The Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Online garnered 25 awards in the annual California Journalism Awards competition, including second place for general excellence among the state's largest weekly newspapers, it was announced on Tuesday. It was the Weekly's sixth time in the past nine years to be ranked either first or second in general excellence by the out-of-state judges.
The contest considered work that had been published in 2020.
First-place recognition went to reporter Gennady Sheyner for his coverage of the 2020 election; reporter Sue Dremann for her feature story on the Palo Alto couple who got lost in the wilderness for nine days and also for an article on families grappling with separation during the pandemic; former reporter Elena Kadvany for her coverage of local education; and Associate Editor Linda Taaffe and Design Manager Kristin Brown for their special publication, Info Palo Alto.
The Weekly's coverage of the public health issues of the pandemic and also COVID-19's impact on businesses both earned second place finishes, as did Arts & Entertainment coverage by A&E Editor Karla Kane, a portrait of Animal Control Officer William Warrior by Chief Visual Journalist Magali Gauthier, and a feature story on the underground food movement by Kadvany. Third through fifth place honors were given across several other additional categories.
"These awards are a tremendous affirmation of the quality of our reporting, photography, editing and design," said Bill Johnson, publisher of the Weekly. "But most importantly, they celebrate the work of all journalists in California who have overcome many personal and professional obstacles and made so many sacrifices this unprecedented last year to bring the news to our communities."
The Weekly's sister publications also earned significant recognition, including third-place general excellence for the Mountain View Voice, fifth place in the same category for The Almanac, and fourth place general excellence for PleasantonWeekly.com, among numerous other categories. The Six Fifty, a lifestyle website geared for millennial readers, garnered three awards.
Overall, this year's journalism contest received more than 3,000 entries from print, digital and campus publications, an increase over the prior year's total.
The Weekly's work competed against other weekly publications across the state with circulations of more than 25,000.