You may have heard by now, since we’ve been shouting it from windows and on social media since Saturday, but our Dig team fared extremely well at this year’s AAN Awards, the annual contest held by our trade organization, the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. AAN is made up of more than 100 local alt papers like DigBoston in cities all over the country, as well as some national outlets, including Raw Story.
Though the Dig had not submitted to the contest in several years, we saw our reinvigorated outlook under new ownership as a call to throw our hat back in the ring. Not to mention our writers, illustrators, editors, photographers, and various other collaborators have worked extremely hard these past few years and deserve more recognition than they are typically given. On that note, it’s time to celebrate those who grabbed new awards to hang in our newsroom beside others from years past.
First of all, we are thrilled to tell our readers that Kuresse Bolds, our wonder intern who first walked into our newsroom last fall, took first place in the Illustration category (circulation 40,000 & over) for two covers in particular: “Smokers” and “Drinkers” [both pictured]. We knew that Bolds was a star from early on, and quickly signed him up to do multiple covers as well as features; still, it’s a spectacular first for us to have an intern strike gold. We have no doubt that it won’t be the last honor bestowed on him.
Next up, Dig executive editor and associate publisher Jason Pramas’ column Apparent Horizon won first place in the Political Column category (circulation 40,000 & over). In a classic alt media approach, Pramas drills deep into complex political and economic issues that are either ignored altogether or covered with kid gloves by mainstream reporters. His submissions “General Electric Fail,” “The Vertex Shell Game,” and “Stop the Amazon Boston Deal” took particular note of huge giveaways—and proposals for more huge giveaways—by local and state government to major multinational corporations. A subject that tends to receive more blind praise from the Bay State press corps than the critical coverage it warrants.
Finally, props to writer Haley Hamilton, whose column, Terms of Service, covers nightlife and restaurants from the perspective of a service worker. Building on her own experience tending bar in Boston and on the relationships she’s made in her time mixing cocktails, Hamilton has produced work that’s both powerful and popular, qualities exemplified by our submissions on her behalf. Hamilton won second place in the Food Writing category (circulation 40,000 & over) for three stories: “Drunk Brunch Love,” in which she navigated a beloved industry tradition from an insider’s angle; “A Reckoning for Restaurants in Boston and Everywhere,” which took a harsh look at harassment, and “Ice Cold Democracy,” her intimate take on the worker-owned Democracy Brewing, which recently opened its doors in Downtown Crossing. Her column, like Pramas’, is a collaboration with the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.
Congrats to everyone involved, including all our readers who helped share these stories widely. We encourage anyone who missed some of this great work to go back and explore—not just the aforementioned features and columns, but also all our other unique coverage on topics ranging from ICE and immigration, to the encroaching police state, to bikes, baseball, film, arts, and music. We’re already burning it up again this year too, and we’ll be back for more AAN trophies next summer.