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2020 California Journalism Awards Digital Public Service Journalism Contest Winners – Monthly Unique Visitors: 100,000 & under

2020 California Journalism Awards
Digital Public Service Journalism Contest Winners

Monthly Unique Visitors: 100,000 & under


First-place and second-place plaques will be shipped directly to the winning publications in the coming weeks.

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

A complete list of all California Journalism Award winners will be provided on May 18th.


Circ Group(s)Category NameAwardOrganizationCityEntry TitleCommentsCredits
Monthly Unique Visitors: 100,000 & underPublic Service JournalismFirst PlacePleasanton WeeklyPleasanton2020 Tri-Valley candidate forum seriesProviding the public with access to local government and supporting democracy are some of the fundamentals of journalism, and the staff of the Pleasanton Weekly went above and beyond in their quest to fulfill their duty in those areas. Their reporting on the candidates, issues and forums was top-notch, and when compounded by the fact that they set up and moderated these forums and during a pandemic and while completing their "regular" jobs, it's almost unfathomable that the staff was able to accomplish this without having some wide variety of super powers. This is the type of journalism and newsroom that I will teach to my reporting public affairs students for years, as it represents the very best of what we can be and do as local journalists when we try hard enough to make it happen.
The design isn't fancy, but it doesn't have to be when the writing and reporting are as solid as it is here. This is good, old-fashioned reporting at its best, and the timeline behind it all again makes me wonder if super powers came into play. This team and the Pleasanton Weekly truly did its community a tremendous public service.
Jeremy Walsh, Gina Channell, Ryan Degan, Julia Baum, Cierra Bailey
Monthly Unique Visitors: 100,000 & underPublic Service JournalismSecond PlaceCapital & MainLos AngelesWhen COVID-19 Hit L.A. Nursing Homes, Where Was the County's Department of Public Health?This series stood out for its deep, thorough reporting, use of public records and data, reader-friendly layout (nice use of breakout quotes) and prolific hyperlinks, to name a few of its many standout features. This was easily the most comprehensive look I've seen into COVID-19's spread within nursing homes, and the effort that went into this is obvious. So is the public service effect of this story, as it's clear that Capital & Main (and largely Mr. Feingold) forced the county to take action (more than once) through its dogged and tireless pursuit of the truth. I am curious what the effect has been of C&M's investigation into the HFID, but even without knowing that, this work overall is a solid example of what public service journalism should be and do.Danny Feingold, Dan Ross
Monthly Unique Visitors: 100,000 & underPublic Service JournalismThird PlaceChicoSolChicoButte County Latinos hit hardest by pandemicThe public service effect of Ms. Layton's July article is impossible to miss in the subsequent two entries, and I applaud ChicoSol on its efforts to highlight a disparity and follow that reporting through. I will be interested in seeing the one-year story and will make sure to look for it. Ms. Layton's writing style was straightforward and approachable, and the story was not bogged down with data. I like the use of a narrative lede in the second article and found the main source a compelling "character" and found myself cheering for her group. This is classic and clean public service journalism.Leslie Layton
Monthly Unique Visitors: 100,000 & underPublic Service JournalismFourth PlaceThe Malibu TimesMalibuThe Woolsey Fire's Two-Year AnniversaryThis is solid and thorough reporting in a category with very stiff competition. I appreciated the structure of the series, with the recap and introduction stories preceding the bulk of the new information. Ms. Sawicki's firsthand knowledge of the fire, deep sourcing and methodical reporting provided readers with a large swath of information and very macro view of what has happened during the two years since (changes implemented for safety, updates from public officials, the lingering effect on nature and wildlife, etc.)Emily Sawicki
Monthly Unique Visitors: 100,000 & underPublic Service JournalismFifth PlaceCoachella Valley IndependentDaily DigestConsolidating the most important daily news items into a digestible and accessible form was a great idea and the reach and effect on the public was impressive, but the competition was fierce in this category. I have seen other types of news digests, but I really thought the editor's note in every issue was unique and a very user-friendly way to reach your audience.Jimmy Boegle