The Pleasanton Weekly won the prestigious first-place award in the Public Service category among all state weekly newspapers in its circulation category Saturday from the California Newspaper Publishers Association at an awards luncheon at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City.
The award, given as part of the organization's 2008 CNPA Better Newspapers Contest, recognized the newspaper for its 2007 Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund and a series of articles that reported on the eight Tri-Valley nonprofits that needed the community's financial support to meet their 2008 service obligations.
The Weekly, with matching funds provided by the Tri-Valley Community Foundation, raised $150,000, which was distributed in equal amounts to the nonprofits. They were Axis Community Health, Hope Hospice, Open Heart Kitchen, Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation, Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, Tri-Valley Haven, Valley Humane Society and the Emergency Room expansion program at ValleyCare Medical Center.
The Pleasanton Weekly's stories spanned a six-week period from Thanksgiving week to early January, with the checks to the nonprofits distributed early this year. All of the contributions made by individuals, organizations and businesses went to the nonprofits with the Weekly and the Tri-Valley Community Foundation absorbing all administrative expenses.
The stories were written by Jeb Bing, publisher and editor; Janet Pelletier, managing editor, and Emily West, features and education editor.
The newspaper's 2008 Holiday Fund campaign will be launched this year on Nov. 21.
The Public Service award topped all other entries by weekly newspapers in the 11,001-25,000 circulation category in California. The newspaper also won Certificates of Achievement from the CNPA for outstanding entries in the Columns and Business/Financial Story categories.
The Pleasanton Weekly was one of five newspapers that are part of the Embarcadero Publishing Company group that won statewide awards in the annual CNPA contest. The Palo Alto Weekly won three first place awards in its circulation category for weekly newspapers with circulation of 25,000 and more, and it also won four second place awards.
The Pacific Sun in Marin County won a first place award, with the Almanac that covers Menlo Park and neighboring communities winning three first place awards and one for second place, and the Mountain View Voice receiving three second place awards.
In addition to judges selected from California in the first wave of judging California weekly and daily newspapers for the 2008 competition, the final awards decisions were made by a CNPA blue ribbon panel that included Chris Pech, editor, Memphis Commercial-Appeal; Maura Casey, editorial writer, New York Times; Dave Offer, retired editor, Augusta & Waterville (Maine) Newspapers; Barbara King, publisher, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer; Suki Dardarian, news managing editor, The Seattle Times; Jack Ronald, editor and publisher, The (Portland, Ind.) Commercial Review; Deana Sands, retired managing editor, Omaha World-Herald, and David Hawpe, editorial director, Louisville Courier-Journal.