The Union earns three first-place California Journalism Awards |

The Union earns three first-place California Journalism Awards

R.L. Crabb's Dec. 21 installation of "It Takes a Village Idiot" claimed top honors for the California Journalism Award's best editorial cartoon.
R.L. Crabb

The Union brought home three first-place awards from Saturday’s California Journalism Awards Gala, hosted by the California News Publishers Association in Long Beach.

For the second consecutive year, Staff writer Liz Kellar claimed top honors for Coverage of Business News for her ongoing coverage of the renovations of western Nevada County’s historic Holbrooke and National hotels.

“I loved getting to know the hotelier and the hotels through this series of stories,” a CNPA judge wrote. “Well written, concise and good use of visuals. ”

Cartoonist R.L. Crabb won first place for best Editorial Cartoon with the Dec. 21 installment of his “It takes a village idiot” cartoon, which weighed in on the growing number of dropped homeowner insurance policies in the wake of the devastation of Northern California wildfires.

“Easily understandable and quickly elicits a laugh, though it is a deadly serious topic to people in the region,” a judge wrote.

Freelance writer Lorraine Jewett’s feature story on newly elected Nevada County Sheriff Shannan Moon, “New sheriff in town: Moon becomes California’s first openly-gay sheriff” was the first-place winner for, as one judge said, a “thorough, extremely well-written” Profile Story.

Among a total of 12 honors received, The Union earned four third-place finishes, including one for General Excellence. First place in the division went to The Tribune (San Luis Obispo), with the Napa Valley Register as the runner-up. It was the second consecutive year The Union was a finalist for General Excellence, taking top honors last year.

The Union Staff writers Alan Riquelmy and Jennifer Nobles, and Editor Brian Hamilton, took third place in Public Service Journalism for coverage of the Bright Fiber project sale to Race Communications. Project approval by the California Public Utilities Commission required an opportunity for public comment, although no outreach was made by the CPUC to notify the public until The Union reported the sale’s pending approval.

Sports Editor Walter Ford took third place for best Sports Game Story for “Outpouring of love: Forest Lake Christian community lends helping hand to Paradise Adventist Academy,” capturing the kindness of the Lady Falcons volleyball team in donating uniforms, clothing, and collecting more than $16,000 in cash and gift cards to the victims of the Camp Fire.

Hamilton also claimed a third-place award in the best Columns division for “Asked and answered, indeed,” his take on President Trump’s summit with Vladimir Putin, and “Paradise by the laptop light,” a light-hearted look at Valentine’s Day.

The Union’s Editorial Board and Riquelmy earned fourth place in the best Editorial category for “Our View: Communication fail on Centennial Dam,” on a lack of transparency with Nevada Irrigation District’s proposed reservoir project.

Riquelmy, Kellar and Hamilton finished fifth for Investigative Reporting on Nevada County Sheriff’s Office deputies at the center of corruption allegations. Ford took fifth place in the Sports Feature story for “Running with purpose: In the wake of tragedy Dawson Fay finds solace in the game he loves.” Content Editor Samantha Sullivan and Joslyn Fillman also finished fifth for best Inside Page Layout & Design for their work on The Union’s retrospective on the 30th anniversary of the 49er Fire.

Former Features Editor Sean Jordan, who produced The Union’s weekly Prospector entertainment guide, earned fifth place for best Arts & Entertainment coverage.

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