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Times wins nine firsts, 21 overall in Sunshine State Awards contest

The Tampa Bay Times won nine first-place honors and 21 overall in the annual Sunshine State Awards competition.

The statewide contest is sponsored by the South Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

In the Special Categories division, Michael Van Sickler and Craig Pittman won first place in the Integrity Florida Award for Public Corruption Reporting for coverage of King Ranch, a collection of stories on how Florida's top politicos accepted free hunting trips.

Will Hobson won third place in the Gene Miller Award for Investigative Reporting for coverage of New Beginnings of Tampa, one of the city's largest homeless charities.

This year's first-place winners in the Newspapers and Online divisions are:

• Adam C. Smith and Michael Kruse in the category of Profile Reporting for "Knowing Charlie Crist."

• Alexandra Zayas, Connie Humburg, Kris Hundley and Letitia Stein in the Package-Online category for "Insult to Injury," about excessive billing at trauma centers.

Times staff in Breaking News Reporting for coverage of the Florida State University shooting.

• Tim Nickens in Editorial Writing for "The Tin Man."

• John Romano in Commentary &Criticism-General for a collection of columns.

• Laura Reiley in Beat Reporting on Food/Travel for coverage of Florida cuisine.

• Cameron Cottrill in Art/Photo Illustration for a collection of illustrations.

• Will Hobson in Beat Reporting on Hardship Issues for New Beginnings coverage.

Times staffers won six second-place awards: Alexandra Zayas, Connie Humburg, Kris Hundley and Letitia Stein in Beat Reporting on Environment/Health/Science for "Insult to Injury"; Alex Leary in Beat Reporting on Government/Politics for a collection of work; Andrew Meacham in Non-Deadline News Reporting for "The First Family" (of C.W. Bill Young); Sean Daly in Beat Reporting on the Arts for pop culture coverage; Ben Montgomery, Edmund D. Fountain and Cameron Cottrill in Package-Online for "The Lost Bones"; and Times staff in Social Media Package for "Joe Maddon leaves the Tampa Bay Rays."

Also winning third-place awards are Ben Montgomery in the Series category for "The Lost Bones"; William R. Levesque in Beat Reporting on Government/Politics for veterans affairs coverage; Stephanie Hayes in Commentary & Criticism-Arts for performing arts coverage; Times staff in News Web Site for; and Times staff in Social Media Package for Florida State University shooting.