Creative Loafing's Brian Ries, Wayne Garcia wins first places in Sunshine State Awards for journalism

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Judges for this year's Sunshine State Awards hailed from SPJ chapters in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Washington, as well as from Florida. Here's what they had to say about "Political Whore":

Comments: Don't let the title fool you: Aside from local and national politics, this blog takes on a long list of hot-button topics ranging from the economy to "Octomom." And with a quick-hit style that includes podcasts and embeded video, it's never boring.

And on Brian Ries' "Anywhere But Here":

Comments: Addresses what may be the most critical socio-economic and health-care issue of our time. The piece leaves open the promise of further reporting - and editorializing- about the need for better nutrition among all Americans, mainly the poor.

Crossposted from Political Whore blog

Because Creative Loafing Political Editor Wayne Garcia would be far too modest to tell you himself, I'm reporting that "The Political Whore" won first place in the category of Blog-Affiliated last night in the Sunshine State Awards, the Florida-wide prizes given out by the Society of Professional Journalists/ South Florida. New Times Broward Palm Beach's "The Juice" and the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel's "Broward Politics" came in second and third, respectively.

And Wayne wasn't alone in bringing back first-place honors for the Loaf. Food Editor Brian Ries won the top spot in Food/Beverage Writing for "Anywhere But Here," his story on the lack of healthy food options for Florida families on public assistance. The Miami Herald and MIAMI Modern Luxury took second and third places.

Brian also took a third place in Criticism for his review of MJ's tapas menu when it was under the direction of Domenica Macchia. And CL's theater critic, Mark E. Leib, took second place in the same category for his review of the innovative American Stage production of Hamlet. The Naples Daily News' Harriet Howard Heithaus took the first-place spot.

Finally, the entire staff of Creative Loafing won kudos for our website,, placing third in the News Web Site category. I like the judges' citation: This is not your typical news site. represents a new way of presenting news and information to its reader/user. Through a simple design, Creative Loafing offers a wide collection of headlines from just as many distinct sources. (Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers and the Orlando Sentinel took first and second in this category, respectively.)

More judges' comments follow after the break.

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