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Every week we put all we can into another issue of Metro Times and hope that it engages, enlightens, enlivens and excites readers. It’s good to hear back from you about how we’re doing. It’s also good to hear from our peers in the business, and what we heard last week was especially sweet.

Judges from the Illinois Press Association examined more than 4,000 entries from 146 Michigan newspapers in the Michigan Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Those judges declared Metro Times the first-place winner in three categories for Class A weekly publications, citing three stories that we at the paper felt had been among our best efforts.

In local news reporting, the judges cited news editor Curt Guyette’s article “Six Degrees of Bernie Schrott,” published in our Aug. 16-22, 2000, issue, which uncovered a tangle of controversy swirling around a developer now at the hub of the current questionable land dealings around the Michigan State Fairgrounds. “Remarkable investigative report,” said the judges.

In enterprise feature reporting, it was Curt’s article "Shot in the dark,” published Dec. 6-12, 2000. The judges noted not only the “outstanding reporting” but that this was only one of several solid entries from Metro Times. This article by Curt chronicled allegations of a police cover-up in the wake of the fatal shooting of a Detroit man by police in front of his home.

And former editor Larry Gabriel was cited for the story of singer Shahida Nurullah and a tragedy that could have destroyed her career. "Shahida’s second set,” published Aug. 30–Sept. 5, 2000, was judged the best human interest feature in its class, and, as the judge wrote, an “inspirational story, nicely done.”

That’s not all the good news of late, either.

This year Wayne State University celebrates the 25th anniversary of its Arts Achievement Awards, which honor distinguished university alumni for artistic achievements and dedication to the arts. This year’s eight winners include David Small, recipient of a 2001 Caldecott Medal for children’s book illustrating; S. Epatha Merkerson, best known as Lt. Anita Van Buren on television’s “Law and Order”; and George Tysh, arts editor here at Metro Times. George was cited not only for his years as a poet and instructor of film studies, but also for his Metro Times work which has included major profiles of Detroit visual artists, not to mention critical pieces covering the gamut of the arts.

And while on our pride soapbox, we’ll tip our hat to frequent contributor Khary Kimani Turner. After a competition last month, Turner was chosen, along with Jessica Care Moore, to represent Detroit in Russell Simmons’ upcoming “Def Poetry Jam” for HBO, a versified answer to Simmons’ highly successful “Def Comedy Jam.” Meanwhile, Khary’s band, Black Bottom Collective, is finishing up its debut CD, Stay Low, Keep Movin’, for release in December.

I’d go on longer, but it is deadline day. There’s an issue to wrap up. I trust you’ll let us know what you think about it.

W. Kim Heron is Metro Times managing editor. Send comments to [email protected]

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