Austin360 wins four national awards for arts and entertainment journalism
The American-Statesman's Austin360 team earned several major honors on Tuesday from the Society for Features Journalism, which announced the 2022 winners of its Excellence-In-Features Awards.
Austin360 took first prize in the best features digital presence category, which honors online arts and entertainment coverage. The team, led by executive features editor Sharon Chapman, also won top prize in that category for the past three years.
“If you don’t know anything about Austin, Austin360 is the place to start," the judge's comments read. "It gives the insider’s perspective without being pretentious ... We love how it has used Instagram videos to really showcase the staff’s fun personalities and to grow followers."
The Statesman also won first place in the best section category for the daily Austin360 section, which awards excellence in print journalism. That honor continues a strong track record for the paper, which placed second in the category last year and first for several years in a row before that.
“From music profiles to the ‘Deep Fried I-35’ to a quirky feature on the plywood ‘Couch Potatoes’ outside a North Austin furniture store, the Statesman’s Austin 360 is a brash, lively and fun read with great variety,” the judge's comments read.
Two Statesman staffer won individual honors, too. Austin360 editor Eric Webb took second place for arts and entertainment commentary portfolio. That category looks at three different essays, reviews or columns written by the same person.
“Eric Webb makes us feel as if we were actually in attendance at these concerts," the judge wrote in their comments about reviews written by Webb. "He has a love of live music and it shines through his writing.”
Webb won first place in that category last year.
Austin360 dining writer Matthew Odam won second place in the best special section category, for his 2021 edition of the annual Austin360 Dining Guide.
"A true dining guide with plenty of background on the culinarians who make Austin Austin. Matthew Odam has mastered his beat and uses original, thoughtful language to describe their work," the judge wrote in their comments.
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Odam has won several awards for his dining criticism from the Society for Features Journalism in the past.
The Statesman also took fourth place in the Finest In Features Sweepstakes, which recognizes the publications with the most awards won overall.
The Society for Features Journalism, founded in 1947, is an industry group made up of features journalists from around the country. According to its mission statement, the society is dedicated to "promoting the craft of writing and innovation in lifestyle, arts and entertainment journalism."