2021 California Journalism Awards - Print Division

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

  • Place Name: First Place
    Contestant Name: Good Times
    Entry Title: "The Secret Life of Sea Snails"
    Entry Credit: Erin Malsbury
    Judge Comment: I loved everything about this story. The writing was terrific, the story was full of context and supported by great interviews. Most of all, I thought the subject was unique and fun and unexpected. I hadn't gone into judging expecting my top pick would be a story about sea snails.
  • Place Name: Second Place
    Contestant Name: Monterey County Weekly
    Entry Title: Deetjen’s Inn: a rare piece of built history on the Big Sur coast.
    Entry Credit: Tajha Chappellet-Lanier
    Judge Comment: This could have been a simple story about a Big Sur gem being rescued from certain closure -- instead, the writer turned the piece into a meditation about how one person's vision can persist through time.
  • Place Name: Third Place
    Contestant Name: Good Times
    Entry Title: "Planning Stages"
    Entry Credit: Steve Palopoli
    Judge Comment: Season previews can sometimes land with all the energy of a press release. That's not the case here. Instead, the writer gives us insight into how the planners are thinking about the future -- and helps us understand the stakes involved -- after more than a year of pandemic shutdowns.
  • Place Name: Fourth Place
    Contestant Name: San Quentin News
    Entry Title: Mental Wellness Month addresses psychological self-care
    Entry Credit: Juan Haines
    Judge Comment: This topic is both hugely important and woefully underreported. What's more, the writer doesn't just offer a list of grim statistics. Instead, he illustrates the topic with a wrenching anecdote (the man who had to call for help for his roommate) and interviews with people who experienced depression in prison first hand.
  • Place Name: Fifth Place
    Contestant Name: Simi Valley Acorn
    Entry Title: Ridin’ and Ropin’ Cattle, ranching tradition lives on in Simi Hills
    Entry Credit: Dawn Megli
    Judge Comment: I loved this slice-of-life piece. The writing was lively and packed with lots of small, but impactful scenes -- like 20-year-old cowgirl Tegan Thomason performing castrations "with a knife and bare hands." I also loved the kicker: “Everybody wants to be a cowboy until it’s time to do cowboy things." That's the truth.