The Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California chapter will present 14 awards this year including a career achievement award to the small-town publisher who took on the Synanon cult in the 1970s. Winners will be honored at a March 16 banquet in San Francisco emceed by KPIX-TV anchor Ken Bastida and Michael Krasny, host of KQED’s “Forum.” Go to the SPJ NorCal site for details. Honorees include:

  • David Mitchell of the Point Reyes Light, whose battle with the Synanon cult resulted in the common law protections reporters enjoy to protect sources;
  • Paul Grabowicz, who directs the New Media Program at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism;
  • the Center for Investigative Reporting;
  • sfgate.com cartoonist Mark Fiore;
  • Chronicle reporter Vanessa Hua, whose reporting about the misuse of state election funds led to the resignation of California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley’s doorstep;
  • the Chronicle’s Tanya Schevitz and Todd Wallack, whose reporting uncovered irregularities in the UC system’s hiring and compensation practices;
  • Barry Witt of the Mercury News, who uncovered a secret deal involving San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, City Manager Del Bergsdorf and a local garbage hauler;
  • Dion Nissenbaum of the Mercury News, who discovered that the California National Guard was tracking protesters at an anti-war rally;
  • Peter Scheer, the executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, who aggressively developed strategies to define and expand the scope of Proposition 59, California’s landmark open-government initiative, which Scheer helped bring before the voters.
  • Marin Independent Journal, for a powerful series by reporter Keri Brenner explaining how Marin County’s generous retirement system works.
  • KGO-TV, whose Dan Noyes, Beth Rimbey, Ken Miguel and the station’s investigative unit uncovered serious problems with San Francisco’s emergency disaster plan and revealed that Oakland school officials traveled to a retreat at an exclusive resort while the district was in a financial crisis.
  • CNET News.com, which helped make the question of whether bloggers should be viewed as journalists a national political issue.
  • Benicia council member Elizabeth Patterson and Dr. Tom Campbell, a former councilmember, who helped create a Sunshine Committee that has grown into a movement for open government.
  • Alameda Newspaper Group, The Argus, reporter Barry Shatzman, attorney Duffy Carolan, for setting an example of how the media should act in the face of government secrecy.
SF Press Club News

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