Every once in a while ink-stained wretches get lucky, and someone decides they should be lauded for what they do. Journalism awards ensue. We are entering just such a season, and Isthmus has been fortunate enough to merit some attention through the fine work of its writers.
The Milwaukee Press Club recently announced the winners of its 2009 Excellence in Journalism Awards, and two of our writers have been recognized. Garnering second place in the Best Critical Review category is contributor Jennifer A. Smith for her feature-length treatment of writer Lorrie Moore, a Madison resident with a global reputation, upon the publication of her latest novel, A Gate at the Stairs. It's one of the many fine pieces of criticism that Smith penned for Isthmus last year and that she continues to produce for us.
The second honoree is Isthmus news editor Bill Lueders, who received second place in the Best Investigative Story or Series. Lueders investigated the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, the state agency where complaints against the insurance industry go to die. The story's title, Unable to Resolve Your Complaint, echoes the all-too-standard reply of the agency to frustrated citizens seeking relief from unfavorable insurance company decisions.
By far the most rewarding of rewards was Lueders' Genesis Award, given by the Humane Society of the United States. He was one of four "outstanding written word" recipients; the other were Oprah Magazine, Time and The Independent of Britain. Isthmus' recognition came for a series of articles, including My Monkey: The Sad Life of r04040, Lueders' look at the life of a UW Primate Center rhesus macaque monkey, one of many involved in experiments at the center. The award also took note of other animal-related stories Lueders has done.
For his penance, Lueders was jetted to L.A. for the weekend, warehoused at the Beverly Hilton, and forced to attend an awards dinner in the company of scores of entertainment luminaries. We are happy to report that he survived the ordeal and has returned.