The Bay Area News Group, the region's largest team of journalists, won the most awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association, with a total of 22, including first place for a special section on local, Olympics athletes.
"These honors underscore the continued commitment that the hundreds of journalists at BANG newspapers have to produce top-notch journalism every day," said David J. Butler, editor of the newspaper group that covers the East Bay, South Bay and the Peninsula.
The publishers honored work in 2012 by California journalists at dozens of small to large dailies and weeklies, and in a variety of categories, including breaking news, feature writing, graphic design, photography and opinion. The awards were announced Saturday at the CNPA convention in Universal City.
Cecily Burt won a prestigious award for investigative reporting for "Follow the Guns on Path to Crime," an Oakland Tribune report on how easy it can be for criminals to get firearms into Oakland and the rest of the region.
"I was inspired to research and write the story because I felt outraged and helpless about the deadly gun violence in Oakland, and the unending supply of illegal weapons that end up in the hands of people who use guns to rob, maim and kill," said Burt, who is now an editor at the Contra Costa Times. "The federal gun trafficking case was a perfect example of the many ways criminals get guns, and the efforts by law enforcement to get those guns off the streets."
Tapped by violence
Also at the Tribune, a paper in a medium-size category, staff writer Scott Johnson won two first place awards for best writing. One story, "Three Dead Boys, No Real Answers," focused on the vexing violence afflicting Oakland. Another best feature story, "Hostages at Home," was about a community bullied into silence by its most ruthless and violent members.
Five Tribune photographers were honored for their photo essays: Photographer Jane Tyska for a picture story, "Mark Hawthorne -- aka Hate Man," and photographers Ray Chavez, Karl Mondon, D. Ross Cameron and Mark DuFrene for "Violence, Vandals Divide a Movement."
The Contra Costa Times, competing in the large-newspaper category, placed second for its coverage of local government and education.
Competing against other large newspapers in the state, the San Jose Mercury News won a first prize for a special section that profiled Bay Area athletes competing in the London Olympics. Edited by Bud Geracie, Mark Conley, Jami Smith and Sherman Turntine, the section featured the work of writers Elliott Almond, Mark Purdy and Mark Emmons, designer Tiffany Grandstaff, and photographers Jim Gensheimer, Patrick Tehan, LiPo Ching and Karl Mondon
"This award is a tribute to the collaborative spirit of our newsroom," said Geracie. "The combined effort of Photo and Design, on a project overseen by Sports, was as inspiring as the work it produced."
In the competition for best graphic illustration, the Mercury's Doug Griswold won for his depiction of "Professor Budget," a popular character who make impossibly complex government financing easily understandable for readers.
Two Mercury photographers, Tehan and Ching, were honored for photographs respectively on the Stanford University women's basketball team and homeless camps.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel, a sister paper to the BANG chain, won the CNPA's prestigious prize for general excellence for smaller newspapers. The Los Angeles Times won the award for large newspapers plus 20 more for a total of 21. The San Francisco Chronicle won 13 awards, including second place for general excellence among large newspapers.
For the full list of awards, go to: http://epublish.multiad.com/CNPA_2012_Better_Newspaper/#/1/.
Contact Joe Rodriguez at 408-920-5767.