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The write stuff


Judges have been busy the past few months bestowing awards on the Orlando Weekly and its website,

This month the Florida Press Association honored Orlando Weekly with 10 awards. First place honors went to Liz Langley, for humorous column writing; design director Jessica T. Haland and staff, recognized in the special issue category for the Orlando Music Awards program; and to online manager Jennifer Kijek and online editor Lindy T. Shepherd, for best website. The awards were judged in competition with weeklies of 12,000 or more circulation.

News editor Edward Ericson Jr. received two second-place awards. One, in the category of investigative reporting, recognized Commando Cops, an examination of the increasing use of force applied by local law enforcement SWAT teams; the other, for in-depth news reporting, honored Mica's Millions, a report on the federal government's giveaway of formerly public assets that seeded Congressman John Mica's personal fortune. Designer Haland also received two second-place awards, for individual graphic and overall graphic design of the newspaper. And Haland shared a second-place honor with promotions director Lauressa Nelson in the category of newspaper promotion.

Ericson also received a third place in the news story category for The Golden Eggs, his report naming the previously secret early backers of Gov. Jeb Bush's Foundation for Florida's Future. And a third-place award in the category of environmental/ conservation reporting went to freelance contributor Jim Motavalli for Driving Forward, a report on the future of electric vehicles.

Last month the national Association of Alternative Newsweeklies also presented awards. Orlando Weekly received two: second place for column writing to Langley, and honorable mention for website to;;

Earlier this spring the Green Eyeshade Awards, sponsored by the Atlanta chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, honored work submitted from media in 11 Southeastern states. Orlando Weekly scored three finalists: Ericson, honored in the category of non-deadline news for "Commando Cops" ; assistant arts editor Steve Schneider, in the criticism category, for selected film reviews; and editor Jeff Truesdell, also in the criticism category, for Country Fried, about the five-night stand at Orlando Arena by Garth Brooks.

In addition, the Sunshine State Awards, handed out by the South Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, recognized Orlando Weekly with four awards: First and third place in the website category to, which was honored for both its movie and music areas; second place, special section design, to Haland; and honorable mention, business non-deadline reporting, to contributor Billy Manes for O-Town Motown, a report on the empire of Backstreet Boys creator Louis Pearlman.

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