Almanac

News - May 7, 2014

Almanac wins state-wide awards

The Almanac won eight awards in the California Newspaper Publishers Association contest, including first-place awards for investigative reporting and artistic photo.

The awards were announced Saturday at the CNPA conference in San Jose.

Police misconduct

Almanac reporter Sandy Brundage won first place for her persistent investigative work that uncovered — in the face of California's ironclad laws against disclosing police misconduct — how a Menlo Park officer was arrested with a prostitute and then managed to kept his job.

She broke the story in a Jan. 16, 2013, cover story. A vague comment she overheard in a bar turned into a months-long investigation that involved researching records kept out of public sight. The series demonstrated that the confidential binding arbitration process many jurisdictions use to handle appeals of police discipline cases is broken.

The articles identified deficiencies in data-collecting by the district attorney's offices in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. In response, the district attorney of Santa Clara County took steps to collect and publicly disclose data regarding prosecutions of police officers.

Following the series, the Menlo Park City Council implemented a new type of binding arbitration process and the Menlo Park police chief has committed to providing better transparency.

Other awards

Almanac photographer Michelle Le won first place for her image of artist Drue Kataoka reflected in her artwork at the Djerassi artists' compound in the Woodside Hills. Ms. Kataoka's work involved using shards of mirror purposely shaped and arranged on 27 surfaces of a fallen oak tree. The photo ran with the July 24, 2013, cover story on Ms. Kataoka.

Design director Shannon Corey won second place for "page layout and design" for the cover story on Ms. Kataoka and a cover story in the July 31, 2013, Almanac called "Double Duty," an account by Almanac writer Barbara Wood of how Red Cross volunteers responded to a simultaneous double disaster of an airline crash and an apartment-complex fire.

The Almanac also won a second-place award for its website, AlmanacNews.com.

In addition, these Almanac entries were named Blue Ribbon Finalists (third or fourth places):

• Best feature story: "Who's watching," a story by Renee Batti, Sandy Brundage and Dave Boyce in the Sept. 25, 2013, Almanac on stepped-up police surveillance through cameras and license-plate readers.

• Education coverage: "Learning how to learn," a story in the Nov. 14, 2012, Almanac by Barbara Wood on a small school in Portola Valley that is a lab for innovations in education.

• Editorial comment: "City overreacts with censoring emails," an editorial by Tom Gibboney in the Feb. 27, 2013, Almanac.

• Artistic photo: Michelle Le's photo of a young swimmer preparing to jump into the new Belle Haven Pool on Aug. 29, 2013.

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