The Santa Cruz Sentinel’s historic achievement

Sentinel City Editor Julie Copeland and Editor Don Miller at CNPA award ceremony, Universal City


OK — there’s been so much negative stuff surrounding newspapers (much of it self inflicted by the way), that I’m going to step out from any feigned posture of humility and toot our, the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s, horn for a fleeting moment.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel was voted by our peers the best newspaper in the entire state between 15,000-35,000 daily print circulation for the year 2012 at the California Newspaper Publisher’s Association annual even in Universal City (LA) Saturday. Since the Sentinel is about 24,000 circulation, you can see that we were up against significantly bigger papers. “General Excellence” was the name of the award, and it’s the most prestigious that CNPA bestows.

This marks an unprecedented second time in three years we’ve won General Excellence — after NEVER winning it in our first 154 years of publishing.

Here’s what CNPA had to say in giving us the award:

“The Santa Cruz Sentinel has in general compelling stories on the front page that were very effective. This is a paper that reaches high (!!!!). Editorial page has a local focus. Very effective use of photos — great one of mom after shooting and junior lifeguards inside, as well as “home” illustration of seats being painted. Good for you in covering the Olympics in London. Arts secton — ‘The Guide’ — was great!”

Features Editor Marc DesJardins’ entries for “Lifestyle Coverage” won first place as well.

I’d like to personally thank all our news team for their work and commitment over the year that led to this honor (and I know they’ve had to work through some difficult circumstances):

City Editor Julie Copeland and Assistant CE Don Fukui, Sports Editor Julie Jag, Marc DesJardins, Copy Desk Chief Brian Pifer, Online Editor Tom Moore — and our talented reporting staff: Jondi Gumz, Donna Jones, Jim Brown (second place winner for environmental coverage), Jason Hoppin, Stephen Baxter, Shanna McCord, Bonnie Horgos, Jim Seimas and Andrew Matheson, along with many wonderful and valuable part timers and correspondents. Our talented photographers Dan Coyro, Shmuel Thaler, Kevin Johnson, Jonathan Weiand and current intern, Matthew Hintz. Our features editor Wallace Baine, digital producer Christina Gullickson, and copy deskers Tony Solis (also a second place winner), Larry Cafiero, Kalin Kiplin and My Nguyen, plus sports paginator Jacob May all were integral parts of our success. Thanks also to Kim White, Jessica Pasko and Cathy Kelly for their efforts.

Also congratulations to the many women and men at the Sentinel who work in producing revenue, designing ads, keeping the creaky technology creaking along, taking phone calls, directing circulation — and, through Publisher Michael Turpin, are working to find new ways to keep this endeavor going in our rapidly changing business environment.

Here’s our 2011 story after winning our first General Excellence and my blog on what it was like then (industry was facing, um, “challenges,” even then as well)

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