2021 California Journalism Awards - Print Division

In-Depth Reporting ( Dailies: 50,001 & over) Back

  • Place Name: First Place
    Contestant Name: Los Angeles Times
    Entry Title: Disease, Inequity and Resilience in South L.A.
    Entry Credit: Joe Mozingo, Francine Orr
    Judge Comment: Reporter Joe Mozingo and photographer Francine Orr's "Disease, Inequity and Resilience in South L.A." is heartbreaking and brutally honest about how unfair society can be. This series was developed during the worst of the pandemic and at a great health risk. Orr's photos are unrivaled in this category as is the presentation and Mozingo's storytelling. The series prompted more than $2 million in charitable foundation donations to the hospital and opened lawmakers' eyes to the inequities of Medicaid.
  • Place Name: Second Place
    Contestant Name: San Francisco Chronicle
    Entry Title: San Francisco Chronicle: Point Blank
    Entry Credit: Rachel Swan
    Judge Comment: Rachel Swan's taut narrative, "Point Blank," reconstructs two shootings (with video) over three years by the same police officer and the events leading up to them. Her digging lead the DA to finally act. By the end, the victim's mother settled a civil rights lawsuit for $4.9 million. The officer faces 17 years in prison.
  • Place Name: Third Place
    Contestant Name: Los Angeles Times
    Entry Title: How Drought Is Profoundly Changing Farms of the American West
    Entry Credit: Jaweed Kaleem
    Judge Comment: Jaweed Kaleem's Southwest drought stories chronicle how the plunging Lake Mead water level is affecting farmers, outdoors folk and cattle ranchers, and by extension you and me. Kaleem played it straight in a profile of a cattle rancher trying to produce a drought-resistant cow. These deeply personal stories capture this defining moment of the West and its new frontier. "How Drought Is Profoundly Changing Farms of the American West" is a treat to read.
  • Place Name: Fourth Place
    Contestant Name: The Mercury News/East Bay Times
    Entry Title: The Hunt For America's First COVID Deaths
    Entry Credit: Harriet Blair Rowan, Emily DeRuy
    Judge Comment: Harriet Blair Rowan and Emily DeRuy turned a data puzzle into an extremely personal story that redefined who might have been the first COVID-19 death in the U.S. with "The Hunt For America's First COVID Deaths." They started with CDC disparities and eventually used Kansas obituaries to find a 78-year-old great-grandmother in Leavenworth who died Jan. 9, 2020, weeks before the nation’s first officially recorded coronavirus death of a woman from San Jose. Special thanks to Bert Robinson and his methodical nomination letter on how the data came to light and the efforts the reporting pair made to understand the anomaly. I wish this background had been shared with readers. It's really, really cool.
  • Place Name: Fifth Place
    Contestant Name: The Sacramento Bee
    Entry Title: Deadly hazing at New Folsom prison
    Entry Credit: Wes Venteicher, Sam Stanton
    Judge Comment: Wes Venteicher and Sam Stanton's "Deadly hazing at New Folsom prison" exposed hazing and the toxic culture that led to the deaths of two correctional officers. Both officers had refused to turn a blind eye to the intolerance and criminality among their fellow correctional officers. Venteicher and Stanton's reporting resulted in the disciplining of 12 employees at the prison and included two who were set to be fired.