The Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online won 16 California Journalism Awards for coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, local government, and youth and education, among other categories.
The Weekly, which has a newsroom of eight journalists headed by editor Jocelyn Dong, was judged for its work published in 2021 against submissions from other news outlets with a circulation of 25,000 copies and more. The annual statewide competition is hosted by the California Newspaper Publishers Association, which announced the winners last month.
Journalist Sue Dremann and associate editor Linda Taaffe were awarded first place in investigative journalism. Their winning story, “The Search for Their Father’s Killer”, looked into the unsolved murder of Andy Kinyon in 1972, which left his family still searching for answers nearly 50 years later.
Journalist Zoe Morgan dominated youth and education coverage with a top-ranking feature on Youth Connect, a peer-led mental health program. A judge praised Morgan’s writing, noting that the story was easy to understand and made good use of quotes.
Dremann and reporter Gennady Shyener won second place for in-depth reporting. They wrote a series of stories about the fallout that Pets In Need faced after the deaths of seven puppies in their care. Three employees of the nonprofit, which runs the town’s animal shelter, have each been charged with animal cruelty and neglect, and the executive director has resigned.
There were 2,800 entries for this year’s competition across the print, digital and campus publications divisions.
This year’s additional awards in the print and digital divisions were for:
• Informational graphic (first place): “Life in over 144,000 cases”, associate editor Linda Taaffe and designer Kevin Legnon
• Coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic (second place): “School Exodus”, former journalist Elena Kadvany
• Featured photo (second place): “Finally together”, chief visual journalist Magali Gauthier
• Video journalism – news (second place): “Residents call for anti-Asian hatred at rally,” said chief visual journalist Magali Gauthier
• Local government coverage (third place): “The city is grappling with police reform,” said journalist Gennady Sheyner.
• Coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic (third place): “Coverage of the vaccine deployment in Santa Clara County”, staff of Palo Alto Weekly
• Featured photo (third place): “The junior museum and zoo are reopening”, chief visual journalist Magali Gauthier
• Interior Page Layout and Design (Third Place): Layouts released on January 1, 2021, September 10, 2021, and October 22, 2021, Design Director Kristin Brown and Designers Douglas Young and Kevin Legnon
• Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic (Fourth Place): “One Year Later,” Palo Alto Weekly Editor-in-Chief Jocelyn Dong and his team
• Youth and Education Coverage (Fourth Place): “Public school enrollment drops for the second year in a row,” said reporters Zoe Morgan and Angela Swartz.
• Corporate Story or News Series (Fifth Place): “Palo Alto Solar Struggles” Reporter Gennady Sheyner
• Breaking News (fifth place): “Quick Verdict in John Getreu Trial”, Reporter Sue Dremann
• In-depth reporting (fifth place): “A Death at the Center of Opportunity”, Reporter Sue Dremann