Dispatch earns top honors

First-place awards for breaking news coverage

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The Gilroy Dispatch’s coverage of the Gilroy Garlic Festival mass shooting netted the newspaper a pair of first-place awards in the California News Publishers Association’s annual California Journalism Awards.

The Dispatch, competing in the weekly newspaper circulation of 11,001-25,000 category, received first place in Breaking News for both the print and digital categories of the awards, which were announced March 31. The newspaper also received a second-place award for In-Depth Reporting related to the festival shooting.

In the digital category of monthly unique visitors of 40,000 and under, the judge praised the Dispatch staff for producing “multiple stories long before you’d have another print edition again.” Dispatch staff posted 28 articles in the two weeks following the shooting.

“Your team was all over the coverage of the mass shooting at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival,” the judge wrote. “You stuck with it like any news organization must.”

For In-Depth Reporting, the judge called the Dispatch’s work a “well-rounded, impressive effort.”

“The Gilroy Dispatch staff should be commended for its strong, comprehensive coverage in the aftermath of the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting,” the judge wrote. “Beyond the responsible, professional spot coverage of the shooting, the newspaper made smart choices in its follow-up reporting.”

The Dispatch’s sister newspaper, the Morgan Hill Times, was commended for its coverage of the Ford Store shooting on June 25, 2019, receiving first place for Breaking News for weekly newspapers with a circulation of 4,301-11,000.

“Community news reporting at its best,” the judge in the category wrote. “Excellent follow-up that moved a breaking story forward for readers of a weekly. Excellent teamwork with several staff members pursuing different aspects of the story, seeking what was new, what would happen next, what was still unknown and reactions from community members and experts.”

The Good Times, the Dispatch‘s sister weekly based in Santa Cruz, won first prize for General Excellence, the most prestigious award among all weekly newspapers in California.

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