The Mountain View Voice won the top award for print journalism at the California Newspaper Publishers Association Better Newspapers Contest on Saturday, April 30, in San Francisco.
Along with receiving the General Excellence award for newspapers in its circulation category, the Voice took home a dozen first- and second-place awards for journalism at the event, including second-place for Online General Excellence for its website.
Journalists from outside of California selected the winners of the annual competition from among daily, weekly and school newspapers out of thousands of entries. The Voice competed against other weekly newspapers with circulations between 11,000 and 25,000 for its work in a 13-month period beginning December 1, 2014.
The community media outlet and its news staff, led by Editor Andrea Gemmet, won first place for the following:
Coverage of local government for the series of stories on the housing crisis by staff writer Mark Noack and photographer Michelle Le; best enterprise news and best online photo essay for the "Homeless in Mountain View" series by Le and staff writer Kevin Forestieri; and best feature photo and best news photo for for Le's "An uncertain road ahead" and "No relief in sight," respectively.
The Voice's design department, led by Kristin Brown, won first place for best inside page layout.
Second-place awards were given for: the profile feature story on community activist and cancer survivor Elena Pacheco entitled "A friend in deed," by Noack and Le; coverage of education for Forestieri's "Trouble with special education facilities" series; online photo essay for Le's "An American dream deferred;" artistic photo for Le's "Puppet masters of Mountain View;" and best editorial comment for Associate Editor Renee Batti's "A superintendent's resignation. Honestly?"
In addition, Voice staffers were named Blue Ribbon finalists, meaning they finished in third or fourth place, for eight entries.
Le was awarded two Blue Ribbons in the artistic photo category, for her entries "A rough path" and "Chicken at the door;" for the photo essay that accompanied "A friend in deed;" and for the news photo "Housing crisis."
Forestieri was named a Blue Ribbon finalist for his coverage of education for the series of articles "Controversy surrounds superintendent's departure" and for best investigative reporting for "University withholds earthquake safety data."
Noack and Le were honored with a Blue Ribbon in best enterprise news for "Makeshift RV camps spark concern."
Gemmet received recognition in the category of best editorial comment for "A strange definition of transparency."
"We so appreciate this recognition," Gemmet said as she accepted the General Excellence award Saturday. "I have a small, hard-working staff and they're out there every day, trying to give a voice to people in every corner of our community. I am so proud of them."
The Voice's sister paper, the Palo Alto Weekly, was awarded the top prize for Online General Excellence for its website paloaltoonline.com along with 12 more first- and second-place awards in its division for the largest circulation news weeklies in California.