The Bakersfield Californian and its sister newspaper, Tehachapi News, took home three first-place awards and eight honorable mentions at the 35th annual George F. Gruner Awards journalism competition for central and southern San Joaquin Valley news organizations.
The Californian won Best Editorial in the large newspapers category for a piece titled “How many children will die before the system is fixed?”
Claudia Elliott, writing for Tehachapi News, won first place in Best Sports Story among weekly newspapers for her story “Access struggle: School facilities inadequate for sports teams.”
Nick Smirnoff, also contributing to Tehachapi News, won first place in the Best News or Feature Photo contest among weeklies for his picture titled “Clowie Hammond declares victory in pie-eating contest.”
Elliott and The Californian’s Ishani Desai were among only 10 journalists who took home multiple honors during this year’s April 19 event, named for the man who put in 33 years at The Fresno Bee before retiring in 1988 as executive editor.
“I am pleased that our reporters and freelancers consistently deliver quality news coverage to our communities, and that these efforts were recognized with Gruner Awards," said Executive Editor Christine L. Peterson.
The Californian’s John Cox received an honorable mention in the Gruner’s most prestigious competition, its public service award, for what judges called an “in-depth examination of deficiencies at a nursing facility that was forced to close.” The series of stories focused on problems at the now-defunct Kingston Healthcare Center.
Desai received an honorable mention in the Best News Story competition among large newspapers with her story, “Bakersfield 3 trial, Queen convicted.” Desai was given an additional honorable mention in the Best Writing contest among large newspapers for her story “Central Valley Holocaust Memorial: Keep the stories going.”
Henry Greenstein of The Californian received an honorable mention in the Best Sports Story contest among large newspapers for his story “Bakersfield College mishandled players’ eligibility, but it went unnoticed.”
Robert Price, a KGET-TV journalist who contributes to The Californian, received an honorable mention for his column headlined “Supreme Court confirmations got more complicated with Earl Warren.”
Elliott received three honorable mentions in the weeklies classification. One was in the Best News Story contest for her piece “Local man shocked to learn home was sold because taxes weren’t paid.” Another was in the Best Column competition for her piece titled “Covering news in the ‘olden days,’” and the third was for her entry in the Best Writing competition for her story titled “Elk in Tehachapi: Some people love them, others have come to hate them.”
The Gruner Awards are administered by Fresno State’s Department of Media, Communications and Journalism and judged by professional journalists from outside the area.
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