The Almanac won seven awards in the state-wide Better Newspaper Contest, sponsored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association, it was announced Saturday, April 16.
The Almanac won first-place awards for public service, editorial comment, and news photo, and second-place awards for editorial pages, news photo, photo essay, and environmental reporting.
Staff photographer Michelle Le won both first- and second-place awards in the general news photo category.
The public-service award was given for News Editor Renee Batti's cover story on March 17, 2010, "Who is prospering from Prop 13?".
The article detailed the efforts of Menlo Park resident Jennifer Bestor, whose intensive research and review of parcel assessment rolls illustrated that the property tax burden since the 1978 passage of state Proposition 13 has shifted dramatically to homeowners, creating a windfall for commercial businesses.
While Ms. Bestor deserves much credit for her extensive and meticulous research, the Almanac devoted many hours to fact-checking Ms. Bestor's figures and conclusions, adding pertinent information and context, and creating a narrative to bring the issue home.
Reaction to the article was huge, and the Almanac received more comments about it than perhaps any other story during the year. It created a healthy -- and rare -- dialogue about the tax measure, and people began to see that a discussion of Proposition 13 reform could go beyond the hysteria of whether grandma would lose her home.
The first-place editorial comment award was for an editorial by editor and publisher Tom Gibboney, "Managing the Atherton news," published Jan. 6, 2010.
Photographer Michelle Le won first place in the general news photo category for her photo of the Dalai Lama's visit with Menlo Park and East Palo Alto students in October 2010.
Ms. Le also won the second-place award in the category for a December 2009 photo of the vigil for Lisa Xavier.
Ms. Le also won a second-place award for a September 2010 photo essay on Jeffrey Adair returning to the stage.
Reporter Dave Boyce won a second-place award in the environmental or agricultural resource reporting for a March 10, 2010, cover story, on "Gardening (to eat) at school." The story was about an achievement in self-sustainability by Sacred Heart Preparatory High School in Atherton. The students tend a large organic garden as well as chickens and goats on the campus. The fruits, vegetables and eggs provide ingredients for breakfast and lunch at the school.
Editor Tom Gibboney won a second-place award for editorial pages, published Aug. 11 and Aug. 25, 2010.
Former Almanac reporter Sean Howell received a certificate of achievement in the environmental or agricultural resource reporting category for two stories in the Nov. 4, 2009, issue about the growing number of people raising chickens: "Your own backyard." and "Raising chickens: A few tips."