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2018 California Journalism Awards Digital Contest Winners

By default, the table below displays the 2018 California Journalism Awards Digital Contest winners by category.

The table is sortable by the column headers (Category, Award, Publication, Entry Title, Credit and Judge’s Comments) but you probably want to zero in on your own publication. The easiest way to do that is to use the search box to type in the name of your publication.

A search will begin as soon as you start typing in the box. The more specific you are, the faster you’ll find your results.

First-place and second-place plaques were awarded to winners who were present at the 2018 California Journalism Awards Gala on Saturday, May 4 at The Westin Long Beach. If no one from your publication was present to receive your plaque, we will ship it to you.

Personalized certificates will also be mailed to winners in each category.

CategoryAwardPublicationEntry TitleCreditsJudge's Comments
General Excellence1stSan Francisco Chroniclesfchronicle.comSan Francisco Chronicle StaffThe San Francisco Chronicle simply sets the bar for outstanding journalism in California.
General Excellence2ndThe Press Democratpressdemocrat.comPress Democrat staff
General Excellence3rdThe Sacramento Beesacbee.comSacramento Bee Staff
General Excellence4thSan Francisco Business Timessanfrancisco.bizjournals.comHannah Norman
General Excellence1stThe Sonoma Index-Tribunesonomanews.comSonoma Index-Tribune editorial staffThis stands above all the other Websites in its class. Many of the Websites have lots of material to offer readers but the Index-Tribune does a phenomenal job of designing a Website that makes navigating easy. The lead artwork tops off the many news stories, while an interactive poll greets a reader partway down, and then the many sections are partitioned in wonderful “blocks” that give a reader easy access. Better yet, the journalism is solid. The columnists are featured well, the sponsored content is clearly marked and the advertising does not have that cheesy, overwhelming feel that turns off so many readers. The Sonoma Index-Tribune offers a large, community buffet but gives the reader the sensation that the meal is prepared just for them. Bravo!
General Excellence2ndCALmatterscalmatters.orgDavid Lesher, Vicki Haddock, Shawn Hubler, Marcia ParkerRarely does a non-profit, community funded news Website rise to the level of what CalMatters offers. When you visit CalMatters, you get the sensation that you are visiting a large news organization. All the topics are presented in a format that makes browsing the home page easy. And, of course, the journalism is superb. That alone would make CalMatters Website great. But exploring their Website reveals their “Explainers.” They have a Bill Tracker, an Election Guide and even an entire section on why readers should worry about retirement tax. If I’m a resident of California who wants to know the state’s politics and how it is affecting me, this site would top my list. Others sites can learn a lot from how well this Website is designed and how much it offers.
General Excellence3rdGrunion Gazettegazettes.comStaffThe attention span of a reader is short. The Grunion’s Website does a great job of saying, “You have a short attention span? Well, let us give you a great design and offer you tantalizing headlines that will make you want to stay on our Website and explore.” When I visit a story, I’m ready to go to the next one. The prominent calendar, the photo and video gallery, the sections blocks — all of this is used beautifully to create a Website that informs while gently guiding the reader from one topic to the next.
General Excellence4thVoice of OCvoiceofoc.orgNorberto Santana, Jr., Tracy Wood, Sonya Quick
General Excellence5thMountain View Voicemv-voice.comAndrea Gemmet, Kevin Forestieri, Mark Noack, Julia Brown
General Excellence1stWinters Expresswintersexpress.comMatthew Keys, Crystal Apilado, Emma Johnson, Taylor BuleyBy far the greatest volume and variety of local news, presented on the home page in a way that maximizes it.
General Excellence2ndClaremont Courierclaremont-courier.comPeter WeinbergerA few examples of greater depth in local content here. My single favorite read in the contest was the transcript of an interview with local boy made good and Silicon Valley pioneer Roger McNamee.
General Excellence3rdThe Trinity Journaltrinityjournal.comStaffIt's all about local breaking news here, and it's well reported and prominently featured on the home page.
General Excellence4thSignal Tribunesignaltribunenewspaper.comSignal TribuneGood volume of local news.
General Excellence5thGV Wiregvwire.comBill McEwen, Randy Reed, Jesse Buglione, Hannah ReillyState of the art content management system and a bit of thoughtful local work, but seems overall to be more an aggregation site.
Public Service Journalism1stCALmatters2018 Voter GuideBen Christoper, Byrhonda Lyons, Vicki Haddock, John Osborn D’AgostinoAn absolute wonderful example of pubic service. The news organization did a comprehensive job of laying out all the issue and candidate positions in an online magazine format with videos. Then after the election, CALmatters came back and explained it all. A real reader service.
Public Service Journalism2ndLong Beach PostSafe StreetsAll StaffVery impressive. Perhaps the high point of the Safe Street project was identifying that the safest streets were in wealthy areas and noted a rise of accidents in the poorer areas.
Public Service Journalism3rdRecord SearchlightCarr Fire coverageRecord Searchlight StaffExhaustive coverage of one of the country's deadliest wildfires.
Public Service Journalism4thThe Sacramento BeeInside California's Ongoing DMV SagaBryan AndersonThe best part of this deep dive into California's DMV morass was the revelation that lawmakers have their own private DMV office to spare them excessive wait times.
Public Service Journalism5thVoice of OCHomelessness in Orange CountyNorberto Santana, Jr., Tracy Wood, Nick Gerda, Spencer CustodioReaders who live in one of the country's wealthiest enclaves had to be blown away to learn of Orange County's homelessness problem.
In-Depth Reporting1stSan Francisco ChronicleThe Miracle CellErin Allday, Joaquin Palomino, Audrey DeBruine, Manjula VargheseThe stories in this series featured rich narratives and a stunning use of powerful photos to illustrate the human toll of the illnesses. The stories were thoughtfully told and the series captured both sides of these controversial treatments, through the patients and family members desperate for a cure and the questionable clinics and doctors offering up hope. The one sentence in the third part that summed up the series for me mentioned the idea of the “hope versus hype” behind this science. This project drove that message home. Nice use of multimedia and graphics in the third and fourth parts of the series to explain scientific concepts processes, and the financial aspect of this issue. While portions of the stories were often quite technical, they didn’t cross the line to being too difficult to understand. In the fourth part of the series, the highlighted that linked to explainer boxes for CIRM-funded science was also a nice touch. The final product was a fascinating deep dive into the human, scientific and financial sides of stem cell therapies that remained compelling throughout with the help of thoughtful subjects and sources.
In-Depth Reporting2ndVentura County StarFire coverageStaffNice use of videos and embedded sound to enhance the dispatcher story, and the interactive timeline chronicling the Thomas Fire was great. Powerful quotes from the dispatchers also added to the weight of the article.
The digital presentation of the first three parts of the series was much more stimulating than the final three, but the reporting and writing was solid throughout. Some of the later stories didn't lend themselves to a visual presentation the way the first three did, but staff still enhanced those stories with the use of graphics and maps. The story about Stacy Hyatt and her horses truly moved me- I found myself in tears during one point in my reading.. This series did a fantastic job or humanizing the wildfire crisis in California while chronicling the constant need for change to address future issues
In-Depth Reporting3rdThe Mercury News/East Bay TimesHealth care coverage — Lisa KriegerLisa M. KriegerThese two very different types of healthcare stories beautifully illustrate and humanize the human side of medical issues. In the CRISPR story, I appreciated the use of graphics and videos to explain technical concepts. The photos were rich and vibrant and popped off the page. Clearly this is a difficult concept to explain, and Krieger made CRISPR digestible to the reader and personalized its potential through Delaney. In the story about Denis, interviews with friends and family and photos from his past provided the reader with a deep look into this man as a person before the disease set in. The graphics were helpful in parsing out data components. Although I've read stories about other Alzheimer's patients, Denis' story truly stood out due to the visual depth of this piece and Krieger's storytelling ability.
In-Depth Reporting4thVentura County StarCovering HomelessnessArlene MartinezMartinez's coverage of homelessness in Ventura over the course of April 2018 provided a deep look into a problem facing communities across the country. Her article about the stabbing of a Ventura father stabbed to death by a homeless man was heart-wrenching and the quotes from community members in the follow-up story were candid and powerful. It's clear from her reporting that Martinez is dedicated to providing her readers with a complete look at homelessness and keep pressure on city officials to address the issue. Nice use of photos and videos in the stories. I particularly liked the video of volunteers fanning out for the homeless count.
In-Depth Reporting5thPalo Alto WeeklyThe meaning of 'middle class'Fiona Kelliher, Jamey Padojino, Veronica WeberI really enjoyed the use of personal analogies from survey recipients to help explain just how complicated the murky issue of the middle class really is, particularly in a town like Palo Alto. The photos helped clearly divide the sections of the story and the use of graphics made more difficult concepts easier to understand. I also appreciate how the story explored the implications of this financial reality on children who live in Palo Alto. By allowing anonymity to survey respondents, Kelliher clearly got very candid answers, but her interviews with named respondents were just as meaningful and more impactful due to the depth of their answers.
In-Depth Reporting1stTahoe Daily TribuneWhat lies in the depths of Lake Tahoe’s waters?Claire CudahyGreat primer on how the country's second-largest lake was formed. Fascinating reading, from the geology to the famous people who allegedly have visited the lake.
In-Depth Reporting2ndThe RecorderCryptocurrency LitigationRoss ToddExcellent examination of cryutocurrency and whether it should be regulated as a security.
In-Depth Reporting3rdCALmattersTeacher pension debt swamps school budgetsJessica Calefati, Vicki Haddock, David LesherGreat reader service of identifying how ballooning teacher pensions are going to spell financial disaster for schools down the road.
In-Depth Reporting4thCALmattersCALmatters California's Climate PoliciesJulie Cart, Linda RogersTop-notch series that shows climate-change regulations are shortchanging taxpayers.
In-Depth Reporting5thThe RecordViolent Crime ProjectRoger Phillips, Donald Blount, Nicholas Filipas, Almendra CarpizoSeries put a face on the terrible scourge of violent crime and its never-ending aftermath.
In-Depth Reporting1stValley VoiceTurmoil in TulareNancy Vigran, Dave Adalian, Tony MaldonadoThe Valley Voice provides an excellent example of dogged, hyper-local reporting that demands answers, holds power to account and doesn't give up. The antics of Tulare City Council are riveting, and Valley Voice reporters Nancy Vigran, Dave Adalian and Tony Maldonado were there to capture every twist and turn in the plot. Clearly, Valley Voice is a thorn in the side of the shady operators in town government, exposing backroom dealing and potential corruption. But readers don't have to take the reporters' words for it - by posting a steady stream of public records, Valley Voice allowed its readers to make up their own mind about their town government. And that's what local reporting is all about.
In-Depth Reporting2ndGV WireWho Runs CaliforniaBill McEwen, Drew Phelps, David TaubUsing a broad array of public records, some shoe leather and some very slick presentation Bill McEwen, Drew Phelps and David Taub were able to stitch together a portrait of California's influential people and forces, explain how they rig the system and why it matters, all in an easily digestible format. The "baker's dozen of movers, shakers and blockers" is a fine piece on its own, but the writer went the extra mile to add context showing how those influencers use the system to help themselves, not the average Californian. The powers of population map helped put into perspective the whole state and the competing needs of its diverse population. And the presentation, complete with movers and shakers playing cards, was top-notch. A fun and informative read.
In-Depth Reporting3rdGV WireBattle to Decide California's Education FutureBill McEwen, Nancy PriceNancy Price and Bill McEwen show who's bankrolling the politicians in charge of the state's education system and why. And in the process, they wind up with a sobering assessment of how likely those politicians are to actually create change in a school system that has dropped from one of the best in the US to one of the worst. Whoever wins the political races will face struggles with funding, competition between district and charter schools and negotiations with unions, to name a few challenges. Price and McEwen lay out the facts (with excellent production value) but the candidates leave us wondering if they're up to the challenge of improving California's education system.
In-Depth Reporting4thValley VoiceTulare Regional Medical Center & HCCA coverageTony Maldonado
In-Depth Reporting5thSanta Ynez Valley StarChildhood TraumaRaiza Giorgi
Writing1stSF WeeklyThe Biggest Lose in Paradise? Its EldersNuala Sawyer, Peter Kane, Kevin Hume, Deborah PetersenUnique way to report on a fire that surely had a ton of press. Got you thinking about people that normally would not have their story told.
Writing2ndVentura County StarDaughter of Golden State Killer's Ventura victim says arrest begins new chapter for familyMegan DiskinThe daughter's interview made this a great read, along with detailed information about the killer.
Writing3rdVentura County StarStill healing from Ventura County's first mass shooting 25 years before BorderlineTom KiskenA timely story showing the emotions of people who survive a mass shooting. Very descriptive.
Writing4thThe Mercury News/East Bay TimesHow do you rebuild Paradise when all seems lost?Julia Prodis SulekA well-written story seen through the eyes of the victims.
Writing5thSF WeeklyThe Horrors of the Recession to ComePeter KaneDid this story scare me? Maybe just a little. Instead of just saying a recession was going to happen, the author put forth scenarios that seem quite plausible.
Writing1stLong Beach PostOaxaca-born artist paints life in the fields in first solo exhibition at Long Beach museumAsia MorrisA great lead and well-written and unusual story about a man's path from the field to the art museum. Wonderful photos of mesmerizing art.
Writing2ndLong Beach PostA Long Beach restaurateur invited the writer of a negative review to talk face-to-face. Here’s what happened.Brian AddisonAn intriguing lead to a story that you just have to keep reading. Because how often does it actually happen that a restaurant critic meets with a restaurant he just trashed. Love it.
Writing3rdCALmattersHomeless College StudentsFelicia Mello, Vicki Haddock A great lead and a well-written and heartbreaking story about a talented young man's struggle to go to college. The personal story combined with strong research and illustrative data showing how big this problem is throughout the state really makes for a compelling read.
Writing4thCALmattersGavin Newsom ProfileBen Christopher, Vicki Haddock It's hard to stand out when writing a profile about Gavin Newsom since there are so many written already. But this well-written one did provide a lot of unusual quotes and facts that gave a bigger more nuanced picture of California's governor.
Writing5thThe RecorderJeff Had Issues: An Akin Gump Lawyer Breaks Bad—and There’s No Satisfying ExplanationJenna GreeneA great lead and a great well-written story that someone should turn into a movie. Also interesting to learn more about the hard lives of lawyers and the amount of pressure they live under.
Investigative Reporting1stThe Mercury News/East Bay TimesBurned OutThomas Peele, Harriet Blair RowanThis 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.
Investigative Reporting2ndVentura County StarWith nowhere to go, kids on probation stay locked in Ventura County juvenile hallCheri CarlsonNice 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.
Investigative Reporting3rdVentura County StarBuena girls basketball coach was removed for allegedly misusing funds, violating lawsAlexa D'AngeloSolid 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.
Investigative Reporting4thThe San Francisco ExaminerSexual harassment suit alleges head of SF Muni operations inappropriately touched assistantJoe Rodriguez, Sara Gaiser, Deborah PetersenNice 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.
Investigative Reporting5thSacramento Business JournalSBJ Investigative Reporting entriesScott RoddThis 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.
Investigative Reporting1stCALmattersFor-profit collegesShawn Hubler, Felicia Mello, Vicki Haddock The writers did a great job pushing ahead with this story despite state regulators refusing to cooperate.
Investigative Reporting2ndCALmattersLocal school bond inequitiesRicardo Cano, Shawn Hubler, Vicki Haddock Great job of computer-assisted reporting showing unequivocally that poor school districts get short shrift on bond measures.
Investigative Reporting3rdWinters ExpressExpress Investigates: The Murky Future of Valley Clean EnergyMatthew KeysAn exhaustive effort at unraveling a clean energy concern with dubious beginnings.
Investigative Reporting4thVoice of OCCorporate PAC Money Flows to All Candidates in Contested OC Congressional RacesNick GerdaAn even-handed investigation that despite their denials, Democrats also rely on political action committee funding.
Investigative Reporting5thVoice of OCSheriff and Phone Company Covered Up Jail Recordings, Attorney AllegesThy VoSolid effort at going beyond a 48-page legal motion.
Enterprise News Story or Series1stSan Francisco Chronicle150 Minutes of HellLizzie Johnson, Guy Wathen, Lucio Villa, Evan Wagstaff, John BlanchardGreat story-telling recreated. Los of emotion. Great use of phrases and words. Outstanding work-effort.
Enterprise News Story or Series2ndThe Mercury News/East Bay Times'You just gotta get out of here'Matthias Gafni, Julia Prodis Sulek, Randy Vasquez, Pai A close runner up to the winner.
Enterprise News Story or Series3rdThe Mercury News/East Bay TimesBay Area housing crisisMarisa Kendall, Dai Sugano, Louis HansenA difficult story told well without placing blame but clearly pointing out some reasons.
Enterprise News Story or Series4thThe Sacramento BeeCalifornia ballot measures - a video seriesAkira Olivia Kumamoto, Alyssa Holdenfield, Sharon Okaka, David CaraccioThe video on the gov candidates was well done but not as good as the others.
Enterprise News Story or Series5thSF WeeklyMayor Ed Lee Was An Organ Donor. Are You?Ida Mojadad, Nuala Sawyer, Peter KaneA good public service story.
Enterprise News Story or Series1stCALmattersWellness SeriesDavid Gorn, Linda Rogers, Vicki Haddock Great balance of stories about people and data - how to make changes in government finances and people's health. Excellent reporting. Good and important read.
Enterprise News Story or Series2ndThe RecordViolent Crime ProjectRoger Phillips, Donald Blount, Nicholas Filipas, Almendra CarpizoInteresting way to follow up on the lives of those who have lived in pain because of violent crime. Real stories told well.
Enterprise News Story or Series3rdCALmattersDigging into the Data: California DreamMatt Levin, Adrienne Hill, Vicki Haddock Very nice graphics. Lots of data. Solid reporting. Would have moved up in the ranking if the story had included real people to tell the stories.
Enterprise News Story or Series4thThe Salinas CalifornianTackling freedomJoe Szydlowski, Chelcey AdamiGood read about a part of life that very few people experience. Very few consider what it is like to re-enter society from prison. Interesting.
Enterprise News Story or Series5thThe Salinas CalifornianGoing homeEduardo Cuevas, Kate Cimini Cimini, Chelcey AdamiAnother part of life today that generally goes uncovered - or told from only one perspective. Immigration is such an important topic today and this is a unique way to approach the subject. Good effort, but a very strong field of entries.
Enterprise News Story or Series1stGV WireIs California's Controversial Plastic Bag Ban Working?David TaubEvery Californian was impacted by the 2014 law that radically changed usage of plastic bags. This is a smart piece exploring the aftermath.
Breaking News1stSan Francisco ChronicleThe Camp FireChronicle StaffThis was by far the best entry with compelling stories, excellent use of multi-media and superior photography. Also the website is attractive and easy to navigate. I thought the coverage was a bit too broad given the category of breaking news. For instance the story about heavy rains affecting future fires seemed much too far after the event. I did however enjoy the photo essay on the Nutcracker ballet, which was also long after the fire ended. The story on firefighter Don Andrews’ struggle to survive was very compelling. Also I had issues with the paper’s pay wall which prevented me from viewing all of the entry.
Breaking News2ndPalo Alto WeeklyCold case solved: Arlis Perry murderPalo Alto Weekly StaffGood in depth coverage of an obviously very difficult breaking news story combined with the community’s frustration over a murder that was unsolved for 44 years. I felt the writing was quite good but the overall reporting was hurt by the lack of professional photography. Also video needs to be edited. Few readers will sit through 15 to 20 minutes of a man talking at a podium.
Breaking News3rdVentura County StarMass shooting at Borderline Bar & GrillVentura County Star staffHeartbreaking story of what has become an all too common occurrence in America today. Good writing and very good use of multi media although I found the website hard to use at times. Photography was quite good but needed a tighter edit. I also noted that the same video was used for more than one update. Similar to other entrants in the category I was not able to review all of the materials because of the paper’s pay wall.
Breaking News4thVentura County StarMontecito Mudslides and the AftermathCheri Carlson, Jeremy Childs, Christian MartinezAnother good breaking news story. I felt a bit more detachment from the subject matter Compared to the Boderline Grill story, also the photography was not as good. Similar to other entrants in the category I was not able to review all of the materials because of the paper’s pay wall.
Breaking News1stLong Beach PostDavid Rosa stories: Police suspect elderly man set blaze before shooting firefighters in Long Beach, LBPD saysAll StaffThe Long Beach Post’s team reporting and commentary on the shooting death of a veteran firefighter responding to a blaze and its multiple follow-up stories are an example of “flood the zone” coverage at its best. The stories provide the answers to questions that readers surely were asking and skillfully blended hard-nosed reporting with thoughtful and often-times poignant observations from the victim’s families. Tracking down the suspect’s older brother and reporting his comments added important context to the telling of this tragedy.
Breaking News2ndCALmattersGeneral election night 2018CALmatters Team, Dan Morain, Laurel Rosenhall, Ben ChristopherCALmatters’ impressive wall-to-wall coverage of the statewide general election reflected well-thought-out planning and the team’s deep knowledge of the candidates and the issues. The standout piece in this superb package analyzed the big issues awaiting the governor-elect.
Breaking News3rdThe RecordAlex Spanos obituaryRoger Phillips, Michael Fitzgerald, Donald BlountThe Recorder’s team report on the death of Alex Spanos incorporated attention-grabbing visuals, detailed reporting and compelling commentary. It was a revealing and fitting tribute to a man who gave much to the Stockton community while becoming one of America’s richest men.
Breaking News4thLong Beach PostSeries of three stories on Jose Raul Corrales' killing in West Long BeachValerie Osier, Jeremiah DobruckThe follow-up story based on court documents revealing the high tensions at Cabrillo High School before the drive-by killing of Jose Raul Corrales is the top story in this package. Reporters Jeremiah Dobruk and Valerie Osier used those documents to corroborate an anonymous tip and produce a story of vital importance to readers,
Breaking News5thThe RecorderWaymo-Uber coverageBen Hancock, Ross Todd, Caroline SpiezioA fine example of daily courtroom coverage, which is rarely seen these days on trial of great interest to the technology and legal communities.
Breaking News1stSanta Ynez Valley StarSBFLM Montecito MudslideRaiza Giorgi, Daniel Dreifuss, VIctoria Martinez, Dave BemisThe essence of what breaking news coverage is all about - haunting images, comprehensive information - and a particularly notable effort as a monthly publication.
Breaking News2ndWinters ExpressElection Results PageMatthew KeysWonderful rethinking of conveying the breaking coverage of an election night. By bringing new approaches to reporting results and returns, this entry is quite effective as a breaking news effort.
Breaking News3rdGV WireAnimal Shelter Gets Green Light, but Likely Lawsuit AwaitsDavid TaubComprehensive information that conveys the community interest and differing opinions, but lacking some of the immediacy feel of other entries and what breaking news is about.
Breaking News4thPleasanton WeeklyBART votes down Livermore extensionJeremy Walsh
Breaking News5thValley VoiceNunes flees coffee shop confrontationDave Adalian
Coverage of Local Government1stCALmattersJason Kinney and legal weedLaurel Rosenhall, Shawn Hubler, Vicki Haddock In “Jason Kinney and Legal Weed,” reporter Laurel Rosenhall shines a bright light on the highly lucrative revolving door through which the ethically compromised Kinney has gone many times during his career as an advisor to powerful politicians and as a lobbyist. This is a powerful piece of journalism that vitally serves the public interest in two ways: explaining Kinney’s cozy relationship to California’s new governor and how relatively unknown people exert great influence behind the scenes. The “politics & pot” graphic succinctly captures the ties linking Kinney, Gavin Newsom and the cannabis industry.
Coverage of Local Government2ndCALmattersLocal school bond inequitiesRicardo Cano, Shawn Hubler, Vicki Haddock Ricado Cano’s “With California’s School Bonds, the Rich Get Richer and the Poor, not so Much” uses data to document the financial challenges facing small and rural public-school districts in their quest to provide safe, clean, modern facilities for teachers and students. The story is reader friendly because it isn’t drowning in numbers and Cano effectively mixes in interviews with officials trying to get new facilities built. The graphics accompanying the story allow readers to see how their district compares to others.
Coverage of Local Government3rdCALmattersTeacher pension debt swamps school budgetsJessica Calefati, Vicki Haddock, David LesherJessica Calefati’s “California Teacher Pension Debt Swamps School Budgets” documents why a looming pension crisis will force many California school districts to cut programs, increase class sizes and even lay off teachers. More impressively, she reported and organized the story in a way that was easy for readers to digest.
Coverage of Local Government4thThe Salinas CalifornianWaste deepKate CiminiKate Cimini overcame the stonewalling of local officials to explain how a homeless man narrowly escaped injury after he apparently was loaded into a trash truck during a clean-up of Chinatown encampments and dumped at transfer station. The videos accompanying the story increased reader understanding of what happened.
Coverage of Local Government5thLong Beach PostSoutheast Long Beach land swap could net more wetlands—and more greenhouse gasesJason RuizJason Ruiz served his readers well by taking a complicated story about a land swap involving the potential expansion of an oil production facility and explaining the impacts both good and bad.
Coverage of Local Government1stPleasanton WeeklySeries on Ben Curry's DrowningRyan Degan, Jeremy Walsh, Gina ChannellAn admirable commitment by the publication to follow this story for a long duration - moving beyond the initial tragedy and into covering how a school and school district reacted and responded as government/public institutions.
Coverage of Local Government2ndGV WireRecounting the Drama: Hill Places Second, Miller Placed in CuffsDavid TaubA gripping narrative with useful multimedia elements to round out coverage of this emotional recount.
Coverage of Local Government3rdGV WireLetter Perfect: Why P is for Parks and Z is for ZoosDavid TaubA quirky look at an often unknown rationale about why certain things are the way they are in an election.
Coverage of Local Government4thGV WireHarvesting Green or Inviting Danger? The Clash Over Measure A.David Taub
Coverage of Local Government5thWinters ExpressExpress Voter's GuideMatthew Keys
Land-Use Reporting1stCALmattersHousing/ZoningMatt Levin, Vicki Haddock This is digital done right! The stories gave context to complex issues and used a variety of digital layers to connect readers with the information.
Land-Use Reporting2ndLong Beach PostServing Cambodian community for decades, owners of KH Market given two weeks notice before hearing on demolitionBrian AddisonExcellent writing with a good use of staff and contributed images. The story had a good variety of voices.
Land-Use Reporting3rdSignal TribuneSeniors continue to struggle to find affordable, appropriate housing in Long BeachPaige PelonisVery good reporting on an issue that is so prevalent in California right now. The photos with part one were especially good.
Land-Use Reporting4thLong Beach PostThe father of the Anti-Mall has ambitious plans for North Long Beach developmentBrian AddisonLiked the more conversational tone of the story, it read a lot like a column.
Land-Use Reporting5thLong Beach PostHousing Equity Analysis of Controversial Long Beach Land Use Element Widely Ignored; Claims ‘Public Health Concerns’ at RiskBrian AddisonThe story had a lot of good information, but as a reader, I was I was overwhelmed by some of the dry policy language.
Coverage of Youth and Education1stVentura County StarWith nowhere to go, kids on probation stay locked in Ventura County juvenile hallCheri CarlsonStory sheds light on a little-known issue with compassion, data, great writing and comprehensive coverage.
Coverage of Youth and Education2ndThe Mercury News/East Bay TimesHow did a Bay Area kindergartner walk 3 miles home alone from school? Tag along to find outJulia Prodis Sulek, Jose Carlos FajardoStory digs deep and takes a unique approach to a case that made major news.
Coverage of Youth and Education3rdThe San Diego Union-TribuneStudents of the new millenniumDeborah Sullivan BrennanStory takes a comprehensive look at a new generation of graduating seniors with great detail and top-notch writing.
Coverage of Youth and Education4thPalo Alto WeeklyRavenswood faces financial crisisElena KadvanyWith great writing and strong detail, the Palo Alto Weekly gives extensive coverage to a financially struggling school district.
Coverage of Youth and Education5thVentura County StarVentura Unified superintendent resigns after controversial sermon surfacesAlexa D'Angelo, Arlene MartinezArticles give comprehensive coverage and balanced reporting to a story with strong local appeal and larger cultural impact.
Coverage of Youth and Education1stCALmattersFor-profit collegesFelicia Mello, Shawn Hubler, Vicki Haddock
Coverage of Youth and Education2ndLong Beach PostIn high-crime Washington neighborhood, efforts grow to make streets saferKelly Puente
Coverage of Youth and Education3rdGrunion GazetteNelson Academy Middle School Students Walk Out On Columbine AnniversaryStephanie Stutzman
Coverage of Youth and Education4thLong Beach PostA block from a university or a block from a freeway: location dictates safe streets in Long BeachValerie Osier, Stephanie Rivera
Coverage of Youth and Education5thCALmattersTeacher pension debt swamps school budgetsJessica Calefati, Vicki Haddock, David Lesher
Coverage of Youth and Education1stGV WireBargain Warp Speed Learning Has a Name: Dual EnrollmentMyles Barker, Bill McEwenExceptionally well reported, personable, deeply informative about the history of the program while connecting it to a student who had their life meaningfully impacted.
Coverage of Youth and Education2ndGV WireAshjian vs. Nelson: A Hot, Loud Debate on Special EdBill McEwen, Myles BarkerSolid use of multimedia elements to convey the emotion of the exchange, along with comprehensive information of the funding available and explanation of the relevance to the local community.
Coverage of Youth and Education3rdSanta Ynez Valley StarRunning to End HungerRaiza GiorgiA well written, heartfelt profile of two brothers, an issue in their community, and how they are doing something about it.
Coverage of Youth and Education4thSanta Ynez Valley StarA World of GraceRaiza Giorgi
Coverage of Youth and Education5thGV WireHomeschool Lessons in Civics: How To Kill a BillDavid Taub
Feature Story1stSan Francisco Chronicle150 Minutes of HellLizzie Johnson, Guy Wathen, Lucio Villa, Evan Wagstaff, John BlanchardAmazing use of maps, graphics, photos and audio recordings to tell a very complicated and heart-wrenching story. I particularly appreciated the graphic explaining how the fire tornado started and the maps tracking its course along with the paths of the subjects featured in the story. The "time tracker" at the top of the page allowed me to know exactly where I was in this 150 minutes of Hell, which at times I was grateful for, given the anxiety I felt for the subjects. The excellent reporting and writing in this story would have stood out on its own even without all of the digital components, but all together the final product is quite literally, stunning.
Feature Story2ndThe Mercury News/East Bay TimesWhere do the 'Three Californias' converge? A clothing-optional hot springs, of courseJulia Prodis Sulek, LiPo ChingEven as a native Californian, the logistics of splitting the state into three was difficult to understand when I first heard about the proposal. This story did a great job of not only explaining how the split would work, but also how the political and physical split really didn't make a lot of sense to many residents of the middle ground area where the three states would meet. Great use of characters and scenery (in descriptions and photos) to really place the reader in the Fresno/San Benito/Merced County junction.
Feature Story3rdPalo Alto WeeklySharing the kids: How Harley Farms became California's most popular goat farmKali ShilohFascinating story about a topic I knew nothing about but found myself wanting to learn even more about after reading this piece. The wonderful photos and use of sensory details in the writing immediately made me want to visit this farm, but I stepped back after reading about the owner's struggles to balance public accessibility and the ability to function as a working business. Even though the article was aimed at readers in the 650 area code, as a total outsider, it was easy to come to care about Dee Harley and her goats.
Feature Story4thThe Sacramento BeeTHE ‘LADY BIRDS’ WHO FLEW HOMETony Bizjak, Ryan Lillis, Nathaniel LevineGreat way to use the movie as a segue to tell the stories of real Sacramento "Lady Birds" who are working to better their city. The reporters did a great job of shining a light on the subjects' passion for the city and why they felt compelled to return. I love the graphic at the top of the page and the videos accompanying the story allow readers to almost feel as though we're meeting these men and women.
Feature Story5thVentura County StarWoman gives bone marrow, asks 3-year-old Ventura recipient to be flower girlTom KiskenThis story at it's face was taylor-made for a feature article, but the reporter's beautiful writing and use of photos and video made it something of a masterpiece. Kisken's words took readers into the minds and hearts of this little girl's parents and the stranger from Alabama who believes her own life was saved by making this life-saving gesture.
Feature Story1stCALmattersJim Wood, forensic dentist after wildfires Laurel Rosenhall, Shawn Hubler, Vicki Haddock Easy to read (clear) writing. Well organized. Huge relevance (a major story with focus on key element). Solid news value.
Feature Story2ndCALmattersRefugees face high cost of housingMatt Levin, Adrienne Hill, Robert Nishizaki Huge relevance in today's world. Well organized and clarity of flow. A story that needs to be told that can help led to answers of a serious problem.
Feature Story3rdThe Salinas CalifornianParenting behind barsJoe SzydlowskiA very good read about a societal issue of parenting from prison. Real people always make compelling reading.
Feature Story4thCALmattersJerry Brown retires to Colusa CountyLaurel Rosenhall, Shawn Hubler, Vicki HaddockWell written and interesting, but possible missing the relevance and news values of the top three.
Feature Story5thTahoe Daily TribuneFamily with Incline Village roots to make film about first Down syndrome summit of Grand TetonClaire CudahyBest of the rest. A people pleaser.
Feature Story1stGV WireOlguin Writes New Code on Tech, Downtown FresnoDavid TaubA compelling read on a native daughter of Fresno who is making a difference in the community today and for the future.
Feature Story2ndSignal TribuneFighting– and living– in Vietnam: Ahead of Veterans Day Parade, LBUSD member recalls living in Vietnam villages during warSebastian Echeverry
Feature Story3rdWinters Express"There's (almost) a new sheriff in town"Matthew Keys
Columns1stThe RecorderA Criminal Waste of SpaceWilliam BedsworthReally fun and well-created columns.
Columns2ndGV WireStop the Spin. Give Us the Truth on High-Speed RailBill McEwenGreat writing. Clear and compelling.
Columns3rdGV Wire‘Sweet’ Holiday Sounds Break Heart of Mom With Excluded SonBill McEwenTwo very different columns.
Columns4thVoice of OCHomelessness in Orange CountyNorberto Santana, Jr.Great writing.
Columns5thLong Beach PostMy long ago would-be molester & An in-house confession that went a sin too farTim GrobatyThe two columns were quite similar but compelling.
Home Page Layout & Design1stCALmattersCALmatters Home PageJohn Osborn D'Agostino, David Lesher, Marcia ParkerSolid/effective layout, design and headline use. Good variety of photos and colors. Font works fine. Not overly creative, but most effective of the submissions. It's the best Home Page Layout & Design of entries, for both desktop and mobile versions.
Home Page Layout & Design2ndVoice of OCVoice of OCSonya QuickA pleasant surprise. Good/effective design despite only a few stories on the homepage. Like how the lead photo is displayed; good use of secondary photos and headlines (though in latter, font is a little big). Strong on mobile as well as desktop.
Home Page Layout & Design3rdWinters ExpressHomepage for Winters ExpressMatthew Keys, Taylor Buley, Crystal ApiladoDecent design overall. Like the strong main photo, but might be a little big — detracts a bit from other content below. Pretty easy to navigate but they sure do have a lot of stories on homepage. Good variety of content though. Desktop is a little better than mobile.
Home Page Layout & Design4thSacramento Business JournalHome Page Layout & DesignStephanie HaysLayout presents a good variety of content but comes off as cluttered in some places. Good separation between sections, but maybe cramming too many stories on homepage. Top ad a bit too large. Like the content variety. Little easier to navigate on mobile than desktop.
Story Presentation Page Layout & Design1stThe Mercury News/East Bay Times'You just gotta get out of here'Pai, Matthias Gafni, Julia Prodis Sulek, Randy VasquezJust amazing. I like how this story goes above just embedding clips from body cameras. I like how the reporter(s) went back to the people impacted that night for interviews, to show a before and after element to the story. I feel like everyone in California and beyond should read this story and take these lessons to heart. Great job!
Story Presentation Page Layout & Design2ndThe San Diego Union-TribuneImmigration projectUnion-Tribune StaffThis story goes beyond the politics to tell true stories of immigrants. I liked not only the use of video intermixed with the words, but how this story was presented on the website, the ability to take it all in or just pieces of it. Great job!
Story Presentation Page Layout & Design3rdThe Press DemocratBroken: A Year in the Life of Steve & MichelleErik CastroThis was a very compelling story, and telling it visually with the large photos was the right way to tell it.
Story Presentation Page Layout & Design4thGV WireWho Runs CaliforniaJesse Buglione, Hannah ReillyThe many different digital elements in this article gives the reader all the information (and perhaps more than) they could have wanted.
Story Presentation Page Layout & Design5thLos Angeles TimesLos Angeles Times Story Presentation & DesignLos Angeles Times staff
News Photo1stVentura County StarAirplane drops fire retardant on Woolsey FireJuan Carlo
News Photo2ndThe San Francisco ExaminerStorm surge waves in San Francisco Bay draw crowds, surfersKevin Hume, Deborah Petersen
News Photo3rdThe San Francisco ExaminerMayor-elect Breed declares victory at childhood elementary schoolKevin Hume
News Photo4thThe San Francisco ExaminerGolden State Warriors enjoy third hometown parade in four years, but could it be the last?Kevin Hume
News Photo5thPalo Alto WeeklyVigil for Christine Blasey FordVeronica Weber
News Photo1stTaft Midway DrillerFirefighters on roofDoug Keeler
News Photo2ndLong Beach PostCorrales MemorialThomas Cordova
News Photo3rdLong Beach PostWardlow CrashThomas Cordova
News Photo4thLong Beach PostFirefighters EmbraceThomas Cordova
News Photo5thThe Salinas CalifornianJumping for JoyAyrton Ostly
Feature Photo1stMountain View VoiceProviding a creative outlet in a high-tech worldMagali Gauthier
Feature Photo2ndLong Beach PostA Father's GriefThomas Cordova
Feature Photo3rdLong Beach PostMexika DancerThomas Cordova
Feature Photo4thMountain View VoiceHell's bells! Neighborhood outcry over church's mishapMagali Gauthier
Feature Photo5thLong Beach PostDad's Big DayThomas Cordova
Photo Story/Essay1stThe Mercury News/East Bay TimesLosing Paradise: A visual essay of the Camp FireDai Sugano, Paiching Wei, Karl Mondon, Randy VazquezA true multimedia package, complete with compelling photos and video. I felt like I was there and felt not only well informed, but had an emotional response to the story.
Photo Story/Essay2ndThe Mercury News/East Bay TimesLAST REFUGE: A Bay Area RV community bands together to fight City HallDai Sugano, Louis Hansen, Paiching Wei, Sarah Dussault
Photo Story/Essay3rdThe Press DemocratBroken: A Year in the life of Steve & MichelleErik Castro, Meg McConahey
Photo Story/Essay4thThe San Diego Union-TribuneCaravan ChroniclePhotography Staff
Photo Story/Essay5thSan Francisco ChronicleInside California's Worst WildfireChronicle Staff
Photo Story/Essay1stLong Beach PostAlford Family TragedyThomas CordovaA sad photo essay, but the photographer managed to convey strong emotion without making the viewer feel too intrusive. Well done.
Photo Story/Essay2ndMountain View VoiceGoogle WalkoutNatalia NazarovaGood variety and angles and the photographer was able to convey emotion as well.
Photo Story/Essay3rdVoice of OCAfter Not Seeing Children for at Least a Decade, Families Reunite in Santa AnaSpencer Custodio
Photo Story/Essay4thVoice of OCOrange County Honors Veterans at Heroes HallJulie Leopo
Photo Story/Essay5thThe RecordAmgen Tour of CaliforniaCalixtro Romias
Informational Graphic1stSacramento Business JournalSBJ Informational Graphic entriesStephanie HaysThis package was excellent. The Arts in Sacramento was my favorite. Really liked the way that the graphics stood out on their own and told the story, while adding clarity and tangible information to the reader. Great that the style matched with the story - highly colorful, artistic graphics and headers.
Informational Graphic2ndLos Angeles TimesSex and the City 20th AnniversaryKyle Kim, Kate Stanhope, Chris KellerNot a Sex and the City viewer, but I loved the style and flow of this infographic. The colors, the cosmo glasses fit the 'Sex and the City' theme - plus the small recaps of the relationships and suitors helped informed the uninitiated. The vertical flow also helps to keep things controlled and understandable regardless of device.
Informational Graphic3rdLos Angeles TimesDodger Stadium ShadeJoe FoxWow. Wow. Wow. This is excellent. The breadth of information packed into this is awesome. The modeling is great, the info is easily understood, plenty of interactivity to this infographic. My only issue, is that despite the Dodger Stadium models it doesn't feel like baseball. The style seems clinical and a little too white. Where the 'Sex and the City' entry matched its subject so well, I don't know if this did.
Informational Graphic4thSan Francisco ChronicleCalifornia Fire TrackerEmma O'Neill, Clint Wirtanen, Audrey DeBruine, Lucio VillaGreat map. Easily understood and clear in its execution. The ability to click through to stories was great and the addition of a newsletter signup made this one stand out over the other fire infographics.
Informational Graphic5thThe Press DemocratThe North Bay Fires from disaster to recoveryJanet BalickiThe use of videos and photos in these graphics was great. I wish there was more connection to the larger story with hyperlinks, and I also am worried about the usability on mobile, but very well executed and each contained great information
Informational Graphic1stVoice of OCMillions in ‘Dark Money’ Flowing to OC Congressional RacesSonya Quick, Nick Gerda
Informational Graphic2ndGV WirePros and Cons of Measure PAlexis DeSha
Informational Graphic3rdLong Beach PostSafe Streets: Pedestrian-involved collisionsDennis Dean
Informational Graphic4thThe RecorderUnder the Hood of Uber Legal's Revamp: A TimelineCaroline Spiezio, David Palmer
Informational Graphic5thVoice of OCTransportation Officials: Gas Tax Repeal Would Cut Bus Service 11 PercentSonya Quick
Video Journalism-News1stThe TribuneSLO County Jail inmate died naked on the floor as deputies watched, chilling video showsMatt Fountain, Joe Johnston, David MiddlecampPowerful story vital to the community that best told through the visuals.
Video Journalism-News2ndThe Press DemocratWildfire devastation: Before and AfterChad SurmickGreat use of technology to communicate the scope of a disaster that's hard to fathom.
Video Journalism-News3rdThe Sacramento BeeWhen Paradise became hell: The story of the Camp Fire in Northern CaliforniaAlyssa Hodenfield, Hector Amezcua, Renée C. Byer, Michelle Inez SimonComprehensive approach full of interesting behind-the-story insight.
Video Journalism-News4thThe Mercury News/East Bay TimesSaia's PromiseDai Sugano, Marisa KendallCinematic. Great job putting a human face on a systemic Bay Area problem.
Video Journalism-News5thVentura County StarDispatchers recall flood of calls during Thomas FireAnthony Plascencia, Cheri CarlsonUnique perspective.
Video Journalism-News1stTurlock JournalTurlock tent city clean outFrankie Tovar"Turlock Tent City Clean Out" is local reporting at its best. The video captures the issue and showcases the real people affected by homelessness. Compelling interviews and images help tell the story.
Video Journalism-News2ndSanta Maria Times'NeuroBoxing' designed to help fight off effects of Parkinson's diseaseSergio Ruiz"'NeuroBoxing' designed to help fight off effects of Parkinson's disease" tells the story of a community that is rarely in the spotlight. The video gives us a profound look at the challenges faced by those with Parkinson's.
Video Journalism-News3rdLong Beach PostJim DannoThomas Cordova"Meet Jim Danno" is a delightful profile of one man whose job affects so many. The video captured his work ethic and personality and accomplished the incredible feat of making the public aware of someone whose work is not widely seen.
Video Journalism-News4thThe Salinas CalifornianGoing homeKate Cimini, Chelcey Adami, Eduardo Cuevas“Going Home” is the story of one immigrant woman’s search of the American Dream. The interviews, sound and imagery give us a sincere look into the struggles and triumphs that come with those who feel forced to flee their countries.
Video Journalism-News5thLong Beach PostMaxwell Wilson CHOCThomas Cordova"Maxwell Wilson, 7, makes handmade books" is a heartwarming reminder that even in times of negativity and darkness, bright stories still exist. The video highlights precocious Maxwell and his charming drawings and reminds the audience of goodness in the world.
Video Journalism-Other1stSan Francisco ChronicleFinding JordanGuy Wathen, Manjula Varghese
Video Journalism-Other2ndPalo Alto WeeklyA vibrant lifeVeronica Weber
Video Journalism-Other3rdThe San Diego Union-TribuneBurned trainer Herrick, horse travel fire-recovery road togetherHoward Lipin, John Kelley, Bryce Miller
Video Journalism-Other4thThe TribuneHere is your first, awesome look at the newly renovated Pismo Beach PierJoe Johnston
Video Journalism-Other5thThe Sacramento BeeRoseville Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha despite fear of hate crimesAkira Olivia Kumamoto
Video Journalism-Other1stCALmattersCNPA Climate ChangeJulie Cart, Byrhonda Lyons, CALmatters StaffExplaining California’s war on climate change in fewer than five minutes is no easy task. But this video does so in an engaging, effective way. With a narrator that viewers immediately know they can trust, high-quality, easy to understand animated graphics that unravel complex concepts, and photographs that tell the story of the present and the past, this video packs everything you need to know into one package. The opening shots of the smog days of old in California was a particularly compelling way to set the stage for the story. Nice work!
Video Journalism-Other2ndLong Beach PostIn The Studio with Oaxaca-born artist, Narsiso MartinezMark HillThis is a beautiful piece that brings viewers an inside look of an artist at work. With high-quality cinematography, the videographer makes rewarding creative choices, alternating between the broad view, and zooming in on crucial details. The artist proves to be a calming narrator, and the music complements the topic well.
Video Journalism-Other3rdTurlock JournalStudio209: Civil War Reenactment In Knights FerryFrankie TovarA well-executed and high-quality video that makes viewers feel like they are back in the 1800s. The video not only skillfully captures the war reenactment scenes, but also the reasons these history buffs grow beards, dress up in period costumes and re-fight the Civil War. The sound quality is so accurate that it can make a viewer jump when the cannons blast. The narrator asks questions that readers want to know, and yes, it did help that with a bushy beard, he looked like he fit the part!
Video Journalism-Other4thCALmattersCNPA Police shootingBryhonda Lyons, Laurel Rosenhall, Vicki Haddock Alternating between chilling shooting video, and the highlighting of legal documents, this video tackles a crucial topic. However, it would have benefited from a more cohesive story line and better technical quality.
Video Journalism-Other5thLong Beach PostLong Beach Pie TownChip FiguracionThis video starts off strong and delightfully, providing close-ups of pie-making that makes your mouth water. The camera work and narration are strong, and the slow motion is a nice touch. However, it was impossible to not be distracted by the unfortunate background noise that dominated a good portion of the video Still, it makes you want to go out right away and devour a piece pie.
Video Journalism-Other1stGV WireThis Video Brings the Cost of Freedom HomeJamie OuversonWonderful topic with terrific production values. Emotional and meaningful work.
Video Journalism-Other2ndGV Wire12 Days of Giving: Reading HeartJahziel TelloWell edited and concise effort in telling a worthwhile story. Great production quality as well.
Video Journalism-Other3rdSignal TribuneLBCC journalism advisor retires after 30 academic years teachingDenny CristalesConcise story-telling and compelling content.
Video Journalism-Other4thSignal TribunePTSD-plagued combat veterans and sensitive animals are among those impacted by Fourth of July fireworksDenny Cristales
Video Journalism-Other5thClaremont CourierIs Big Bear Lake going dry?Peter Weinberger

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