The Palo Alto Weekly picked up five first-place and two second-place awards from the California Newspaper Publishers' Association Saturday while its sister paper, the Almanac, received a coveted general excellence award for mid-size weeklies statewide.
The Weekly received first-place awards for:
• Best Web site, for its community Web site, Palo Alto Online, which posts breaking news stories and includes the Town Square forum, blogs and other features.
• Freedom of Information, for its successful legal challenge to the City of Palo Alto's refusal to release information about punishment of officials involved in a Utilities Department scandal of mismanagement and inadequate supervision.
• Environmental reporting, for its year-long coverage of global warming by Sue Dremann, Don Kazak, Becky Trout, Molly Tanenbaum, Alexandria Rocha and Bill D'Agostino. A copy of the Weekly with Dremann's cover story was given to Al Gore when he visited the area.
• A special issue, the "Neighborhoods" publication edited by Assistant Editor Carol Blitzer.
• A photo essay by Chief Photographer Norbert von der Groeben.
It received second-place awards for overall sports coverage by Sports Editor Keith Peters and a sports story by contributor Craig Wentz.
The Almanac, which principally covers Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley and Woodside in south San Mateo County, received the general excellence award for overall quality, first-place awards for public service and a feature story, and a second-place award for freedom of information.
The Mountain View Voice, also a sister paper to the Weekly, was awarded a first place for columns by Editor Don Frances.
Other sister papers also won awards: The Pacific Sun in Marin County won first places for columns and a feature photo and a second-place for a special issue, and the Pleasanton Weekly won a second-place award for a business/financial story.