The Pajaronian was named the state’s best small weekly newspaper in its division Friday, earning top marks in the 2022 California Journalism Awards.
The Watsonville newspaper placed first in the General Excellence category, beating out other publications of similar size throughout California.
The award, handed out by the California News Publishers Association, is based on every aspect of the paper, from news coverage, to photography, layout design and writing.
“A complete local report, from news to sports to features to opinion,” a judge wrote about the Pajaronian in the competition notes. “I commend the variety of content that shows a community connection. The strong A1 presence, aided especially by photos and headline writing, plus the teasers, are the difference between first and second place. Strong, sharp local advertising, as well. The local readers are getting their money’s worth here.”
In addition, the Pajaronian earned first place in Breaking News for its Aug. 19 coverage of a plane collision over Watsonville Municipal Airport.
“The winner of this contest, ‘Planes Collide’ hits all of the markers,” a judge wrote. “The story was well-written, attention-grabbing, had headlines that aligned with the contents of the story and pictures that grabbed our attention. Congratulations.”
The newspaper also earned first place for Front Page Layout & Design, and photographer Tarmo Hannula was recognized with a third place award for Photojournalism among all weekly publications.
Pajaronian sister publications also grabbed awards.
For the fourth year in a row, Good Times earned the state’s top award, General Excellence, in its division. The weekly won a total of five awards, including three first place awards: Front Page Layout & Design, Feature Story and Youth and Education Coverage. Good Times also captured a second place award for health coverage.
The Gilroy Dispatch earned first place for editorial comment and third for local government reporting.