The Valley Voice was recognized with four awards on Saturday night at the California Journalism Awards.
Nancy Vigran, Dave Adalian and Tony Maldonado earned first place in the digital In-Depth Reporting category for a package of reporting on the City of Tulare, aptly titled “Turmoil in Tulare.”
The package included coverage of Tulare Police Chief Wes Hensley’s suspension, Hensley’s firing on the same day as former Tulare City Manager Joe Carlini, lawsuits filed for public records, controversial comments made by former Tulare Mayor Carlton Jones, and the beginning of an investigation into Tulare councilman Greg Nunley — among other stories.
Maldonado separately earned fourth place in the same category for coverage of the Tulare Regional Medical Center (TRMC) and Healthcare Conglomerate Associates (HCCA), including reporting on the Tulare County District Attorney’s investigation into HCCA, a deep dive into Adventist Health’s agreement to lease TRMC, and coverage of HCCA CEO Dr. Benny Benzeevi’s legal battle to regain control of assets seized by the district attorney’s office — including a purpose-built tool to view the proceeding’s court documents.
Both submissions won among publications with an online presence of 40,000 or less unique visitors per month. Judges looked for stories that indicated a “considerable degree of research and/or investigation” and, specific to digital submissions, included elements that set them apart from a standard printed story.
“The Valley Voice provides an excellent example of dogged, hyper-local reporting that demands answers, holds power to account and doesn’t give up. The antics of Tulare City Council are riveting, and Valley Voice reporters Nancy Vigran, Dave Adalian and Tony Maldonado were there to capture every twist and turn in the plot,” a California Journalism Awards judge wrote, commenting on the Turmoil in Tulare package. “Clearly, Valley Voice is a thorn in the side of the shady operators in town government, exposing backroom dealing and potential corruption. But readers don’t have to take the reporters’ words for it – by posting a steady stream of public records, Valley Voice allowed its readers to make up their own mind about their town government. And that’s what local reporting is all about.”
Adalian separately earned fifth place for digital Breaking News for the article “Nunes flees coffee shop confrontation.” Judges looked for quality of writing, photos, graphics, and an effective use of headlines.
Additionally, Catherine Doe was awarded fifth place for In-Depth Reporting in print for a package of reporting on the Tulare Public Cemetery, including allegations of grave mix-ups and dissatisfaction with cemetery district board members. In print, the Voice was judged against papers with similar circulation: weeklies printing between 11,001 and 25,000 copies.
The California Journalism Awards are arranged by the California News Publishers Association, of which the Voice is a member. The Voice joined the association last year, and has previously been recognized for its work, including a first place win by Adalian for writing.