Weekly wins top prizes at statewide journalism contest

Awards cover business news, local government coverage, editorials, investigative reporting

The Palo Alto Weekly's staff took home the top prizes in breaking news, education, business news, editorial comment and design at the 2017 California Journalism Awards on Saturday, April 14, in Sonoma.

The community newspaper also received five second-place awards in arts and entertainment, coverage of local government, editorial comment, in-depth reporting and investigative reporting. They were among a total of 15 awards and 10 finalist entries for the Weekly in the statewide contest hosted by the California News Publishers Association.

Journalists from states outside of California selected the winners of the annual competition from among daily, weekly and school newspapers out of thousands of entries.

The Weekly, which employs a newsroom staff of 11 journalists under Editor-in-Chief Jocelyn Dong, competed against other weekly newspapers with circulations of more than 25,000.

About Eric He and Dong's first-place story about the future of the car industry in Silicon Valley, judges commented: "Excellent graphics, cover! Loaded with info, some technical, competition for jobs, hot new topic, good writing, varied information."

About the newspaper's first-place front-page layouts and design, judges said there was an "excellent use of words that not only tell the story, but work well with the very creative & well-executed graphics."

About Veronica Weber and Dong's second-place story on homelessness in Palo Alto, judges said the article "contrasted the challenges that a relatively affluent community faces in dealing with these, humanizing the concerns surrounding the issue by really showing the personal impacts."

About Elena Kadvany's second-place investigative reporting story on the school district's failure to reopen union negotiations the judges wrote: "It just shows that print journalism can still have an impact in local communities striving to keep government agencies honest and accountable to the people they serve -- or potentially have them suffer the consequences if they don't."

The work reviewed was published in 2017.

The award-winning articles and columns were:

• Coverage of Business News, first place: Detroit dethroned? by Eric He and Jocelyn Dong

• Online Breaking News Coverage, first place: San Francisquito Creek nears flood levels by staff

• Coverage of Youth and Education, first place: Sexual misconduct in Palo Alto schools by Elena Kadvany

• Front Page Layout and Design, first place: Paul Llewellyn, Shannon Corey, Doug Young

• Editorial comment, first place: Time for McGee to go by Bill Johnson

• Editorial Comment, second place: Deja vu for school district by Bill Johnson

• In-Depth Reporting, second place: Housing for the homeless by Jocelyn Dong and Veronica Weber

• Investigative Reporting, second place: The $6 million blunder by Elena Kadvany

• Arts & Entertainment Coverage, second place: Palo Alto Weekly editions for March 24 and March 31 by Karla Kane, staff

• Coverage of Local Government, second place: Coming into focus by Gennady Sheyner

• Editorial Comment, third place: A council adrift by Bill Johnson

• Video Journalism, third place: A new study to treat depression by Veronica Weber

• Inside Page Layout & Design, third place: Diane Haas and Doug Young

• Online General Excellence, third place

• Land-Use Reporting, third place: Stanford's big plans by Gennady Sheyner

Finalist entries:

• General Excellence

• Breaking News: $40M deal saves Buena Vista mobile homes by Sue Dremann

• Special Section: Delish by Elena Kadvany, staff

• Enterprise News Story or Series: Guardians of the Code by Gennady Sheyner

• Special Section Cover: Home + Garden Design by Elizabeth Lorenz, staff

• In-Depth Reporting: Sexual misconduct in Palo Alto schools by Elena Kadvany

• Coverage of Business News: Short on staff by Elena Kadvany

• Online Breaking News: Superintendent Max McGee resigns by Elena Kadvany

• Public Service Journalism: The $6 million blunder by Elena Kadvany and Bill Johnson

• Feature Story: The wave that changed the world by Linda Taaffe

Founded in 1979 by Publisher and CEO Bill Johnson, the Palo Alto Weekly produces a Friday print edition; a daily e-edition, Express; a weekly A&E e-edition, Weekend Express; and the news and community website, which hosts Town Square, the online discussion forum, among other features. can also be accessed through the iPhone and Android apps, "Palo Alto." The Weekly's social-media sites include and

The California News Publishers Association is a nonprofit trade association for more than 800 publications. Founded in 1888, it represents daily and weekly newspapers and news websites throughout California.


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.


12 people like this
Posted by Amazing, congrats to the Weekly staff!
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 16, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Amazing, congrats to the Weekly staff! is a registered user.

This is a very impressive result. Congratulations to all the folks who work so hard to bring us an excellent, informative paper every week. Bill J won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in Editorial Comment??! And awards were spread across the writers, designers, etc. Really, really impressive. Congrats again.

5 people like this
Posted by Ken Horowitz
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 17, 2018 at 8:01 am

Congratulations to Gennady and Elena. Democracy in Action (:

1 person likes this
Posted by I am shocked the weekly won
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 17, 2018 at 10:48 am

LOL. So the good old boy network of small town advertising journals got together and divided up some prizes among themselves. Why doesn’t the weekly cover the entire event instead of just tooting it’s own horn???
So bill Johnson takes credit for the editorials. Not surprising given that many of these “ editorials” are actually propaganda, pushing an agenda being peddled by Johnson, which is favorable to a certain number of very vocal women in the community.

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