2022 California Journalism Awards - Digital Division

Writing ( Monthly Unique Visitors: 100,001-400,000) Back

  • Place Name: First Place
    Contestant Name: Long Beach Post
    Entry Title: A mother’s quest to save her homeless son from mental illness is met with a system in crisis
    Entry Credit: Jeremiah Dobruck, Melissa Evans
    Judge Comment: None
  • Place Name: Second Place
    Contestant Name: Santa Barbara Independent
    Entry Title: The Backstory: What’s Behind UCSB’s Wall of Silence?
    Entry Credit: Tyler Hayden
    Judge Comment: None
  • Place Name: Third Place
    Contestant Name: Long Beach Post
    Entry Title: Don’t forget the abused little boy behind a convicted killer, family says
    Entry Credit: Jeremiah Dobruck
    Judge Comment: None
  • Competition Comment: I've selected "A Mother's Quest to Find Her Homeless Son" for first place because it's the ideal combination of writing and great subject material. The mother's search for her son is the driving force of the story as she navigates an almost totally broken mental health system. The story has an engaging beginning, an informative middle, and a hopeful if tentative resolution. Well done! As a judge in the writing category, I was expecting more opinionated pieces like "What's Behind UCSB's Wall of Silence?" a classic three-part column that examines the past, present and future of the university's PR department, which as the writer notes is one of the largest "newsrooms" in Santa Barbara. The writing is humorous even as it breaks real news, such as the university president's alleged hit-and-run accident with a skateboarder. I would bet this columnist has a loyal following. I judged this second mainly because the winning entry has superior subject material. I placed "Don't Forget the Abused Boy Behind the Convicted Killer" in third because while it has superior subject material--the convicted killer had his hand placed in boiling water by an abusive foster parent as a young boy--the writer could have provided more context to the story, namely the growing body of evidence that links childhood abuse to later violent behavior as an adult.