September 13, 2006

Bay Area, Southern California reporters earn top
prizes in California Journalism Awards competition

Journalists from the Bay Area and Southern California earned top prizes in the 12th annual California Journalism Awards competition, the Center for California Studies at Sacramento State and the Sacramento Press Club have announced. The awards will be presented at a luncheon on Friday, Sept. 22 from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J Street in Sacramento.

The awards recognize outstanding reporting on California public affairs and politics. Judging is by a panel of California journalists. The luncheon will feature a panel discussion on education issues from the perspectives of three journalists who have spent time reporting on schools, Jill Tucker of the San Francisco Chronicle, Nancy Cleeland of the Los Angeles Times and Kevin Weston from Pacific News Service.

Recipients of this year’s awards are:

The John Jacobs Award for print special feature/enterprise reporting: Douglas Fischer of The Oakland Tribune won for an ongoing series, “A Body’s Burden: Our Chemical Legacy.” The Tribune's series presents the first data on environmental contaminants in a U.S. family, describes how those chemicals seep into our bodies and explores a possible link to rising rates of cancer and other ailments.

The John Jacobs Award
for print daily coverage: John Gittelsohn of The Orange County Register won for his story on the politics behind a failed solar energy bill. Senate Bill 1, the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, started 2005 with support from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers and, according to polls, 76 percent of California voters. Its demise, as chronicled by The Orange County Register in "Politics Obscures the Sun," showed how partisanship and special interests sabotaged policymaking in Sacramento.


For excellence in radio reporting: Scott Shafer of KQED Public Radio in San Francisco won for two stories: As the governor considered clemency for Tookie Williams, the report “A Question of Clemency,” examined the case for clemency, the political considerations for Gov. Schwarzenegger and the role of clemency in history. The second report, “Shelley’s Communication Crisis,” is an examination of how politicians manage (or mismanage) communications during a crisis. It featured comparisons of former California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley’s reactions to allegations he misused state funds with Gov. Schwarzenegger’s handling of sexual harassment allegations in his first campaign, and Richard Nixon’s famous “Checkers Speech” when he was a vice presidential candidate.

For excellence in television reporting: Hank Plante of KPIX-TV in San Francisco for reports on Gov. Schwarzenegger. "Arnold Incorporated," a two-part series looked at the enormous fund-raising machine established by the governor. Much of the money came from the same "special interests" which he campaigned against in the recall election. The report confronted him on camera with his own words which decried the influence of money in politics, and he was asked if he could "connect the dots" between his contributors and his legislative decisions.

The Katherine M. Macdonald Award for excellence in student journalism: Kristin Mayer of the University of Southern California, Daily Trojan, whose investigative reporting detailed a hit-and-run accident that killed a USC student near campus.

The cost of the luncheon is $25 and $15 for students. Reservations must be made by Friday, September 15. For more information, contact the Center for California Studies at (916) 278-6906. Additional media assistance is available from the Sacramento State public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.




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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu