The San Luis Obispo Tribune was named the best newspaper in its class at the 2022 California Journalism Awards, one of 20 honors it earned for its journalism last year.
Overall, The Tribune tallied 10 first-place awards, including the top honor for general excellence in the print competition for publications with a circulation under 15,000.
It’s the third time in five years that The Tribune has won first place for general excellence. It also won the award in 2018 and 2019.
“The Tribune’s overall excellence stood well above other entrants,” the judges wrote in their comments on the top award. “The papers featured well-reported and edited enterprise journalism that tackled important, relevant topics; terrific design emphasizing readability and impactful photos and graphics; wonderful staff photos, particularly in the sports section and in the Photos from the Vault feature; an excellent opinion section and lively letters to the editor; and well-designed, enticing advertising throughout.
“The Tribune excels in many ways, but its treatment of enterprise journalism is top-notch, giving readers multiple entry points from top to bottom. Well done!”
The California Journalism Awards recognize the best journalism from around the state, in print and online, across all publication sizes. The competition, run by the California News Publishers Association, included a total of 3,123 entries.
In addition to general excellence, The Tribune won a number of other top awards, including first place for public service, investigative journalism, breaking news and coverage of local government.
“These awards are a testament to the passion and dedication of our entire newsroom,” Tribune Editor Joe Tarica said. “They recognize deep, important reporting and storytelling on a wide range of topics, from coverage of the Kristin Smart trial to stories on the mental health crisis in SLO County to vigorous watchdog reporting on our elections. They prove that powerful local journalism is alive and well on the Central Coast. I admire what this staff achieves in service to our communities, each and every day.”
Here is a look at the awards:
General excellence: Tribune staff
Public service journalism: Sara Kassabian, Chloe Jones, David Middlecamp, Laura Dickinson, the mental health care crisis in SLO County
Investigative reporting: Chloe Jones, ”Hundreds of documents were unsealed in the Kristin Smart case. Here’s the first look”
Enterprise news story or series: Mackenzie Shuman and David Middlecamp, “How California’s last remaining nuclear power plant transformed marine life off the coast”
Election coverage: Stephanie Zappelli and Stephanie Finucane, stories on the District 2 supervisor’s election and recount
News photo: David Middlecamp, vigil at the Pride Center in San Luis Obispo
Breaking news: Chloe Jones, Stephanie Zappelli, Laura Dickinson, Kaytlyn Leslie and John Lynch, the Kristin Smart verdicts
Coverage of local government: Chloe Jones, “‘What if it were your son?’ Trevon Perry’s family says justice wasn’t served with plea deal”
Land use reporting: Stephanie Zappelli, John Lynch and David Middlecamp, ”SLO County housing development could add 1,270 homes. Why are neighbors opposed to it?”
Coverage of business and the economy: Kaytlyn Leslie, “Why is your favorite SLO County restaurant closed on a Tuesday? Probably not enough staff”
Health coverage: Sara Kassabian and David Middlecamp, “Hospital released mentally ill Paso Robles woman early. She was picked up by a sex offender”
News photo, open division: David Middlecamp, vigil at the Pride Center in San Luis Obispo
Land use reporting: Mackenzie Shuman, “Should new homes be allowed in Cambria? Landowners in a battle with Coastal Commission”
Enterprise news story or series, open division: Mackenzie Shuman and David Middlecamp, “How California’s last remaining nuclear power plant transformed marine life off the coast”
Sports action photo: David Middlecamp, “Safe at home”
Coverage of the environment: Mackenzie Shuman, Sara Kassabian, David Middlecamp, “‘I’m afraid to use water’: Rural Paso Robles residents drill new wells as older ones dry up”
Writing: Kaytlyn Leslie, “Gas tops $9 at this Highway 1 station near Big Sur — and all drivers can do is laugh”
Coverage of business and the economy: Kaytlyn Leslie and Laura Dickinson, “Jack Ranch Cafe closing at James Dean memorial in SLO County. ‘It’s time to leave’”
Agricultural reporting: Mackenzie Shuman, “3,000 baby oysters transplanted in Morro Bay estuary as part of work to save native species”
Photo story: David Middlecamp, Nipomo softball playoff win