The Tribune won four first-place awards and four second-place awards in this year's California Newspaper Publishers Association's Better Newspapers Contest. It also was named a finalist in seven other categories ranging from investigative reporting to lifestyle coverage.
The Cambrian, a sister weekly that serves the North Coast community, won a second-place award and was named a finalist in two other categories, including general excellence.
The final results were announced Saturday at an awards ceremony during CNPA's annual press summit at the Hotel del Coronado in Coronado.
“We are honored to receive such recognition from our peers,’’ said Executive Editor Sandra Duerr. “The wide range of awards reflects terrific work by the entire news staff to produce in-depth, investigative and useful coverage of issues that matter most to our readers, whether it’s the local impact of the ongoing drought, management of the troubled Paso Robles groundwater basin, or commentary on state officials’ reaction to Lady Gaga’s video shoot at Hearst Castle.
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“Our goal is to continue providing readers the information they need, however they want to receive it — through their mobile phones, laptops, iPads or printed newspaper,” Duerr added.
The Tribune competed in the 15,001-35,000 daily circulation division, and The Cambrian competed in the weekly 4,300-and under circulation division. Here's a closer look at the awards, which were spread broadly across the news staff.
• Best feature story, first place — Patrick S. Pemberton for his story on Weird Al Yankovic.
• Agricultural reporting, first place — David Sneed for his look at what the Paso Robles groundwater basin emergency ordinance achieved a year after it took effect.
• Page layout and design, first place — Staff.
• News photo, second place — Joe Johnston for a SWAT standoff photo last May showing the police pulling off a suspect's mask.
• Environmental reporting, second place — Staff for "Parched Earth," a series of stories covering the drought's impact in San Luis Obispo County.
• Best columns, second place — Joe Tarica, also known as Joetopia, for columns on the Lady Gaga/Hearst Castle brouhaha and Atascadero's underestimation of costs for Wal-Mart traffic improvements.
• Sports section, first place — Sports staff led by Sports Editor Ashley Conklin for overall content, design and photography of the daily section.
• Special sports section, second place — Staff for "The stampede ballclub" special section on the Cal Poly baseball team hosting an NCAA regional competition.
The Tribune was named a finalist, which is an honorable mention, in the following seven categories:
• Best investigative reporting for Matt Fountain's three-part series on gangs.
• Lifestyle coverage for the Central Coast Living section.
• Arts and entertainment coverage for Ticket.
• Special section for Vintages magazine.
• Best front page.
• Best writing for former reporter AnnMarie Cornejo's story on Richard Martinez's life after his son was among those killed in the Isla Vista rampage last year.
• Best feature story by Sarah Linn on how twins John and Ron Daniels have built a thriving business in Paso Robles designing whimsical structures and sculptures.
Reporter Kathe Tanner and former editor Bert Etling won a second-place award for coverage of local government on the community's water crisis.
In addition, the weekly was named a finalist for its enterprise reporting of the Lady Gaga/Hearst Castle issue, as well as general excellence, the top award that takes into account general news coverage, breadth of coverage, story selection and quality of writing. The Cambrian won the general excellence award last year.