards, three of which were first place honors, for advertising design and sales promotions.

The NNA awards continue a banner year for our newspaper. In May, we won top honors in 21 categories and earned a total of 50 awards from the Louisiana Press Association. In June, we were admitted for membership in the national Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

And most importantly, we've been working behind the scenes the past few months on some major new editorial projects. You'll be able to read the first fruits of our efforts in the coming weeks, and we think you'll like what you see. Stay tuned.

Scott Jordan won first place in the NNA's editorial category for "We Need Faith ' and Answers," his first post-Katrina editorial.