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Palo Alto Weekly garners 16 awards in Bay Area competition

Peninsula Press Club contest honors excellence in journalism among more than 400 entries

The Palo Alto Weekly won 16 awards at the Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards luncheon Saturday, Dec. 5, including first place for overall excellence for non-daily newspapers.

The Weekly's 11 reporters and editors received five first-place and seven second-place awards and four third-place honors among non-daily newspapers in 14 categories, from breaking news and entertainment to investigative reporting.

The Bay Area competition is sponsored by the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club and is open to newspaper, television, radio, web and other media professionals in 11 counties. This year's contest covered work completed in 2014 from more that 400 entries. The winners were selected by press clubs in California and outside of the state.

"Local journalism is at heart a study of place and an affirmation that place matters," said keynote speaker Michael Howerton, editor-in-chief of the San Francisco Examiner.

The Weekly took first place for breaking news ("Ruling paves the way for Buena Vista's closure" by City Hall Reporter Gennady Sheyner); editorial ("The school board's nadir," Publisher Bill Johnson); sports action photography ("Little Rodeo," Staff Photographer Veronica Weber); specialty feature ("YouTube and beyond," Arts and Entertainment Editor Elizabeth Schwyzer); and overall excellence (Editor-in-Chief Jocelyn Dong and the Palo Alto Weekly staff).

The paper won second-place awards for investigative reporting by contributing writer Terri Lobdell ("Teen dating hell: Are our schools ready when relationships turn violent"); feature of a light nature by Sheyner ("Style Wars"); entertainment by Schwyzer ("The ecstasy of embodiment"); editorial by Johnson ("A sadly misguided board"); continuing coverage by Education Reporter Elena Kadvany ("Entrepreneurial educator"); feature of a serious nature by General Assignment Staff Writer Sue Dremann ("Unfriendly skies"); and series by Dremann ("When help is refused").

Third-place wins went to Sheyner for technology and business reporting ("California Avenue: Making a new downtown") and analysis/investigative reporting ("The battle for City Hall"); news story by Kadvany ("In the wake: Teens respond with messages of hope, change"); and feature of a serious nature by retired Associate Editor Carol Blitzer ("Control over clutter").

In May, the Weekly was recognized as the best in its class of newspapers statewide. Competing against other large weekly newspapers, the 35-year-old publication received the General Excellence award from the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

Founded in 1979 by Publisher Bill Johnson, the Palo Alto Weekly produces a Friday print edition; a daily e-edition, Express; a weekend entertainment e-edition, Weekend Express; and the news and community website PaloAltoOnline.com, which hosts Town Square, the online discussion forum, among other features.

Palo Alto Online news and sports can also be accessed through Facebook, Twitter and the app, "Palo Alto."

Saturday's awards luncheon, the press club's 38th annual event, took place in Foster City. Scholarships were also given by the press club.

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