The Napa Valley Register and Napa Valley Publishing won eight first-place and nine second-place awards Saturday during the Better Newspapers Contest, sponsored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association.
Inside Napa Valley, the Napa Valley Register’s quarterly glossy magazine featuring stories about what makes Napa Valley special, won first place in the special section category. The magazine was also awarded second place in special section cover design.
The Register’s daily sports section was honored as third best in the state, second only to the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, respectively.
The newspaper also received third-place in the General Excellence category. Judges said, “The Register may be small on page count, but it’s big on local news coverage. Alongside fantastic articles and photography of the Northern California fires in these editions, the Register provides local news briefs, local real-estate coverage and business briefs and an all-local opinion-and-letters page. With bold photography and good organization and design, this paper seems to be doing its readers great local service.”
Reporter Maria Sestito took first-honors in the writing category for her coverage of last year’s Kayleigh Slusher trial, specifically “Crying in the courtroom: Officer recounts day he found Kayleigh Slusher’s body”.
Sestito also won first place in the columns category for her bi-monthly column “Jersey Girl”. Register sports writer Yousef Baig placed second in this category for his “Other Side of the Fence” column.
City Editor Kevin Courtney won second prize for his article “The woman that Napa fire evacuees left behind” in the feature story category. Reporter Jennifer Huffman took second place in the youth and education coverage category for “Napa teen picked for Walt Disney animation festival”, and reporter Howard Yune won second in the business news category for “First Street Napa reaches out to retailers amid battered mall landscape.”
Photographer J.L. Sousa received a second-place honor for his news photo “Trapped Man at Baskin-Robbins”.
The Napa Valley Register also took home third-place honors in the breaking news, editorial cartoon, land-use reporting, profile story, and sports feature story categories.
The St. Helena Star took four first-place honors. Star reporter Jesse Duarte was recognized for his feature story “PUC physics experiment sees the universe in a beam of ions”, and sports editor Yousef Baig won for best sports feature “St. Helena’s Sanchez brothers making history at Badwater ultramarathon” and sports game story “Lower Lake hands St. Helena frustrating 314 defeat”. Cartoonist Joan Martens took first place for her “Naughty, nice” editorial cartoon.
The Star also took home second place for Duarte’s “Firefighters recall epic fight against wildfires” in the breaking news category. Tom Stockwell’s “More than peaches” won third place in the agricultural reporting category.
The Weekly Calistogan editor Anne Ward Ernst picked up second place honors for “Calistoga is open for business” in the editorial comment category, and “Sonoma Vinegar Works will sell boutique vinegars, bitters & shrubs” in the business news category. Tom Stockwell’s “25 years at the Roastery” brought home a third-place award for the Calistogan as well.
American Canyon Eagle editor Noel Brinkerhoff won two awards in this year’s contest. He brought home third-place honors for “Residents accuse city of American Canyon of causing storm flooding on their property” in the enterprise news story category, and “Affordable housing project finally gets going” in the land-use reporting category.