2021 California Journalism Awards - Print Division

Coverage of Local Government ( Weeklies: 11,001 - 25,000) Back

  • Place Name: First Place
    Contestant Name: Pacific Sun
    Entry Title: Sausalito Police Arrest Journalist Covering Homelessness
    Entry Credit: Nikki Silverstein
    Judge Comment: This story should disturb anyone who cherishes living in a democracy. Which is why I appreciate even more that the coverage appears balanced, fair, and accurate — and powerfully bolstered by a video taken at the scene (though I would have liked to have seen what happened leading up to Portje being placed on the ground by the police). Nevertheless, it's a chilling lesson about how some overzealous members of law enforcement can manipulate circumstances to create false narratives, while disregarding First Amendment rights. The stories are well-reported, written in an even-handed manner, and include the right amount of boilerplate in each to catch readers up with the next story.
  • Place Name: Second Place
    Contestant Name: Comstock's Magazine
    Entry Title: Powering Through the Pandemic
    Entry Credit: Steven Yoder
    Judge Comment: Well-researched and fascinating piece about how some California cities overcame challenges during the pandemic. This article is tightly written and edited (thank you! because it could have gone on and on:, and it didn't), filled with solid examples of lessons learned, and interesting enough that even casual readers will benefit from the insights. Nice job, excellent headline and deck, and superlative graphic — all of which really pulled me in.
  • Place Name: Third Place
    Contestant Name: Comstock's Magazine
    Entry Title: Rise and Shine
    Entry Credit: Laurie Lauletta-Boshart
    Judge Comment: Nicely written piece on elected female leaders in the Sacramento area. This kind of story shines because of interesting quotes and details about the women profiled; I got a great sense of their personalities because of the writer's attention to both. Fine illustration, catchy headline and deck. Great package all around.
  • Place Name: Fourth Place
    Contestant Name: Bohemian
    Entry Title: Bad Blood: Santa Rosa Vandalism Sparks Divergent Investigations
    Entry Credit: Chelsea Kurnick, Will Carruthers
    Judge Comment: Would that the photo of the blood-stained sculptured hand was the lead photo from Day 1, Part 1, of this Five Part Series, instead of the three activists! But, overall, wow! This story has everything, from a severed pig's head to pig's blood to mysteries to thorny First Amendment issues. Thoroughly reported, great local interest, some powerful photography. I would have pumped up the writing a bit, but good effort by all.
  • Place Name: Fifth Place
    Contestant Name: The Almanac
    Entry Title: Woodside, Portola Valley brace for wildfire season
    Entry Credit: Angela Swartz
    Judge Comment: The lead of this story was refreshing; it immediately captured my interest about a person worried about a reality many Californians increasingly face, then expands into the details of the precautions these cities are taking. I'm also aware, as a Bay Area resident, about the towns' precarious locations as fire traps. It's a well-researched, well-written and edited piece for local residents. It's also kinda long; I might have split this into a two-part series. But overall: good effort, clean, authoritative writing, topical subject.