facebook tracking pixel We’re honored: The Union wins 16 California Journalism Awards, including General Excellence | TheUnion.com

We’re honored: The Union wins 16 California Journalism Awards, including General Excellence

The Union staff

2017 California Journalism Awards

The Union and TheUnion.com

First place

General Excellence (Staff)

Coverage of Business News (Liz Kellar, Elias Funez, Samantha Sullivan)

Feature Story (Matthew Pera)

Editorial Comment (The Union Editorial Board, Brian Hamilton)

Second place

Online General Excellence (Staff)

Sports Game Story (Walter Ford, Brian Shepard, Elias Funez)

Third place

Online Breaking News (Staff)

Arts & Entertainment Coverage (Sean Jordan)


Photojournalism (Elias Funez)

Artistic Photo (Elias Funez)

Sports Feature Photo (Elias Funez)

Best Writing (Alan Riquelmy)

Public Service Journalism (Alan Riquelmy, The Union Editorial Board)

Editorial Cartoon (R.L. Crabb)

Special Section (Staff: A Day At Play)

Breaking News (Staff, October fires)

The Union has earned 16 honors in the 2017 California Journalism Awards, announced at a Saturday luncheon during the California News Publishers Association Summit in Sonoma.

Among four first-place awards, The Union took top honors for General Excellence.

“It’s great to see our news staff recognized statewide for what we see every day: a huge effort to do the best journalism possible,” The Union Publisher Don Rogers said. “I know I’m proud to work with them and see them in action.”

Competing in a daily newspaper division that also included the Appeal-Democrat (Marysville), the Napa Valley Register, the Santa Maria Times and the Times-Standard (Eureka) as finalists, The Union won the General Excellence award.

“It’s great to see our news staff recognized statewide for what we see every day: a huge effort to do the best journalism possible.”— The Union Publisher Don Rogers

“Strong, clean design guides the reader nicely into these stories,” one judge wrote of The Union’s print edition. “Great to see a cover and immediate ensuing pages filled with staff-written local coverage and some reader-generated content. Local focus shines throughout.”

Also taking first-place honors for The Union was Staff Writer Liz Kellar for Coverage of Business News with her “Eye on the Economy” series, which featured photos by Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez and page design by Content Editor Samantha Sullivan.

“An ambitious look, complete with graphics, video, photos & more, at a topic of central importance to the local community,” a judge wrote.

Former Staff Writer Matthew Pera’s “’Trimmigrants’ descend on Nevada County, for better or for worse” earned first place for best Feature Story.

And The Union Editorial Board also won first place in best Editorial Comment for “Our View: Considering both sides; what a concept,” about what can be learned from the Nevada Union High School debate team written by Editor Brian Hamilton.

The Union staff won second place for Online General Excellence, led by Digital Editor Ivan Natividad’s efforts, for its work at TheUnion.com.

The Union also took second place for Best Sports Game Story for its “Gridiron Grit: How the Bear River Bruins clawed their way to a championship” coverage led by Sports Editor Walter Ford with Sports Writer Brian Shepard and photos and video by Funez. Ford was also a finalist in the best Sports Feature Story category for “Battling back: Nevada Union’s Garrett Graves overcomes adversity, makes triumphant return for senior season.”

TheUnion.com’s coverage of the October Lobo and McCourtney fires earned third place for best Online Breaking News. Prospector, The Union’s weekly entertainment magazine led by Features Editor Sean Jordan, took third place for best Arts & Entertainment Coverage.

The Union earned nine more honors as finalists in the annual contest, including Funez’s entries for Photojournalism, a division that included all daily newspapers in California. His work was recognized among fellow finalists at the San Francisco Chronicle, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and the Fresno Bee. Funez was also a finalist for best Artistic Photo for his shot of the solar eclipse and best Sports Feature Photo for his photo at the Nevada County Fair’s Destruction Derby.

“The Union’s photography gives a strong sense of place and a window into the people who call the area home,” a judge wrote.

Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy earned finalist honors for best Writing with his “Nevada County father fights for medical marijuana awareness” story on Forrest and Silas Hurd. Riquelmy and The Union Editorial Board also was a finalist for Public Service Journalism, after successfully arguing for access to all community advisory group meetings on cannabis regulations.

Cartoonist and editorial board member R.L. Crabb was a finalist for his “It takes a village idiot” piece on Nevada Irrigation District’s plans to require a second water connection for cannabis growers due to potential back-flow problems.

The Union, which in most categories competed against daily newspapers of 15,000 circulation or lower, was a finalist for the best Special Section “A Day At Play in western Nevada County.”

The Union’s print edition coverage of the October Lobo and McCourtney fires also earned recognition among the finalists for Breaking News.

“It’s with great pride that I learned of these honors,” said The Union Editor Brian Hamilton. “I’m blessed to work with such talented and dedicated journalists, including core team members like City Editor Ross Maak, Community Reporter Cory Fisher and Assistant Content Editors John Blackham and Joslyn Fillman, who work behind the scenes but play huge roles in what we do each and every day.

“These honors recognize their hard work and commitment to this community that we’re so fortunate to cover. They deserve every bit of recognition they receive, whether by awards from their journalistic peers or kind words from community members who share their appreciation for what we do.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.