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Ark wins second for general excellence, first for public-service journalism in state contest

The Ark has been named among the state’s best small weekly newspapers, winning second place for general excellence in the California News Publishers Association’s 2018 California Journalism Awards contest, as well as first place for public-service journalism — the association’s top reporting honor.

Overall, the paper won 19 awards for its coverage of the Tiburon Peninsula last year, finishing in the top three for 14 of those. The awards were announced May 4 during the association’s annual convention, held this year in Long Beach; finalists were announced in late March. The Ark, which has a circulation of about 2,500, generally competes in the largest category, against other California weeklies with a circulation of 4,300 and under.

Tiburon reporter Deirdre McCrohan, former Belvedere reporter Matthew Hose and Executive Editor Kevin Hessel won first place for Public Service Journalism for their series of articles about the Belvedere-Tiburon Library’s expansion project. The articles primarily focused on informing and including the public in the process by which library officials began working to secure taxpayer funding for the expansion. Some residents have objected to public funding, as library officials made clear pledges during the expansion’s 2011-2012 approval process to use only private funding and not seek any new taxpayer money.

The same articles also won second place for Coverage of Local Government.

In addition, McCrohan and Hose won third place for Coverage of Local Government and fourth for Land-Use Reporting for their ongoing coverage of subdivision-development plans and associated legal battles at Easton Point, the 110-acre property atop the southern Tiburon Ridge owned by the Martha Co.

Also for Land-Use Reporting, Hose won second place for his analysis of how legislation by state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, could override local zoning rules to allow denser housing projects along transit corridors on the Tiburon Peninsula, including in downtown Tiburon. While the bill, SB872, failed in committee, it has been reintroduced as SB50, has the support of Gov. Gavin Newsom and is gaining momentum in the state Senate.

Hose also won third place for Best Feature Story for his article about firefighters taking part in behavioral-health training to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress and suicide in fire services, and third for Best Feature Photo for his image of local seniors participating in Belvedere-Tiburon Recreation’s chair-yoga course.

McCrohan also won two awards for Coverage of Business News: fourth place for her series of exclusive articles about celebrity chef Michael Mina’s plans to open a new restaurant in downtown Tiburon, the fifth place for her report on the $50 million renovation of The Cove at Tiburon apartments.

Hessel also won first place for Best Artistic Photo for his image of the rare super blue blood moon as it set behind the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands in January 2018. He won third place for Best Inside Page Layout & Design for the fall 2018 edition of the Home section, competing against all weeklies with a circulation of 11,000 and under.

The same Home edition won first place for Best Special Section. It was produced by Assistant Editor Emily Lavin, with articles by Lavin and contributors Heather Lobdell, Diane Lynch, Alex Madison, Ann Mizel and Diane Smith, with photography by contributor Jocelyn Knight.

Lavin also won second place for Agricultural Reporting for her article on local beekeeping enthusiasts, competing against all weeklies with a circulation of 11,000 and under. She won fourth place for Coverage of Youth and Education for her article on local teens traveling to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Taos, N.M.

Contributing writer Gretchen Lang won first place for Best Writing for her article about the changing faces of the anchor-outs living on Richardson Bay — from old-time mariners seeking a bohemian escape to those with drug and mental-health issues.

Former education reporter Jeff Dempsey and contributing photographer Elliot Karlan won third place for Breaking News for their coverage of Del Mar Middle School and Redwood High School students protesting gun violence in March 2018 after the Valentine’s Day slaying of 17 students at a Parkland, Fla., high school. Dempsey also won fourth place for Sports Feature Story, about then 10-year-old Galle Lipshitz earning his black belt in taekwondo, becoming the third brother in the family to do so.

Finally, The Ark won third place for its Arts & Entertainment Coverage, which featured fine- and performing-arts reviews by contributors Carol Benet and Rosine Rey­nolds, a garden column by Lynch, recipes by contributor Robin Scott Wray, calendar by Diana Goodman and design by Hessel. For A&E coverage, The Ark competed against all weeklies with a circulation of 25,000 and under.

The California Newspaper Publishers Association, founded in 1888, has more than 700 member newspapers. More than 3,000 entries were submitted in this year’s competition.

Initial judging was performed by representatives from the competing papers across the state, with eventual winners selected by a panel of editors and publishers from outside California. — Ark staff

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