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Sun, Oct. 20

News Awards: Courier’s Max Efrein named daily Journalist of the Year
Daily Courier and Prescott News Network receive awards for news reporting

Max Efrein
Photo by The Daily Courier.

Max Efrein

Five years ago, Max Efrein graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson with a dual degree in Broadcast Journalism and History, but he wasn’t sure what his future had in store.

“I did a lot of TV in college,” Efrein said this past week about his time serving as news director, anchor and reporter for the campus news station UATV, whose signal was piped into the dorms.

But if Efrein were to pursue a career in broadcasting, he’d have to leave Arizona. Breaking himself in at a small-market station, most likely somewhere in the middle of America, wasn’t for him. So, he moved back home to Prescott and worked as a waiter at Talking Rock Golf Club in Williamson Valley while he pondered his next move.

He didn’t wait long, though. In February 2015, Efrein accepted a job as a reporter for The Daily Courier newspaper.

Efrein started out as a business reporter, from 2015-18, before getting the go-ahead to switch his beat to cops, courts and fire – and he’s glad he did.

On Sept. 20, Western News&Info, Inc. named Efrein, 27, its 2019 Journalist of the Year for its daily newspapers. Efrein’s diligent effort and hard work in writing and reporting about the Fentanyl drug crisis from myriad angles didn’t go unnoticed.

“One of the things I appreciate about this [beat] is there is always something to report on; it’s always relevant,” he said.

Initially, Efrein thought he’d write for a couple of years at the Courier and move on. Nearly five years later, he said he’s “grateful for what I’ve been able to do in the local community.”

“I was in a generation that didn’t pick up the paper,” he said. “I feel like I’ve gotten a lot out of this experience.”

Efrein added that covering the Courier’s #StopFentanylNow series, which began in November 2018, has helped him “establish the foundation of what the issue is and what the community needs to know.”

What follows is a breakdown for the Courier’s award winners from the WNI Editorial Contest and the 2019 Arizona Newspapers Association (ANA) Contest:

WNI CONTEST AWARDS

Best Video

1st, Cindy Barks – The Daily Courier

2nd, Les Stukenberg – The Daily Courier

Headline Writing

3rd, Tim Wiederaenders – The Daily Courier

Feature Photography

1st, Max Efrein – The Daily Courier

2nd, Sue Tone – The Daily Courier

Sports Photography

1st, Les Stukenberg – The Daily Courier

News Photography

1st, Les Stukenberg – The Daily Courier

2nd, Cindy Barks – The Daily Courier

Page Design

1st, Brian Bergner Jr. – The Daily Courier

3rd, Tim Wiederaenders – The Daily Courier

Column & Opinion Writing

1st, Tim Wiederaenders – The Daily Courier

3rd, Brian Bergner Jr. – The Daily Courier

Sports Writing

1st, Doug Cook – The Daily Courier

3rd, Brian Bergner Jr. – The Daily Courier

Best Lede Writing

2nd, Brian Bergner Jr. – The Daily Courier

3rd, Cindy Barks – The Daily Courier

Creativity in Reporting

1st, Nanci Hutson – The Daily Courier

3rd, Brian Bergner Jr. – The Daily Courier

Feature/Specialty Writing

1st, Max Efrein – The Daily Courier

2nd, Cindy Barks – The Daily Courier

Excellence in Writing

1st, Cindy Barks – The Daily Courier

3rd, Nanci Hutson – The Daily Courier

ARIZONA NEWSPAPERS ASSOCIATION AWARDS

DAILIES - (Division 4: Daily circulation under 25,000)

REPORTING & NEWSWRITING EXCELLENCE

1st, The Daily Courier (Publisher: Joe Soldwedel, Co-Publisher: Kit Atwell)

DEPARTMENTAL NEWS & COPYWRITING EXCELLENCE

3rd, The Daily Courier (Publisher: Joe Soldwedel, Co-Publisher: Kit Atwell)

PAGE DESIGN EXCELLENCE

3rd, The Daily Courier (Publisher: Joe Soldwedel, Co-Publisher: Kit Atwell)

BEST USE OF PHOTOGRAPHY

3rd, The Daily Courier (Publisher: Joe Soldwedel, Co-Publisher: Kit Atwell)

COMMUNITY SERVICE/JOURNALISTIC ACHIEVEMENT

(All Dailies in Arizona)

2nd, The Daily Courier (Publisher: Joe Soldwedel, Co-Publisher: Kit Atwell)

NEWSPAPER SUPPLEMENT OR MAGAZINE

(All Dailies in Arizona)

3rd, The Daily Courier (Publisher: Joe Soldwedel, Co-Publisher: Kit Atwell)

NEWSPAPER WEBSITE

3rd, The Daily Courier (Publisher: Joe Soldwedel, Co-Publisher: Kit Atwell)

BEST SUSTAINED COVERAGE OR SERIES

1st, Nanci Hutson, Homelessness in the Prescott area, The Daily Courier

2nd, Max Efrein, The #StopFentanylNow series, The Daily Courier

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING

1st, Cindy Barks, Waterline breaks plague Cliff Rose neighborhood, The Daily Courier

BEST SPORTS STORY

1st, Brian Bergner Jr., Good deeds lead to special touchdown, The Daily Courier

3rd, Doug Cook, Fight of His Life: Mayer principal, AD, coach Jeff Duncan facing Stage IV cancer head-on, The Daily Courier

BEST TEAM, SPORT OR SPORTS BEAT COVERAGE

1st, Brian Bergner Jr., Badgers Football, The Daily Courier

3rd, Doug Cook, Whiskey Off-Road coverage and previews, The Daily Courier

BEST COLUMN, ANALYSIS OR COMMENTARY

1st, Brian Bergner Jr., Raising Prescott column: A ‘zero tolerance’ policy worth avoiding as a father, The Daily Courier

3rd, Tim Wiederaenders, Good Friday is much more somber for me, The Daily Courier

BEST COLUMN, FEATURE OR CRITICISM

2nd, Tim Wiederaenders, This has to stop, Mr. President, The Daily Courier

3rd, Brian Bergner Jr., Raising Prescott: Neighborhood speedway cause for concern in PV, The Daily Courier

BEST NEWS PHOTOGRAPH

2nd, Les Stukenberg, Airplane down, The Daily Courier

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