May 10, 2005—The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies today announced the finalists for the 2005 Alternative Newsweekly Awards. This year, the Jackson Free Press is finalist in three categories, with three different writers being honored. Contributing editor Ayana Taylor is nominated for News Story—Short Forum; food writer Jesse Yancy is nominated for food writing; and editor Donna Ladd is nominated for feature writing.
The order of the awards will be announced in June at AAN's national convention in San Diego. Last year, Donna Ladd won two writing awards—third place for her columns and second place for music criticism. Click "more" for links to the specific JFP stories being honored by AAN this year.
Food Writing — Jesse Yancy
"Walking the Floor Over Stock"
"Artichoke Virgins and Other Annoyances"
"Of Fish and Fists"
News Story—Short Form — Ayana Taylor
"Not About Intimidation"
"Words v. Deeds"
"X Marks the Boycott"
Feature Story — Donna Ladd
"Alleged Victims: Jackson Family Wants Closure From the Church"
In addition, Jen Sorenson is nominated for her cartoon, "Slowpoke," which the JFP began running several weeks ago. Jen is a resident of Virginia.
The Jackson Free Press competes with entries from all AAN newspapers in the U.S. and Canada with circulation under 50,000. Only five papers in the under-50,000 category are nominated for more awards than the JFP this year: Folio Weekly of Jacksonville, Fla., Independent Weekly of Durham, N.C., and The Texas Observer with six each; Orlando Weekly with five finalists; and City Newspaper of Rochester, N.Y., four.
Food writer Jesse Yancy, a native of Bruce, Miss., is a long-time writer and editor in the Jackson area and a graduate of Ole Miss. He works for Millsaps College in the public-relations department, and is a chef and freelance writer in his spare time. He regularly contributes his amusing food columns to the Jackson Free Press, and has the distinction of being the JFP writer most syndicated to other AAN newspapers so far, including the Memphis Flyer and the Weekly Alibi in Albuquerque, N.M.
Contributing editor Ayana Taylor, a native of Yazoo City, has been working with the JFP since she was a junior at Tougaloo College where she studied journalism. She started at the JFP as an intern, developing our first politics blog in 2003. Subsequently, she received an AAN diversity grant in 2004 to cover the Mississippi Legislature and then was selected to attend the Academy for Alternative Journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, all expenses paid, during summer 2004 to train in the craft of alternative news and feature writing. She graduated from Tougaloo in 2004, and has written many stories for the JFP with most focusing on local and state politics.
Donna Ladd is the editor and co-founder of the Jackson Free Press. The native of Neshoba County studied political science at Mississippi State University and later got her master's with a social justice focus at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York City. She has been published in many alternative newspapers, and helped start the Colorado Springs Independent. She wrote about politics and technology for the Village Voice in New York for two years. She returned to Mississippi in 2001 and helped start the JFP in September 2002.
Wow. Congratulations, folks--I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!
- Tom Head
That's awesome. All 3 of you deserve that, and more.
Thanks, guys. All of us are just thrilled, as you can imagine. These are our version of the Oscars.
And we're kinda relieved none of us are competing in that investigative category with that Pulitzer Prize winner from Willamette Week. ;-D
LOL! Good luck with the awards!
- sny guy
Congratulations, Donna. Didn't know before now that you wrote some for the Village Voice. I read some of their articles on a weekly basis. They're my kind of writers - daring, bold, crazy, insightful, talented, and with no limits that I can see. We couldn't handle them down here.
- Ray Carter