2020 California Journalism Awards - Print Division

Feature Story ( Weeklies: 4,301 - 11,000)Back

  • Place Name: First Place
    Contestant Name: The Sonoma Index-Tribune
    Entry Title: "Heavy Metal Under a Shroud of Silence"
    Entry Credit: Lorna Sheridan
    Judge Comment: Amazing story! Ms. Sheridan did a fantastic job of not only getting this scoop, but flushing out the details and backstory behind this unusual, but very entertaining pairing (Metallica and a winery, who would've thought?) The details in this piece truly made the story (the flurry of COVID-19 tests taken via different methods and sent to different labs, the owner's "Oh s**t" reaction when the band checked into the hotel) and only served to enhance an already thrilling piece of journalism. And finally, I loved the use of quotes and other media clips about the concert, followed by Bundschu's own personal feelings about watching this fantastic spectacle unfold as a vehicle to end the story.
  • Place Name: Second Place
    Contestant Name: Silicon Valley Business Journal
    Entry Title: Brain Power
    Entry Credit: Allison Levitsky
    Judge Comment: This lede took me right inside the classroom and quickly helped me to become interested in where this story was going. What a topic, and what an initiative! I'm sure there was plenty of dry news coverage on this topic, but by "introducing" readers to the faces of this neurodiverse initiatives, the reporter really helped draw me in and make me want to learn more about these programs and the people involved. The subjects in these stories represent people that don't usually show up in the news, and I appreciated getting to know them and the ways in which they're helping to shape the future. I think this article not only gave both a broad view and an inside look into this program, but it also provided other communities and employers with a toolkit to replicate the endeavor.
  • Place Name: Third Place
    Contestant Name: Silicon Valley Business Journal
    Entry Title: The Etsy-conomy
    Entry Credit: Lynn Stock
    Judge Comment: Great topic, especially amidst the pandemic, during which Etsy (and online shopping in general) has thrived. I like that the lede introduced me to all three of our subjects right away, and I was already looking forward to hearing each of their individual stories. Plus, by leading with all three, one wasn't made to feel like the star of the story and helped the piece feel like a true montage. Fun graphics, bold, bright photos and rich color and details helped propel this story forward, and I found myself rooting for these women to succeed (and bookmarking their Etsy shops.) Great piece.
  • Place Name: Fourth Place
    Contestant Name: San Marino Tribune
    Entry Title: 101-Year-Old Grows A Great Pumpkin
    Entry Credit: Mitch Lehman, Karin Esterhammer
    Judge Comment: Great lede, and what a fun story. Giant pumpkins and centenarians on their own make for great subjects, but both in one piece? I love the tongue-and-cheek tone to this story, and the fast pace of the piece seems to match spry Mae Powell's demeanor perfectly.The photos were also wonderful, and support sources only added to the appeal and charm of this story. This is classic and features reporting at its finest.
  • Place Name: Fifth Place
    Contestant Name: The Sonoma Index-Tribune
    Entry Title: "Tiger Mom: Marilyn Goode Talks Filmmaking Son's 'Tiger King' Phenomenon"
    Entry Credit: Christian Kallen
    Judge Comment: I was interested in this story from the jump. Who wouldn't want to read about the environmentalist mother of the man who directed "Tiger King?" The dichotomy is exciting even before first word of the lede, and the story behind the subject I was so interested in did not disappoint. Mr. Callan painted a rich picture of Eric Goode's backstory, through the eyes of his mother. And while he could have simply written a story about Eric Goode as told by Eric Goode, there was something especially tender in learning about the filmmaker first from his mother before letting Goode speak for himself. I especially enjoy how the piece felt like it came full-circle, beginning with Marilyn Goode's legacy as an environmentalist and ending with her son's efforts to capitalize on the momentum of "Tiger King" and do his own piece of great work for the environment. Solid work.