The Chico Enterprise-Record picked up another award in the California News Publishers Association’s California Journalism Award competition Sunday — and this time, the E-R took first place.
Reporter Robin Epley won first place in the Election 2020 category for her “A council divided, a city confused” story that helped explain the complicated district-wide elections adopted in Chico for last year’s election.
It was the seventh award won so far by the E-R in the statewide competition’s small newspaper category.
“The adoption of the district-wide elections was a confusing time for our voters,” E-R editor Mike Wolcott said. “Robin’s story, and the district-wide map we printed the same day, cleared up a lot of confusion for all of us. It was well-researched and took a complicated topic and made it understandable for our readers. It was small-town journalism at its best, and that’s what we strive for every day.”
Judges agreed, calling Epley “a true pro for deciphering one of the most convoluted local election plans in California. With clear and lively writing – with a bit of humor thrown in – she unravels what local voters will need to know while connecting with her audience with writing that acknowledges the absurdity of the complex system … The excellent graphic also gives a clear understanding with a glance and is the best of how such concepts serve readers.”
The graphic was designed by Audria Ruscitti, a member of the NorCal Design Center based in Chico.
Two months after writing that story, Epley received a different kind of honor: she was promoted to editor of the E-R’s sister weekly newspapers in Mendocino County, the Fort Bragg Advocate and Mendocino Beacon.
“It is truly an honor and a surprise to win for a story that was the culmination of many months work,” Epley said.
The CNPA awards are being announced on a daily basis through May 18. Here are the awards won by the E-R to date in the statewide competition:
Election coverage: First place, Robin Epley, “A council divided, a city confused.”
Wildfire coverage: Second place, Sharon Martin, ““Memories of Camp Okizu.”
Photo essay: Second place, Carin Dorghalli, “A month up in flames.”
Profile story: Fourth place, Will Denner, “Friends remember Stephen Vest, 30-year-old killed in Chico police shooting.”
Editorial writing: Fifth place, editorial board of Laura Urseny, Steve Schoonover and Mike Wolcott, “It’s time for a new mayor in Chico.”