2018 California Journalism Awards - Digital Division

Investigative Reporting ( Monthly Unique Visitors: 200,001 & over)Back

  • Place Name: First Place
    Contestant Name: The Mercury News/East Bay Times
    Entry Title: Burned Out
    Entry Credit: Thomas Peele, Harriet Blair Rowan
    Judge Comment: This was an amazingly crafted and shocking investigation that prompted serious action by lawmakers shortly after its publication. The amount of work required for a project like this itself is startling, not to mention what the investigation turned up. While the story obviously involved data analysis of a monumental scale, the article didn't get bogged down with numbers and the numbers that were used were powerful and telling. Nice use of characters to assist in the storytelling, whether it be candid public officials or apartment residents who have no choice but to live in buildings they know are unsafe. The photos, maps and graphics really pushed this story over the top.
  • Place Name: Second Place
    Contestant Name: Ventura County Star
    Entry Title: With nowhere to go, kids on probation stay locked in Ventura County juvenile hall
    Entry Credit: Cheri Carlson
    Judge Comment: Nice use of graphics and multimedia components to explain the different nuances of a complicated situation, as well as provide a visual break in the text of this story. I particularly appreciated the timeline associated with finding a placement and the chart showing wait times over the years. It's obvious this piece took a tremendous amount of research and work by the reporter, and the end product pays off. This is a skillfully crafted investigation about a deeply concerning situation that's enhanced by interviews with people who are directly involved in the system.
  • Place Name: Third Place
    Contestant Name: Ventura County Star
    Entry Title: Buena girls basketball coach was removed for allegedly misusing funds, violating laws
    Entry Credit: Alexa D'Angelo
    Judge Comment: Solid investigation into some very egregious spending by the Buena High School basketball coach. While the district's discipline letter issued to the coach and his rebuttal would have told enough of the story, the reporter went above and beyond to seek out financial records which provided some rich details to enhance the story.
  • Place Name: Fourth Place
    Contestant Name: The San Francisco Examiner
    Entry Title: Sexual harassment suit alleges head of SF Muni operations inappropriately touched assistant
    Entry Credit: Joe Rodriguez, Sara Gaiser, Deborah Petersen
    Judge Comment: Nice use of deep sourcing to reveal a department clearly entrenched with toxic issues involving the treatment of women. The series clearly demonstrates how after Fitzgerald's first story, "a dam broke at the agency" and change was inevitable. I would be curious to know how Fitzgerald obtained the anonymous testimony from the 60 Muni employees, since the article didn't explain, but that's just nitpicking. It's clear from the series that Fitzgerald's reporting initiated widespread change to a large agency that was in desperate need of just that.
  • Place Name: Fifth Place
    Contestant Name: Sacramento Business Journal
    Entry Title: SBJ Investigative Reporting entries
    Entry Credit: Scott Rodd
    Judge Comment: This series did a great job of tracking Verizon's disastrous $100 billion deal with Sacramento from the start of the troubles until the whole thing collapsed. I particularly appreciated the graphic components explaining the key players and the timeline of the deal.