The Half Moon Bay Review has won the coveted General Excellence award from the California News Publishers Association. The award is for coverage in the 2020 calendar year.
Additionally, Review editorial cartoonist Marc Hershon took first and second prizes for his cartoons.
The General Excellence prize is the most prized honor given in the annual awards program conducted by the state’s press association. While other awards are given for individual stories, photographs or elements of the newspaper, the General Excellence judges consider the entirety of the newspaper.
To make the determination, judges asked for two full editions of the newspaper from September 2020. The dates were chosen at random and publishers didn’t know which newspapers would be selected until the contest was announced earlier this year.
The unnamed judges, who are newspaper editors from out of state, wrote they appreciated many aspects of the paper. “Two solid editions from a newspaper with an array of informative and interesting elements throughout. I like the clean layout with clear story kickers, the photo of the week and the well-executed feature on what a number of local places are named after. The column on COVID-19 answering messages from Louie Castoria had me laughing out loud.
“All and all, fine work and enjoyable newspapers,” judges wrote.
“This one is really gratifying,” said Coastside News Group Editorial Director Clay Lambert, who noted the newspaper has only earned the honor a handful of times in his 17-year tenure as editor. “2020 was particularly challenging, as we all know, because of the wildfires and pandemic. This is a complete team win, and everyone from the business staff to the editorial employees share in it.”
The year was not only a challenging year, but it was a time of rapid growth for the Coastside-based benefit corporation that owns the Review. With the help of investment from Pacificans, the Coastside News Group completed purchase of the Pacifica Tribune in October 2020.