Claremont COURIER takes first place in state journalism awards

The Claremont COURIER newspaper staff took home eight awards, including first place for general excellence, at the California Journalism Awards Saturday night.

The annual contest, hosted by the California News Publishers Association, included entries from 152 newspapers statewide. Of the 34 competing state newspapers in the small weekly division, the largest in the contest, the COURIER earned first place for general excellence and second place in the digital division for website.

Judges are working editors from in and out of California—160 in-state and 20 from out-of-state newspapers including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Tampa Bay Times and Arizona Daily Caller.

Judges comments about the COURIER print edition read, “There is something for everyone here. If I lived here, I would subscribe and read every page. Very local and pretty well-written. The design and photography is good. Good writing on the police bond measure with quotes and examples that relate to real people. Ads are diverse and pretty engaging. And, there are a lot of them. And I liked the Adventures in Haiku and the Police Blotter.”

For the website award, judges said, “A few examples of greater depth in local content here. My single favorite read in the contest was the transcript of an interview with local boy made good and Silicon Valley pioneer Roger McNamee.”

Steven Felschundneff, who attended the gala Saturday to accept on the COURIER’s behalf, took home three awards for photography—first and second in news photo, and fourth place for feature photo.

For his first-place entry, “Manlapaz Memorial,” the judges remarked, “Expertly shot, outstanding drama and emotional connection. Back lighting adds depth. I feel for this woman.”

Mr. Felschundneff got second place in news for “House Explodes,” an image of firefighters battling a blaze at a home on 12th Street in the Village and fourth place for “Enter Here,” which shows freshmen at Pomona College making their run down College Avenue to mark the start of the academic year.

Reporter Matthew Bramlett, who was a finalist last year, earned his first top award for third place in land use reporting for his series of stories on Claremont’s Village South. The package included three stories covering the sale of the Richard Hibbard lot, the commission review of the goals and guiding principles followed by a meeting where members of Sustainable Claremont reviewed the plans.

Mick Rhodes, arts and entertainment reporter, took fourth place in the profile category for his story on the debut of the Sally Ride stamp. “This story offered a unique perspective we don’t often read about: the parent of an astronaut,” judges said. “Joyce Ride is a hoot and Mick Rhodes captured many great quotes throughout the story. An enjoyable read.”

The CNPA opened a new section this year, the Digital Division, allowing news producers to enter video and broadcasting. Publisher Peter Weinberger won a fifth place award for his drone video, “Is Big Bear Lake Going Dry?”

In general excellence for large daily newspapers, the San Francisco Chronicle earned the first-place award, the San Diego Union Tribune was second, and the Los Angeles Times took third.

The California Journalism Awards gala was held at The Westin Long Beach and included dinner and dancing, as well as stand up comedy by Will Durst and a silent auction to benefit the California Press Foundation.

—Kathryn Dunn


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