Sonoma Index-Tribune wins 13 awards at CNPA California Journalism Awards
The Index-Tribune was recognized Saturday by the California News Publishers Association with 13 awards, including the top award for Online General Excellence. “This stands above all the other websites in its class. The Index-Tribune does a phenomenal job of designing a website that makes navigating easy. Better yet, the journalism is solid,” read the judges’ comments attached to the first-place award.
Also awarded first place honors were entries in the Editorial Comment and Feature Photo categories. Jason Walsh’s editorial, “On Trump, and Free Press and Democracy,” was judged to be a “sharply written piece that pulls no punches.” Robbi Pengelly’s feature photo, “The Lights of Their Lives” showcased the annual tree-lighting ceremony staged by Hospice by the Bay. “Anyone can look at this photo and draw a connection to the moment. The lighting is perfect and the frame is beautifully captured,” the judges wrote.
Cumulatively, the Index-Tribune earned 13 awards in 12 categories at the annual CNPA California Journalism Awards, held May 4 in Long Beach.
The entries were judged against submissions from other weekly newspapers with circulations between 4,301 and 11,000. The award for Online General Excellence was decided between newspapers with between 40,001 and 200,000 monthly unique visitors.
Publisher Emily Charrier was pleased with the paper’s showing. “To win awards in so many categories shows the talent and range of our incredible newsroom. We all know the future of journalism is digital, and winning first place for Online General Excellence is a huge feather in our cap, especially as we continue to look for ways to enhance readers’ online experience. There are over 300 weekly newspapers in the state, and these awards prove that the I-T is one of the very best in California,” Charrier said.
The paper took second place for the Arts and Entertainment coverage in its “B” section, edited by managing editor Lorna Sheridan. “Sharp writing and headlines and comprehensive coverage of the local A&E scene,” the judges wrote.
Reporter Kate Williams was awarded second place for a feature story on the annual reenactment of Sonoma’s annual Bear Flag Revolt. “Here’s a history story where the past and present collide into a fascinating controversy.
The Index-Tribune lays out the whole story from all the angles and lets the reader draw their own conclusions,” the judges wrote.
Third place finishes were awarded in three categories: General Excellence, News Photo, and Feature Story. In the first category, judges were impressed with the Index-Tribune’s overall design, organization and succinct headlines. “Good sense of news and beat reporting, and of people and place,” their comments read. Photo editor Pengelly’s News Photo, “Paradise Lost,” was judged to be a “strong, poignant image of a family under stress.” Contributor Carole Kelleher’s Feature Story “Death and Cookies” examining the “death cafe” trend, was admired by the judges as well. “Turning what is considered a ‘taboo subject’ into one that can be respectfully discussed…was a truly interesting, informative read.”
The newspaper’s front page and layout design were awarded fourth place, and the paper took fifth place in four additional categories:
-Public Service Journalism for two stories by Christian Kallen: “Sonoma Off the Mobile Health Services Map” and “Shock Corridor.”
-In-Depth Reporting for Lorna Sheridan’s close look at a potential cover-up: “Lawsuit Alleges Sex-Abuse Cover-Up by Boys and Girls Club.”
-Columns for two pieces by Jason Walsh: “Forget 3 Californias’-We’ve Got 3 Sonomas,” and “Our town, Sonoma.”
-Artistic Photo by Robbi Pengelly: “After the Fire, the Fire Still Burns.”
In addition, new staff writer Anne Ward Ernst won first place for Ag Reporting for an article written in her former role as editor of The Weekly Calistogian.
“Again this year we at the I-T are honored to have been recognized by our industry peers. There’s so much quality journalism taking place in California and across the country today - despite unprecedented changes and challenges - that to have some of our better moments of the year stand out is a great feeling,” said Index-Tribune editor Jason Walsh.
The first place recognition in general excellence, Walsh noted, was the result of a team effort, but “wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless contributions to sonomanews.com by managing editor Lorna Sheridan and jack-of-all-trades newsman Christian Kallen.”