The Better Newspaper Contest awards were announced Saturday, May 3, at the California Newspaper Publishers Association's annual meeting, held this year in San Jose. The awards are divided by circulation category and daily or weekly publication, and winners are selected by a panel of out-of-state journalists.
Reporter Daniel DeBolt and photographer Michelle Le won first place in environmental reporting for a series of stories on Mountain View's legacy of hazardous pollution contaminating groundwater, "Toxic city: Danger from TCE lurks underground."
Former Voice reporter Nick Veronin and photographer Le won first place for "High school parents in uproar over students' 'obscenity'" — a series of stories about the fallout after student journalists from Mountain View High School published an issue of the school newspaper with frank articles about sex and relationships. Veronin is now the Arts and Entertainment editor at the Voice's sister paper, the Palo Alto Weekly.
The Voice's design director, Shannon Corey, won first place for her graphic illustration of the path taken by the car in the fatal crash that that killed William Ware, a man waiting at a bus stop. It accompanied the story "Driver to face trial in Ware's death."
DeBolt also won second place for best feature story for "A keyhole into the past," about the tiny, family-operated lock museum in downtown Mountain View.
Le won second place for her feature photo of a preschooler celebrating the birthday of George, the beloved classroom corn snake.
The Voice also finished among the top four entries in four categories and was named a Blue Ribbon finalist in the following: enterprise reporting; breaking news; editorial comment; and news photo.
The breaking news finalist was Veronin's story "Pumar found guilty in death of William Ware" about the gruesome car accident.
The enterprise reporting entry was for "Worlds Apart," a pair of stories by DeBolt about Mountain View's rapidly rising rents, contrasting the new, high-end Madera apartment complex and life for low-income families, featuring evocative photos by Le.
Publisher Tom Gibboney's editorial, "Student journalists get a bad rap" was a top finalist in the editorial comment category. He wrote about Mountain View High School's student journalism program coming under fire after its controversial "sex and relationships" issue of the school paper.
Le's photo "At long last, a medal" of local veteran Juan Aranda receiving an Air Force commendation nearly 57 years after his heroic actions saved four lives during a hurricane, was honored in the news photo category.
The California Newspaper Publishers Association is a nonprofit trade association for more than 800 publications. Founded in 1888, it represents daily and weekly newspapers and news websites throughout California.