Gazette wins CNPA Public Service award; finalist for editorial comment

Lindsay Gazette

The Lindsay Gazette was selected for a first or second place award in the 2003 Better Newspapers Contest sponsored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA) for its Library Legacy series.

The first place winner will be announced at the 2004 Awards Luncheon on July 17 aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach. This is for the weekly papers with a circulation of 4,300 and under throughout the state.

Readers may recall that this same series took the George F. Gruner first place award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism back in March. The Gruner awards are limited to papers published in the San Joaquin Valley.

Reporter Carolyn Barbre wrote seven of the articles that ranged from commentaries to hard news to features. Editor and Publisher Reggie Ellis wrote three of the pieces including two editorials and a hard news story. When the series started eight branch libraries were proposed to be shut because of likely budget cuts. But two months later after the Gazette published an almost non-stop crusade to keep the branches open, the county librarian's office agreed that keeping all branches open at least one day was doable.

Barbre also earned a Blue Ribbon Finalist certificate for her editorial comment, "A review of Champion stories" which was published on the Opinion Page in the Feb. 12, 2003 issue of the Gazette.

That's a long time back, but some readers will recall that the top half of the Opinion Page contained a lengthy letter from Champion employee Keith Walters calling Barbre's reporting on the union "one sided." We titled it "The Real Facts of the Champion anti-union employees," which was taken from the context of the letter where Walters states, "I have decided to let people know the real facts." The real facts were wrong from the first sentence and never improved.

Barbre's editorial documented the paper's coverage of Champion Home Builders' anti-union woes that ran in eight stories beginning in October 2001, and the last story prior to the editorial ran on Jan. 29, 2003. Not surprising, Barbre found Champion's attitude "outrageous and unfair" particularly as misstated by Walters which prompted the editorial.

The certificate, signed by CNPA President Ginger Moorhouse states, "Congratulations on reaching the Blue Ribbon Finals in the 2003 CNPA Better Newspapers Contest. Your entry was among the top 10 percent that made it to this prestigious level of nearly 5,000 entries."

We will definitely let readers know in July if the Gazette took first or second place for its Library series.

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