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Tucson Sentinel again named among top local news sites in U.S.

Local Independent Online News Publishers recognizes Sentinel's investigative journalism, breaking news reporting; Finalist for Publisher of the Year

More by Dylan Smith

TucsonSentinel.com is a finalist for three national journalism awards, the Local Independent Online News Publishers group announced Thursday, including LION Publisher of the Year — recognizing the Sentinel among the top local news websites in the United States.

Those awards are: LION Publisher of the Year, with the Sentinel vying with the Montana Free Press and San Jose Spotlight as the best small online news operation in the nation; Best Breaking News Coverage, with Bethesda Beat (Md.), ThisIsReno and the Wausau Pilot & Review (Wis.) also among the small news sites selected as finalists; and Investigative Report of the Year, with Bethesda Beat, Colorado Independent, and Highlands Current (N.Y.) also named as finalists in the small news organization division.

For the second year in a row, the Sentinel is among a small number of local news organizations across the country that were named as finalists in three or more categories by LION Publishers, including Publisher of the Year.

We were honored for the hard — and successful — work of the Sentinel reporting team, but we couldn't accomplish that deep digging into otherwise untold stories without the steadfast support of our sponsors and of course our donors: readers just like you. Thank you for helping TucsonSentinel.com become a recognized national leader in fixing the local news business! Even as legacy chain media publications continue to lay off journalists and shutter newspaper newsrooms, the Sentinel is entering our second decade by growing our staff and our readership.

You can make sure we continue to broaden our reporting by becoming a member of the WATCHDOG CLUB and donating to our nonprofit, mission-driven newsroom today.

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The second year of the LION Publishers Awards recognizes excellence in journalism, business and technology at local independent online news publishers around the country. An independent group of judges reviewed the award applicants in detail over the past month. The winners will be announced October 22 in a live virtual awards ceremony.

LION named nearly 70 publishers as finalists for its inaugural awards across 21 categories, with TucsonSentinel.com picked among the top three or four finalists in three of those categories. It's quite an honor to be listed among so many excellent local journalism organizations, doing vital reporting in their own communities. The Sentinel is ranked among such leaders of the renaissance of local news as Berkeleyside, Richland Source, The Batavian (NY), Nevada Independent, and VTDigger.

TucsonSentinel.com relies on contributions from our readers to support our reporting on Tucson's civic affairs. Donate to TucsonSentinel.com today!
If you're already supporting us, please encourage your friends, neighbors, colleagues and customers to help support quality local independent journalism.

We were among the grassroots local news sites that in 2011-12 helped start the national nonprofit Local Independent Online News Publishers — LION Publishers. I'm proud to be the founding chairman of that group, which now serves the heads of more than 250 local indie news sites like ours around the country.

Not only are we helping to tell the story of what's going on in Southern Arizona to the rest of the world, with reporters who know the territory — we're putting Tucson on the map as a place that's supporting innovation in local news.

Working on a tiny budget, we've attracted local respect and national attention for our solid work over the past decade.

The recognition from LION Publishers joins other journalism awards the Sentinel has received, including senior reporter Paul Ingram being named the Community Journalist of the Year by the Arizona Press Club last year. TucsonSentinel.com swept the Arizona Press Club awards for Breaking News in its division: Editor and Publisher Dylan Smith won first place and Ingram second place. Ingram also won a second-place award for Non-Metro News photojournalism, as judged by the Associated Press photo staff.

The LION Publishers Awards were judged by a group of independent journalism experts, including: Madeleine Bair, Heather Bryant, Sterling Cosper, Kat Duncan, Rick Edmonds, Patricia Gaston, Rodney Gibbs, Sommer Ingram Dean, Jiquanda Johnson, Damon Kiesow, Yvonne Leow, Frank LoMonte, Ben Monnie, Josh Moore, Meghan Murphy, Alexandra Nicolas, Gonzalo Peon, Aron Pilhofer, Rachel Rohr, Mary Sanchez, Linda Shaw, Mazin Sidahmed, Craig Silverman, Chrissy Towle, Ryan Tuck, Sisi Wei and Yumi Wilson.

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