Sun-Gazette journalists earn first place, honorable mention at Gruner Awards

Former Sun-Gazette reporter earns best news story accolades for 2022 story on local pregnancy center; Reggie Ellis, Paul Myers and former reporter Ben Irwin win award for 2022 Unmake Tulare County editorial

FRESNO, CALIF. – The Sun-Gazette received accolades at the annual Gruner Awards, highlighting the newspaper’s commitment to quality journalism and dedication to the local community.

Reggie Ellis, Paul Myers, and Ben Irwin received an honorable mention in the public service category for their story, “Unmasking the truth about Unmask Tulare County.”

The editorial in the Sun-Gazette discusses the newspaper’s investigation into Unmask Tulare County, a group advocating for the removal of mask mandates in schools. The investigation uncovered a lack of transparency in the group’s funding, its ties to national organizations, and misinformation being spread by the group’s members. The article emphasizes the importance of local journalism in uncovering the truth and holding such groups accountable, while also calling for more openness and honesty in public discourse.

Sam Moore, another Sun-Gazette journalist, was a multiple winner, earning first place among weeklies for his news story, “Pro-life pregnancy centers a concern for healthcare void,” and an honorable mention for his feature story, “Clague takes his final bow as inspiring music teacher.”

Moore’s investigative series delves into the concerns surrounding pro-life pregnancy centers in the local community. The first two parts of the series examine the services provided by these centers, their funding sources, and the potential for misinformation being spread among pregnant women seeking healthcare. Moore’s investigation highlights the limited healthcare options available to women in need and the implications of these centers on the community’s overall reproductive health landscape.

The third and fourth parts of the series focus on the political aspects of the pro-life pregnancy centers and their connections to national organizations, as well as the stories of women who have been affected by the centers’ practices. The investigation also underscores the need for greater transparency and regulation to ensure that women seeking reproductive healthcare receive accurate information and have access to a full range of options. Throughout the series, Moore emphasizes the importance of local journalism in uncovering these concerns and advocating for a more comprehensive approach to reproductive health services in the community.

Moore’s article on Exeter band director Kirk Clague celebrated him as a beloved and inspiring band teacher at Exeter Union High School, after 34 years of dedicated service. Known for his passion for music and unwavering commitment to his students, Clague left a lasting impact on generations of young musicians. Under his guidance, the school’s band program flourished, earning numerous awards and accolades. As Clague took his final bow, the community expressed its gratitude for his remarkable contributions to music education and the countless lives he has touched.

The Gruner Awards, which honor the legacy of George F. Gruner, a retired executive editor of The Fresno Bee, were established in 1989 by The McClatchy Co. The Department of Media, Communications and Journalism at Fresno State independently administers the awards, which were announced at an evening reception on April 19 at Fresno State. The competition is judged by professional journalists from outside the contest area.

The Sun-Gazette’s achievements at the Gruner Awards are a testament to the hard work and dedication of its journalists, who consistently produce quality news stories, feature stories, and photography that inform and engage readers. The awards also demonstrate the newspaper’s commitment to covering important issues that affect the local community, such as the “Unmask Tulare County” story and the concerns surrounding pro-life pregnancy centers.

The Gruner Awards event also announced a change for the 2024 awards: In an effort to reflect the major shifts in the media landscape, all news sites in the region, including print, digital, and combinations, will be eligible to compete. This change underscores the Sun-Gazette’s continuing commitment to providing quality journalism across multiple platforms, ensuring that the paper remains a vital source of news and information for the community.

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