2020 California Journalism Awards - Print Division

In-Depth Reporting ( Dailies: 15,001 - 50,000)Back

  • Place Name: First Place
    Contestant Name: The Desert Sun
    Entry Title: Desert Sun: A small tribe considers building a big prison
    Entry Credit: Rebecca Plevin, Amanda Ulrich, Mark Olalde
    Judge Comment: This 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.
  • Place Name: Second Place
    Contestant Name: The Desert Sun
    Entry Title: Desert Sun: COVID-19's effects in Riverside County correctional facilities
    Entry Credit: Christopher Damien,
    Judge Comment: Comprehensive 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.
  • Place Name: Third Place
    Contestant Name: The Modesto Bee
    Entry Title: A tragic end to a tragic life: Sex trafficking victim dies after defendant sentenced
    Entry Credit: Erin Tracy
    Judge Comment: A heartrending account of a lifelong abuse victim who accidentally overdosed before learning of her abuser's legal disposition.
  • Place Name: Fourth Place
    Contestant Name: The Modesto Bee
    Entry Title: Modesto-area companies got millions in taxpayer coronavirus aid. Who got the most?
    Entry Credit: Marijke Rowland, Kristina Karisch
    Judge Comment: 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.
  • Place Name: Fifth Place
    Contestant Name: The Press Democrat
    Entry Title: Press Democrat coverage of Sonoma County homeless crisis in 2020
    Entry Credit: Press Democrat staff
    Judge Comment: This 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.