2022 Battle Born Journalism Awards

For more than 50 years, Society of Professional Journalists, Las Vegas has represented Southern Nevada’s journalists.

Our nonprofit organization forges connections and comradery between journalism organizations, with a focus on expanding our members’ knowledge. In 2021, we expanded our mission by recognizing outstanding reporters and newsrooms across the entire state in the inaugural Battle Born Journalism Awards. 

We’re proud to continue that tradition with the second annual Battle Born Journalism Awards. We would like to thank LVRJ.com for sponsoring this year’s awards mixer.

LVRJ.com is Nevada’s largest news organization with more than 330 employees and a Sunday digital and print circulation of 95,000. 

The newsroom was the Mark of Excellence Sponsor for the 2019 SPJ Region 11 Conference in Las Vegas. We appreciate their continued support of Nevada’s journalists and our organization.

logo for LVRJ.com

WINNERS – 2022 BATTLE BORN JOURNALISM AWARDS

Education Reporting

This award recognizes a reporter’s coverage of education and school issues in Nevada. 

Winner: Jackie Valley, The Nevada Independent 

Link(s): 

Judge’s comments: “Jackie Valley’s work for The Nevada Independent gives complex issue coverage the sort of human touch that leaves stories lingering in the mind of the reader long after the last graph. Excellent coverage on anti-racism policies in local classrooms with a national perspective and the long-term impacts of COVID closures on learning.”

2nd place:  Hillary Davis, Las Vegas Sun

3rd place: Tiffany Lane, KSNV – News 3

Environmental Justice Reporting

This award recognizes a story or series of stories from a reporter(s) covering environmental issues and how they shape and affect communities. 

Winner: Daniel Rothberg, The Nevada Independent

Link(s): 

Judge’s comments: “‘Most environmental issues are a question of values,’ an environmentalist is quoted as stating in this piece. This perfectly sums up the mission of this story to present a fair, comprehensive article to allow the reader to comprehend the complexities of this issue. Excellent job.”

2nd place (tie): Amy Alonzo, Reno Gazette Journal

2nd place (tie): Bill Dentzer, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Human Rights Reporting

This award recognizes an individual reporter’s coverage of underserved and marginalized communities. 

Winner: Briana Erickson, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Link(s): 

Judge’s comments: “Terrific narrative that focuses on the forgotten people of a deadly fire. The writing is so crisp, clear and personal that you can almost smell the smoke and see the flames of the blaze. The lack of consistent assistance and a legal system that is toying with the lives of these vulnerable helps to make this piece stand out from the pack. Hopefully, folos have been done to see that some sort of justice is done. Outstanding work!”

2nd place: Katelyn Newberg, Las Vegas Review-Journal

3rd place: Colton Lochhead, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Legislative Reporting

This award recognizes an organization’s coverage of topics proposed, discussed and/or enacted upon during the 2021 Nevada Legislature.

Winner: James DeHaven, Ed Komenda and Jason Hidalgo, Reno Gazette Journal

Link(s): 

Judge’s comments: “Superb in-depth coverage of the Innovation Zone legislation, which would allow a 35,000-population, privately owned “smart city,” with its own energy and transportation grid — practically operating off the grid from a state-governance standpoint. The series provided good explanation of the proposal and a look at several of the power players behind the proposal, and it took a deep dive into the background of the key developer, Jeffrey Berns. Great journalistic due diligence on a proposal with widespread significance for Nevada and possibly for other states as well.”

2nd place: April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current

3rd place: Colton Lochhead and Bill Dentzer, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Narrative Nonfiction

This award recognizes an article that goes beyond typical news reporting on an issue, event or a topic and uses the pillars of narrative storytelling to give a character-driven article that both informs and intrigues the reader. 

Winner: Tabitha Mueller, The Nevada Independent

Link(s): 

Judge’s comments: “Effective and creative storytelling. Great use of detail. I love your out-of-the-box thinking in telling this story. Outstanding work!”

2nd place: Krista Diamond, Desert Companion

3rd place: Jazmin Orozco Rodriguez, The Nevada Independent

Reporting Using Public Records

This award recognizes a reporter(s) for reporting important stories that would only have happened with public records. 

Winner: Arthur Kane, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Link(s): 

Judge’s comments: “This is a comprehensive and shocking look at how Nevada’s second-large police department failed to maintain proper discipline. Just one result: A cop arrested for punching his girlfriend and who allowed other cops to voice traffic tickets for ‘friend’” of the department retired with a $117,000 pension despite 30 allegations of misconduct. Citizens of Henderson should have been appalled by these revelations and then demanded better.”

2nd place: Daniel Rothberg, The Nevada Independent

3rd place: Bob Conrad, This Is Reno

Spot News Reporting

This award recognizes an organization’s coverage of unfolding events in Nevada. 

Winner: Megan Messerly, The Nevada Independent

Link(s): 

Judge’s comments: “The impact Harry Reid had on the people of Nevada and the U.S. Senate cannot be understated. This was an important story and the writer did an extremely thorough story covering a wide range of areas within Reid’s life. Yes, much of it was likely prepared ahead of time, but it still had to be vetted for accuracy the day he died. Easy-to-read. Interesting. An historical narrative. Well done!”

2nd place: Katelyn Newberg, Rio Lacanlale and Briana Erickson, Las Vegas Review-Journal

3rd place: Michelle Rindels and Riley Snyder, The Nevada Independent

2021 Topical Storytelling, COVID-19

This award recognizes a single reporter’s coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Winner: Mary Hynes, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Link(s): 

Judge’s comments: “From the start of vaccination (and how people couldn’t get an appointment or got around the rules) to the death of a mother whose baby was born through cesarean delivery, to the troubles of long COVID, this package of stories provides comprehensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The stories are compelling. I can see the 71-year-old man raising his hands and hear him shouting, ‘Yay!’ (Jan. 19, 2021 story / Appointment, ID not always required at vaccination site). And that’s just one individual of several story ‘characters’ whose personalities and reactions shine in the reporting of these stories. The stories read fast but are thorough. There’s plenty of data that reads as a natural part of an engaging flow in each.”

2nd place: Siobhan McAndrew, Reno Gazette Journal

3rd place: Megan Messerly, The Nevada Independent

Web Presentation

This award recognizes an organization for outstanding presentation of a single news story or series online.

Winner: Tony Morales, Jaroon Chookul, Sev Galvan, Wes Rand and Rick Velotta, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Link(s): 

Judge’s comments: “This is a beautiful and engaging presentation that effectively conveys the size and scope of the new resort. The combination of images, stats, video and digital extras, like scrolling text boxes, are thoughtfully assembled. On mobile web, the page loads quickly and all features perform perfectly. This story feels as if it was created with a true digital-first mindset and while there’s a lot of information here, it doesn’t feel overwhelming or confusing. Fantastic work.”

2nd place: Sean Golonka and Joey Lovato, The Nevada Independent

3rd place: Tony Morales, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Student Journalism

This award recognizes a single student journalist’s outstanding work. 

Winner: Alex Wright, UNLV Scarlet & Gray Free Press

Link(s): 

Judge’s comments: “One of the signs of good writing is the ability of the reader to finish a story without stopping and gain a thorough understanding of the topic. That’s what happens with the work of Alex Wright. He finds ways to connect his topics with readers by using strong character development. He understands that the most important tool in a journalist’s toolbox is the ability to tell the readers the impact the topic will have on their lives. Well done!”

2nd place: Nick Stewart, KUNR

3rd place: Kelsey Middleton, The Nevada Sagebrush

SPJ Las Vegas Scholarship 2021-2022

The SPJ Las Vegas Journalism Scholarship honors one excellent Southern Nevada college journalist pursuing a career in the field. 

Winner: Jana MarquezUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas

Abbreviated remarks from the winner:

“This scholarship will enrich my college experience and all of the various hats I wear to be an engaged and passionate community member. I cannot express the gratitude to my scholarship donors enough – thank you for supporting the minds and efforts of student journalists like myself.”

SEE THE LIST OF PAST WINNERS HERE!