Voice, Times-Delta finalists in annual state journalism awards

Reporting from the Valley Voice and the Visalia Times-Delta have the final round of the California News Publishers Association’s 2019 California Journalism Awards, the only area newspapers to receive the honor.

First-, second- and third-place winners of the annual awards will be announced by the California News Publishers Association in the coming weeks.

At the Valley Voice, reporter and co-owner Catherine Doe is a two-time finalist. She is being recognized for her work in the Land-Use and Special Section categories for weekly papers with a circulation greater than 11,000 copies.

“It was good, because journalism isn’t my first profession,” Doe said.

Doe was the sole reporter responsible for the Voice’s Where to Have Your Baby special section.

In gathering information about childbirth options, Doe was surprised at how few choices mothers in Kings and Tulare counties are offered.

“It ended up to be pretty interesting, with the choices here,” she said. “There are fewer here than in the Bay Area where you can easily have a home birth.”

Doe’s reporting on the mysterious closing of a land preserve in Porterville also caught the judges’ attention. The piece was entitled Who Closed Yaunanchi Ecological Reserve? The story details a battle between local users of the preserve and the water district that planned to stop the flow of river water that supported Yaunanchi.

“It’s very complicated. One of the water districts wanted to cut off their water,” Doe explained. “The ditch
company was, ‘That’s your problem.’ The reserve people were, ‘No, you can’t.’”

Closure of the ecological reserve came as a surprise to area residents, who had not been informed of the water district’s decision to cut off water.

They had also been unaware of the state’s decision to stop maintaining the land for public use.

The water district’s decision was easy to miss, Doe said, because the public generally ignores them.

“Nobody goes to them, so they’re easy to hide,” she said.

The Visalia Times-Delta’s work made the finals in nine categories for daily newspapers with a circulation of 15,000 or under.

Those up for awards include photographer Ron Holman, editor James Ward, and reporters Sheyanne Romero, Joshua Yeager and Calley Cederlof.

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