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SLO Tribune wins first place for general excellence at California Journalism Awards

Jail video captures mentally ill man’s treatment and death

Andrew Holland died while at the San Luis Obispo County, California jail in 2017. This exclusive jail cell video shows his final days strapped to a restraint chair and left naked in a solitary confinement cell.
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Andrew Holland died while at the San Luis Obispo County, California jail in 2017. This exclusive jail cell video shows his final days strapped to a restraint chair and left naked in a solitary confinement cell.

The Tribune won first place for general excellence Saturday night at the California News Publishers Association’s annual California Journalism Awards Gala in Long Beach — one of 24 awards the newspaper received overall.

The Tribune competed in Division C, for newspapers with a print circulation of 15,000 and under.

The total included eight first-place awards, five second place, six third, two fourth and three fifth.

The awards were for work produced in 2018 and touched every corner of the newsroom across a wide range of stories — personal stories that can compel change, like Monica Vaughan’s account o how dust from the Oceano Dunes was slowly killing Nipomo resident Stanley Fisher and Lindsey Holden’s series on Christine Whaley’s fight to end her battle with cancer, to powerful visual journalism and editorials on issues like Andrew Holland’s death at the SLO County Jail.

“These awards are well-deserved recognition for journalists who work tirelessly every day to tell the important stories of San Luis Obispo County,” Tribune Editor Joe Tarica said. “They are the eyes and ears for Central Coast readers, and they pursue truth with passion and dedication. I am thrilled and proud that the judges so universally agreed.”

Here’s a look at the awards:

First place

General excellence: staff

Local government: Monica Vaughan, for a story about the impact of Oceano Dunes dust on Nipomo resident Stanley Fisher

Feature: Lucas Clark for the story of how the death of Cal Poly student Jordan Grant united strangers

Editorial: Stephanie Finucane for an editorial on the death of Andrew Holland

Artistic photo: David Middlecamp for a photo of the Ranger Challenge at Camp San Luis Obispo

Feature photo: David Middlecamp for a photo of a pee wee showman at the Mid-State Fair

Sports feature photo: Joe Johnston for a photo of a Paso Robles cheerleader peeking out of a tunnel

Video journalism, news: Matt Fountain, Joe Johnston and David Middlecamp for the jail death video of Andrew Holland

Peeweeshowmanship118407
Denim Garcia was among the age 5 participants getting ready for Pee Wee Showmanship with lambs at the Mid-State Fair Sunday morning. He and the lamb had different ideas about where to go. The image was an award winner in the feature photo category of the 2018 California Journalism Awards. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Second place

Public service: Matt Fountain for coverage of the video showing the death of SLO County Jail inmate Andrew Holland

Writing: Lindsey Holden for “A fight for her death,” about a San Luis Obispo cancer victim’s battle for end-of-life medication

Land-use reporting: Monica Vaughan for coverage of the Measure G vote to ban new oil wells and fracking

Front page layout and design

Sports action photo: David Middlecamp for a photo of a soccer collision

San Luis Obispo Sunny Hills soccer
Frankie Phelan of San Luis Obispo High put the ball in the net but it was called back for interference with the Sunny Hills keeper Priscilla Avila. The image was an award winner in the sports action photo category of the 2018 California Journalism Awards. David Middlecamp dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Third place

In-depth reporting: Matt Fountain for a story about Justin Fareed’s campaign finances

Enterprise: Lindsey Holden for “A fight for her death”

Youth and education: Kaytlyn Leslie, Andrew Sheeler, Lindsey Holden and Travis Gibson for coverage of the Cal Poly blackface scandal

Feature: Gabby Ferreira for a story about Serra Chapel in Shandon

Editorial: Stephanie Finucane for the editorial, “Are Cal Poly’s fraternities worth saving?”

Sports feature: Travis Gibson for “Space travel and bug nutrition: The intriguing life of SLO County’s Wrestler of the Year”

PR vs Cen FBall584.jpg
A cheerleader peeks out from inside the entry tunnel for the Paso Robles High School football team before their game against Fresno’s Central High School. The image was an award winner in the sports feature photo category of the 2018 California Journalism Awards. Joe Johnston jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Fourth place

Investigative reporting: Matt Fountain and Travis Gibson for coverage of the Nipomo High School girls wrestling coach accused of sexual misconduct.

Video journalism, other: Joe Johnston for video of the renovated Pismo Beach Pier

Fifth place

Local government: Matt Fountain, for a story about a former Paso Robles police officer accused of rape

Breaking news: Gabby Ferreira for story about how two hikers saved a woman who’s car went over a cliff in Big Sur.

Artistic photo: Joe Johnston for a photo of a SpaceX launch

In 2018, the Tribune won 15 state journalism awards at the California Journalism Awards, including five first-place prizes.

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