2018 California Journalism Awards - Digital Division

In-Depth Reporting ( Monthly Unique Visitors: 200,001 & over)Back

  • Place Name: First Place
    Contestant Name: San Francisco Chronicle
    Entry Title: The Miracle Cell
    Entry Credit: Erin Allday, Joaquin Palomino, Audrey DeBruine, Manjula Varghese
    Judge Comment: The 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.
  • Place Name: Second Place
    Contestant Name: Ventura County Star
    Entry Title: Fire coverage
    Entry Credit: Staff
    Judge Comment: Nice 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
  • Place Name: Third Place
    Contestant Name: The Mercury News/East Bay Times
    Entry Title: Health care coverage -- Lisa Krieger
    Entry Credit: Lisa M. Krieger
    Judge Comment: These 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.
  • Place Name: Fourth Place
    Contestant Name: Ventura County Star
    Entry Title: Covering Homelessness
    Entry Credit: Arlene Martinez
    Judge Comment: Martinez'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.
  • Place Name: Fifth Place
    Contestant Name: Palo Alto Weekly
    Entry Title: The meaning of 'middle class'
    Entry Credit: Fiona Kelliher, Jamey Padojino, Veronica Weber
    Judge Comment: I 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.