Return to Winner's Circle
Las Vegas Review-Journal writer Doug Elfman has again been named one of the top critics in the nation, as well as one of America's best feature writers.
Elfman has won two first-place awards in the writing competition of the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors. He finished in first place in the arts and entertainment commentary category, after the Review-Journal submitted his concert reviews of Eminem, Paul McCartney and John Mellencamp. He also won first place in this category in 2001.
In addition, Elfman earned first place in the feature specialty reporting category, based on three articles: a profile of man-about-town Michael Shulman; a portrait of people who work and hang out at the Hard Rock; and a feature that looked at how the Las Vegas Strip is portrayed in video games.
"These well-deserved awards by Doug's peers really just confirm what our readers already know," said Review-Journal Editor Thomas Mitchell. "He brings a quick wit, fundamental irreverence, depth and breadth of music knowledge, and a wry sense of language. In his writing, Doug is as much onstage as the entertainers he is covering."
The Review-Journal is in the association's Division II, newspapers with circulations of 75,001-175,000. The category includes such papers as the Christian Science Monitor, the Philadelphia Daily News, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post. There are four divisions in the national contest.
The association's members are newspaper editors in the United States and Canada. The organization's goal is to encourage superb writing and reporting.
Since joining the Review-Journal in 2000, Elfman, 36, has interviewed such musicians as McCartney, Luciano Pavarotti, Etta James, Brian Wilson, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Don Henley, Kid Rock, Kenny Chesney, Jewel, Paul Oakenfold and Henry Rollins.
Elfman also reviews most types of music, except classical. Elfman was born in San Francisco. He was raised there, in New Orleans, and in Athens, Ga. After graduating from Louisiana State University in 1990, he worked at newspapers in New Orleans, Tennessee, Panama City, Fla., Daytona Beach, Fla., and Atlanta.
His music education started at a young age. He began learning piano at age 3, then switched to violin, eventually earning a music scholarship at the University of Georgia in Athens. But he gave up violin, and for a time attempted to sing as half of Doug and Dave, a comic-rock duo that played in a style similar to the Moldy Peaches'.
Elfman grew up around entertainers. His mother, who teaches gifted and talented children in New Orleans, managed rock bands for several years and enlisted him to work as a roadie. His father, who is a physicist turned computer programmer in Atlanta, managed a break-dancing troupe in the 1980s and wrote a best-selling book on break dancing.