2018 California Journalism Awards - Print Division

Feature Story ( Weeklies: 25,001 & over)Back

  • Place Name: First Place
    Contestant Name: Santa Barbara Independent
    Entry Title: Cracking Mars
    Entry Credit: Tyler Hayden
    Judge Comment: Tyler Hayden got a feature story assignment of a lifetime and executed the story wonderfully. Hayden managed to make a complicated topic -- a NASA mission at an area Air Force base -- understandable for the reader with accessible writing and reporting. He peppers in fun phrases throughout ("symphonies of mathematical precision") and includes some nice feature story elements, such as a Mars factbox. I was most amused by a photo credit of the Mars surface, courtesy NASA. Maybe someday we'll get a photojournalist up there!
  • Place Name: Second Place
    Contestant Name: Palo Alto Weekly
    Entry Title: More than the baby blues
    Entry Credit: Elena Kadvany
    Judge Comment: This story is perhaps the finest example of humanizing a broader issue among many great entries attempting to do so. There are many jarring, interesting details of reporting all throughout -- readers hear from moms, a clinical psychologist and an ongoing effort within state government to improve maternal mental health care. The sidebar about a related program and a box listing available health resources in the region were nice touches.
  • Place Name: Third Place
    Contestant Name: Good Times
    Entry Title: "A Tangled Future"
    Entry Credit: Lauren Hepler
    Judge Comment: This was an issues story done right: a lengthy dive (no pun intended) on the issue of whale entrapment rescuing on the Monterey Bay. The reporter does a good job anticipating what the reader is thinking; multiple times a certain passage would lead me to mentally pose a question, then I'd find the next passage would promptly detail and answer it. There are many, many factors at play in this story: climate change, human/whale interaction, shrinking federal conservation funding; Lauren Hepler does an admirable job weaving the topics together for an informative read.
  • Place Name: Fourth Place
    Contestant Name: Camarillo Acorn
    Entry Title: Lure of big find drives treasure hunters to Gold Coast
    Entry Credit: Hector Gonzalez
    Judge Comment: Treasure hunting, you might be surprised to learn, is not some boring hobby: Gonzalez finds practitioners who find and return wedding rings, stumble upon $6,000 of treasury bonds and donate collected aluminum to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. This was a well-written, fun read. You get the sense this story spurred readers to go out and give treasure hunting a try for themselves.
  • Place Name: Fifth Place
    Contestant Name: The Salinas Californian
    Entry Title: Parenting behind bars
    Entry Credit: Joe Szydlowski
    Judge Comment: What kind of interactions do incarcerated parents have with their children? This story from Joe Szydlowski answers that in a respectful, empathetic way. The accompanying photo gallery was very touching.