The Sun-Gazette wins best column, gets honorable mention at Gruner Awards

Editor Paul Myers wins best column for 2021 column on Capitol riot, Ben Irwin gets honorable mention for Tooleville water quality reporting

FRESNO – Valley journalists gathered around their computer screens for this year’s virtual Gruner Awards ceremony. Several newspapers walked away with hardware including The Sun-Gazette.

Put on by the Fresno Bee and Fresno State, the prizes honor George F. Gruner, whose 46-year career included 33 years at The Fresno Bee, retiring in 1988 as executive editor. This year’s ceremony was held on April 20.

This year The Sun-Gazette submitted entries for meritorious public service, best news story, best sports photo, best news/feature photo and best column. The Sun-Gazette editor, Paul Myers won the category for best column with the editorial Trump’s rioters live in the wrong world, journalists need to show them the right one

The Sun-Gazette published the column the Wednesday following the Jan. 6, 2021 attempted insurrection. It was a rare dive into national politics for the Tulare County centric newspaper. The column took an obviously critical view of the former president and his supporters, but ended in a call to action for journalists to continue to strive for truth over profit.

Former reporter with The Sun-Gazette, Ben Irwin – who now reports for The Stockton Record – earned an honorable mention in the public service award category. Irwin’s reporting centered around the water quality issues in the small community of Tooleville outside of Exeter. The two street unincorporated community has suffered from dangerous contaminants in their groundwater for years with almost no remedy. 

As a result of lobbying efforts and Irwins reporting the California Department of Water Resources issued a notice to consolidate nearby Exeter with the small community. A consolidation between the two communities would have Exeter share its clean water with Tooleville, alleviating Tooleville’s residents’ water quality issues. 

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