Palo Alto Weekly Judged Best Large Weekly by CNPA

Also tops in editorial pages, sports page

For the second year in a row, the Palo Alto Weekly has been judged the best large weekly newspaper in the state by the California Newspaper Publishers’ Association (CNPA). Two years ago, the Weekly received the second-place award for general excellence.

The general excellence award is considered the most prestigious journalism prize in the state.

Judges also selected the Weekly’s sports pages (under Sports Editor Keith Peters and Assistant Editor Rick Eymer) and editorial pages to be the best for the second year in a row.

It is believed to be unprecedented for the same paper to receive first-place awards in three major categories back to back.

The Weekly also won a first-place award for spot-news coverage for its comprehensive report, “Ripples of a Tragedy,” about how the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon affected people in the Palo Alto area. The cover story was a staff-wide effort, coordinated by Managing Editor Marc Burkhardt and Associate Editor Elizabeth Lorenz.

The Weekly also received two second-place awards, for a story by Senior Staff Writer Don Kazak on the economic issues facing Stanford Medical Center and for an accompanying cover photo by Chief Photographer Kate Robertson.

Weekly Editor Jay Thorwaldson accepted the awards Saturday, June 29, at the annual CNPA convention at the Hotel de Coronado in San Diego. He told the several hundred publishers, editors and journalists present that the excellence of the Weekly is due to the combined efforts of the staff throughout the paper.

The Editorial Department, he said, is staffed by people who truly care about the higher goals of quality journalism and are continually striving as individuals to improve their writing and editing skills. The Weekly is in the 25,000-plus circulation category, competing against large weeklies from throughout the state. This year, 18 papers entered in that category, CNPA officials said. There were 3,500 entries overall in 25 categories.

Entries were screened initially by 220 editors from throughout California, and the top four entries in each category were sent to out-of-state editors for the final selections. Identities of the papers were concealed from the judges.

The Weekly’s sister paper, the Almanac in Menlo Park, received a second-place award for a news story, and another sister paper, the Pleasanton Weekly, received a first-place award for its “Lifestyle” coverage.