The Palo Alto Weekly was named the best large weekly newspaper in the state in the California Journalism Awards competition on Saturday, May 4, in Long Beach. The honor, presented by the California News Publishers Association, was one of a raft of awards for the community media outlet.
For the first time in the contest's history, the Weekly's digital work, published primarily on PaloAltoOnline.com, competed against that of metropolitan dailies and other news outlets whose websites receive more than 200,000 unique visitors a month — sites that include the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and others.
The Palo Alto Weekly was one of few weekly papers in the contest to compete on that level, receiving six awards for works that placed in the top five of their categories.
In the contest's print categories, the Weekly, which employs a newsroom staff of 11 journalists under Editor-in-Chief Jocelyn Dong, went toe-to-toe with other weekly newspapers with print circulations of more than 25,000.
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 contest covered work done in 2018.
Among the judges' comments on the staff’s work: "The finest example of humanizing a broader issue among many great entries attempting to do so"; "Good in depth coverage of an obviously very difficult breaking news story"; "Thorough, and well-written"; "The presentation of this investigation is particularly impressive. The sidebars effectively gives weight to the side issues and helps guide the reader to better understand the issues and consequences."
This year's awards in the digital division were for:
• Breaking News (second place): "Cold case solved: the Arlis Perry murder," Weekly staff
• Video Journalism (second place): "A vibrant life," Photographer/Videographer Veronica Weber
• Feature Story, digital (third place): "Sharing the kids: How Harley Farms became California's most popular goat farm," Writer Kali Shiloh
• Coverage of Education (fourth place): "The Ravenswood City School District's financial crisis," Staff Writer Elena Kadvany
• In-Depth Reporting (fifth place): "The meaning of 'middle class,'" Editorial Intern Fiona Kelliher, Digital Editor Jamey Padojino and Associate Editor Linda Taaffe
• News Photo (fifth place): "Vigil for Christine Blasey Ford," Photographer/Videographer Veronica Weber
This year's awards in the print division were for:
• General Excellence (first place), Weekly staff
• Information Graphic (first place): "The year in numbers," Associate Editor Linda Taaffe and Design Director Kristin Brown
• Coverage of Land Use (second place): "Addressing the housing crisis," Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner
• Best Editorial Comment (second place): "The stealth agenda of the President Hotel," Publisher Bill Johnson
• Feature Story (second place): "More than the baby blues," Staff Writer Elena Kadvany
• Feature photo (second place): "Octogenarian welder," Photographer/Videographer Veronica Weber
• Coverage of Local Government (third place): "The shrinking council," Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner
• Best Editorial Comment (third place): "Unprecedented obfuscation," Publisher Bill Johnson
• Feature photo (third place): "Never forget," Photographer/Videographer Veronica Weber
• Investigative reporting (fifth place): "Secret dealings over the President Hotel," Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner
The Weekly's sister papers on the Midpeninsula also took home honors Saturday: The Mountain View Voice won 23 awards in the digital and print divisions, and the Almanac received 12 print awards. In the East Bay, the Pleasanton Weekly garnered seven awards.
Founded in 1979 by Bill Johnson and a group of investors, the Palo Alto Weekly produces a Friday print edition; a daily e-edition, Express; and the news and community website PaloAltoOnline.com, which hosts Town Square, the online discussion forum, among other features. PaloAltoOnline.com can also be accessed through the iPhone and Android apps, "Palo Alto." The Weekly's social-media sites include Twitter.com/paloaltoweekly, Facebook.com/paloaltoonline and Instagram/paloaltoonline.
The Weekly's parent company is Embarcadero Media, which is funded by advertising revenue and by readers' subscriptions. Information about subscriptions is posted at PaloAltoOnline.com/subscribe.
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.