The Tribune and Cambrian win statewide journalism awards

The Tribune has won eight first- or second-place awards and was named a finalist in seven other categories in this year's California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Better Newspapers Contest.

The Cambrian, a sister weekly that serves the North Coast community, also won a first- or second-place award and was named a finalist in two other categories — including general excellence.

The final results will be announced at an awards ceremony May 9 during CNPA’s annual press summit at the Hotel del Coronado in Coronado.

“Our mission has long been to provide in-depth, investigative and useful coverage of issues that residents care deeply about — whether it’s the environment, public safety, sports, business or quality of life,” said Executive Editor Sandra Duerr.

“Ultimately, readers are the final judge of whether we succeed,” she said. “But it’s also a special honor to receive recognition from our peers.”

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.

The Tribune

Page layout and design — Staff

News photo — Joe Johnston for a SWAT standoff photo last May showing the police pulling off a suspect’s mask

Environmental reporting — Staff for “Parched Earth,” a series of stories covering the drought’s impact in San Luis Obispo County

Best feature story — Patrick S. Pemberton for his story on Weird Al Yankovic

Agricultural reporting — David Sneed for his look at what the Paso Robles groundwater basin emergency ordinance achieved a year after it took effect

Best columns — 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 — Sports staff led by Sports Editor Ashley Conklin for overall content, design and photography of the daily section

Special sports section — 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; and 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.

The Cambrian

The Cambrian’s Kathe Tanner and former editor Bert Etling won a first- or 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.