Gazette earns top laurels at annual Gruner Awards eventFree Access

George Gruner, one of the famed “Fresno Four,” is shown with members of the Mariposa Gazette staff last week following an awards ceremony in Fresno. From left are Matt Johnson, assistant editor; Greg Little, editor; Gruner; and Nicole W. Little, publisher. Submitted photo

George Gruner, one of the famed “Fresno Four,” is shown with members of the Mariposa Gazette staff last week following an awards ceremony in Fresno. From left are Matt Johnson, assistant editor; Greg Little, editor; Gruner; and Nicole W. Little, publisher. Submitted photo

The Mariposa Gazette was the winner of three first place awards last week during a ceremony in Fresno.

The 29th annual George F. Gruner Awards was held at the Fresno Art Museum. The awards annually highlight journalism throughout the Central Valley.

The awards were for journalism work in 2017.

Editor Greg Little won first place in the “Public Service” category, which is the entire basis for why the Gruner Awards were established.

Little’s winning entry was for his stories about the proposed increase of fees at Yosemite National Park.

Here is what the judges had to say about the entry: “Yosemite National Park is arguably the most important institution in the county, and the Gazette effectively explored how a National Park Service proposal to hike fees impacts not only the visitors but the local companies that rely on the park for their livelihood.”

The stories focused on national and local reaction to the proposal.

Little also received a first place award in the “Columns” category for his three-part series about attending media day at the California Highway Patrol Academy. That series took an inside look at the academy and what it’s like to become a recruit for the CHP.

Assistant Editor Matt Johnson was also a winner, taking a first place award in the “Best Sports Story” category.

Johnson won for his feature story about Cody Wichmann. He was a Mariposa County High School graduate who made it to the National Football League.

The awards are funded by the Central Valley Foundation and the Central Valley Community Foundation.

They are organized by Dr. Gary Rice of Fresno State University who is in the Department of Media, Communications and Journalism.

Remarks were made during the event by Ken Riddick, publisher of the Fresno Bee, which also sponsors the event.

Greg and Nicole Little, the new owners of the Gazette, also spoke during the event and told the story about how they came to purchase the newspaper.

Gruner, 93, also spoke to the audience at the end of the program and stressed the importance of newspapers being a watchdog of the government.

Gruner was a figure in a freedom of the press issue in 1976 when, as a member of the “Fresno Four,” he was jailed for contempt of court for refusing a judge’s order to reveal a confidential source of information used in The Fresno Bee’s news stories concerning a city official. He and three other members of The Bee’s staff refused to reveal the source and spent 15 days in custody before being released.

The “Fresno Four” received wide support from journalists and many other individuals and organizations throughout the United States for upholding the right to maintain confidential sources.

Here’s a complete rundown of the awards:

PUBLIC SERVICE

First Place

Mackenzie Mays, The Fresno Bee, for her “Too Young?” series. Judges comments: This is what public service journalism should look like. In this case, not only identifying a problem — high teen pregnancy rates and how school districts are complying with state law — but holding public officials accountable for their actions. But what made this series really shine was how Mays effectively used everyday Californians to tell the story.

Harold Pierce and Stephanie Innes, The Bakersfield Californian/The Center for Health Journalism Collaborative, for their series “Just One Breath.” Judges comments: “By examining a little-known disease and its tragic effects, the series on Valley fever did what the government has not done effectively — raise public awareness. That’s the power of journalism. This series featured clear, concise writing and went beyond the statistics by telling the powerful story of Juan Solis.

Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette. Judges comments: Yosemite National Park is arguably the most important institution in the county, and the Gazette effectively explored how a National Park Service proposal to hike fees impacts not only the visitors but the local companies that rely on the park for their livelihood.

Honorable Mention

James Houck, Eric Woomer, Luis Hernandez, Calley Cederlof, Sheyanne Romero, Visalia Times- Delta. Judges comments: Readers deserve reporting like this, particularly when it is about life and death. The reporters dug deep on how their community hospital was run. They didn’t stop telling the story, either, following it through to the end.

NEWS STORY

First Place

Vikaas Shanker, Brianna Calix, Rob Parsons, Los
Banos Enterprise
Rory Appleton, The Fresno Bee
Rob Parson, Monica Velez, Merced Sun-Star

Honorable Mention
Harold Pierce, Bakersfield Californian

FEATURE STORY

First Place
Carmen George, The Fresno Bee
James Ward, Visalia Times-Delta
Gabriel Dillard, Fresno Business Journal

Honorable mention
Steven Mayer, Bakersfield Californian
Julissa Zavala, Hanford Sentinel
Jackson Moore, Dinuba Sentinel
David Casarez, Vida en el Valle

COLUMNS
First Place
Marek Warszawski, The Fresno Bee
Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette
Rob Parson, Merced Sun-Star

Honorable Mention
Lois Henry, Bakersfield Californian
Mike Hazelwood, Visalia Times-Delta
John Spevak, Los Banos Enterprise

EDITORIALS

First Place
Gail Marshall, The Fresno Bee
Mike Dunbar, Merced Sun-Star
Reggie Ellis, Exeter Sun-Gazette

Honorable Mention
Mike Dunbar, The Modesto Bee
Silas J. Lyons, Visalia Times-Delta
Brian Wilkinson, Sierra Star

SPORTS STORY

First Place
Trevor Horn, Bakersfield Californian
Shawn Jansen, Merced Sun-Star
Matt Johnson, Mariposa Gazette

Honorable Mention
Noe Garcia, Hanford Sentinel
Brian Wilkinson, Sierra Star

BEST SPORTS PHOTO

First Place
Patrick Dillon, Exeter Sun Gazette
Felix Adamo, Bakersfield Californian
Ron Holman, Visalia Times-Delta

Honorable Mention
Keven J. Geaney, Dinuba Sentinel
Eric Paul Zamora, The Fresno Bee
Wendy Alexander, Madera Tribune

BEST NEWS PHOTO

First Place
Morgan Voorhis, Sierra Star
Felix Adamo, Bakersfield Californian

Honorable Mention
Gene Lieb, Los Banos Enterprise
Jackson Moore, Dinuba Sentinel
Craig Kohlruss, The Fresno Bee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *