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2020 California Journalism Awards Print In-Depth Reporting Contest Winners – Dailies: 15,001 – 50,000

2020 California Journalism Awards
Print In-Depth Reporting Contest Winners

Dailies: 15,001 – 50,000


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
Dailies: 15,001 - 50,000In-Depth ReportingFirst PlaceThe Desert SunPalm SpringsDesert Sun: A small tribe considers building a big prisonThis story brought to life two years of secret negotiations and within weeks killed a $2 billion project to build a super-prison on remote Native American lands. Advocates said the prison would restore the drying Salton Sea, but as the story reported: "Experts also told The Desert Sun that one of the tribe’s main claims — that the project would help restore the Salton Sea — didn’t hold water." The plan had been to pump water from an underground aquifer to the prison, and then treat it and send it back to Salton, a plan also pooh-poohed by experts interviewed by this journalistic team. Great use of California's Open Records Act.Rebecca Plevin, Amanda Ulrich, Mark Olalde
Dailies: 15,001 - 50,000In-Depth ReportingSecond PlaceThe Desert SunPalm SpringsDesert Sun: COVID-19's effects in Riverside County correctional facilitiesComprehensive look at an invisible population and how the pandemic had ravaged jails. The story raised questions about whether during a pandemic it's ethical or legal to jail people who are not yet convicted.Christopher Damien,
Dailies: 15,001 - 50,000In-Depth ReportingThird PlaceThe Modesto BeeModestoA tragic end to a tragic life: Sex trafficking victim dies after defendant sentencedA heartrending account of a lifelong abuse victim who accidentally overdosed before learning of her abuser's legal disposition.Erin Tracy
Dailies: 15,001 - 50,000In-Depth ReportingFourth PlaceThe Modesto BeeModestoModesto-area companies got millions in taxpayer coronavirus aid. Who got the most?A detailed look at which companies were profiting off taxpayer dollars awarded during the pandemic. Among the recipients was the Los Angeles Lakers. The graphic was excellent in showing who got what and how many jobs were spared.
Marijke Rowland, Kristina Karisch
Dailies: 15,001 - 50,000In-Depth ReportingFifth PlaceThe Press DemocratSanta RosaPress Democrat coverage of Sonoma County homeless crisis in 2020This massive collection of stories showcased shortfalls in government efforts to address Sonoma County's largest homeless crisis ever and uneven results of those eventual efforts.
Press Democrat staff