CalMatters has carved out a leadership role as a trusted brand and “go-to” hub for in-depth news and information on statewide issues. Our work has led to changes in policy, new legislation and investigations and discussions at the Capitol, in political groups and beyond — and because of our collaborative approach, people across the state are more engaged in solving the problems California is tackling.

We’re proud that our team and our work have been recognized and honored with many local, state, and national awards.

Awards by year: 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 

2021

Online News Association
General Excellence in Online Journalism, Small Newsrooms
CalMatters is one of four finalists. Winners will be announced October 15.The OJAs are the only comprehensive prizes honoring excellence in digital journalism.
Society of Environmental Journalists
First Place
Outstanding Beat Reporting
Rachel Becker for these stories:
Oil and Babies Don’t Mix: Wells Linked to Low Birthweight
• A Collision of Crises; Central Valley Suffers Searing Heat, Smoke and Virus Hot Spots
• Unsafe To Drink: Wildfires Threaten Rural Towns With Tainted Water
• Well Water Throughout California Contaminated With ‘Forever Chemicals’
• Legacy of a Clean-Air Czar: Clearer Skies, Bold Alliances and Bitter Controversy
The judges cited Rachel’s “in-depth, yet easy-to-digest reporting on California’s contaminated air and drinking water resources. Her stories on water, in particular, revealed that a number of unaware communities might be consuming water tainted by industrial chemicals — some left in the aftermath of the state’s many wildfires. Her writing was chock full of helpful statistics and underpinned by science in a way that informed but did not overwhelm.”
Society of Professional Journalists NorCal Chapter
Excellence in Journalism Award
Laurel Rosenhall
Best Scoop
Exclusive: California wires mask dealer half a billion dollars, then claws it back
Society of Professional Journalists NorCal Chapter
Excellence in Journalism Award
Jackie Botts
Lo Bénichou
Kate Cimini
Explanatory Journalism
Close Quarters: California’s overcrowded homes fuel spread of coronavirus among workers
National Press Club
National Headliner Award
Laurel Rosenhall
Online Beat Coverage
The judges said: “Laurel Rosenhall’s coverage of the California statehouse should be
required reading for all statehouse reporters in the country. Her beat coverage this year offered
several sure-to-outrage-citizens stories, including how politicians are allowed to set up
nonprofits to accept unlimited donations.”
SIGMA Awards
World’s best data journalism
Jackie Botts
Lo Bénichou
Kate Cimini
Finalists
Close Quarters
One of the first stories to link overcrowded housing to the spread of coronavirus.
Sacramento Press Club
Journalism Awards
Laurel Rosenhall
Journalist of the Year

Laurel also won first place for Beat Reporting, and the Press Club named a scholarship in her honor.
The judges said: “Laurel Rosenhall uses tenacious reporting and public records to hold politicians and other powerful people accountable for their decisions and actions.”
Sacramento Press Club
Journalism Awards
Jackie Botts
Kate Cimini
Laurence Du Sault
Manuela Tobias

Finalist, Impact in Journalism
COVID In the Workplace
Sacramento Press Club
Journalism Awards
Lauren Hepler
Stephen Council

Finalist, Capitol Enterprise
How Bank of America Helped Fuel California’s Unemployment Meltdown
Sacramento Press Club
Journalism Awards
Rachel Becker
Finalist, Environmental Reporting
Legacy of a Clean Air Czar
Sacramento Press Club
Journalism Awards
CalMatters Staff
Finalist, Best Multimedia Package
California Election Guide, November 2020
San Francisco Press ClubAnne Wernikoff
First Place, Photo
Reflections: Bernie Backers
San Francisco Press ClubJocelyn Wiener
First Place, General News
Go on Medi-Cal to Get That
San Francisco Press ClubLauren Hepler
Stephen Council
First place, Investigative 
How BofA Fueled California’s Unemployment Meltdown
San Francisco Press ClubRachel Becker
Rebecca Sohn

First place, Environmental
California’s Toxic Legacy
San Francisco Press ClubBen Christopher
Second Place, Columns
Post-It 2020 Election Coverage
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
CalMatters Staff
First Place, Public Service
2020 Election Guide
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
CalMatters Staff
First Place, Pandemic Coverage
Year of Loss series profiling families of COVID victims.  
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Ben Christopher
First Place, Data Journalism
2020 election data analysis
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Jocelyn Wiener
First Place, Writing
Mental health tsunami looms: Can California prevent a surge in suicides?
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Nigel Duara
First Place, Features
12 Hours in an L.A. restaurant
The judges said, “Duara captures the uncertainty from inside, nailing the voices of the frustrated owners frantically looking for answers [and] the servers struggling to make the rent and feed their own families.
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Laurel Rosenhall
First Place, Enterprise
NAACP president aids corporate prop campaigns
The judges said, “This is true enterprise springing from a reporter who noticed patterns that seemed not to make sense. The conflict of interest was staggering.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Jackie Botts, Lo Bénichou,
Kate Cimini, Marla Cone
Second Place, In-Depth Reporting
Close Quarters
The judges said: “This was an extremely strong entry that could win first place in many years.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Anne Wernikoff
Second Place, News Photo
Haight Ashbury Shutdown
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
John Osborn D’Agostino,
Lo Bénichou
Second Place, Informational Graphic
Coronavirus Hospitalization Tracker
The judges said, “ … daily virus tracker loads instantaneously and is packed with useful information.
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Julie Cart
Second Place, Land-Use Reporting
Battle at the Beach
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Elizabeth Aguilera
Third Place, Feature Story
For some California teens, school closures led to work in the fields. The judges said:“ … important and under-told story about the pandemic’s stunting effect on migrant students’ education.”  
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Rachel Becker
Rebecca Sohn

Fourth Place, In-Depth Reporting
California’s Toxic Legacy of “Forever Chemicals
The judges said:Excellent examination of contaminated wells that provide drinking water … [showing] how the low rate of well testing left many Californians with no idea what the true extent of contamination is.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Jocelyn Wiener
Fifth Place, Enterprise News Story or Series
Why Californians with mental illness are dropping private insurance
The judges said: “This is journalism with impact, with lawmakers and advocates citing this story before they passed a law to expand mental health parity.
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Laurel Rosenhall
Fifth Place, Investigative Reporting
Sweet Charity
The judges said, “Sweet Charity made an immediate impact. California’s political ethics commission is now investigating this growing trend. Nice work.

2020

National Press Foundation
Poverty and Inequality Reporting
Nigel Duara
Orlando Mayorquin
Jackie Botts
Laurence Du Sault
Kate Cimini
Staying Sheltered
The judges said, “… highlighted not only the struggles but also the resourcefulness of renters throughout the Golden State. … “The human stories take the reader beyond the policy debates.”
Best of the West
Investigative Journalism, Second Place
Jackie Botts
Kate Cimini
COVID rips through motel rooms of guest workers who pick nation’s produce
The judges said, “Their work changed policies that certainly saved some lives and it was a real work of public service journalism.
University of San Diego School of Law Children’s Advocacy Institute
Price Child Health and Welfare Journalism Award
Elizabeth AguileraPandemic coverage including:
For some teens, school closures led to work in the fields
Over a million students still lack access to remote learning
Home is a perilous place for some during pandemic
• Coronavirus stretches special education system to the brink
National Press Club
National Headliner Award
Jocelyn WienerBreakdown: Mental Health
Public Media Journalists Association
Second Place, Podcasts
Laurel RosenhallForce of Law
Society of Environmental Journalists
First Honorable Mention
Julie CartRoad to Zero
The judges said, In Cart’s clear, zingy style, she rips into the state’s climate goal playbook and lets readers know what’s working and what hasn’t yet worked.”
Edward R. Murrow AwardCalifornia Dream collaboration among KQED, KPCC, KPBS, CapRadio and CalMattersGraying California
Best of the WestJulie Cart
Judy Lin
Byrhonda Lyons
California’s Worsening Wildfires, Explained
The judges said. May others learn from this supreme example of sharp exposition.
Capitol Weekly
Top 100
Laurel RosenhallSacramento has no shortage of great reporters, but Laurel Rosenhall of CalMatters is in a class by herself.”
Society of Professional Journalists NorCal Chapter
Excellence in Journalism Award, Explanatory Journalism
Matt Levin
Ben Christopher
John Osborn D’Agostino
Californians: Here’s why your housing costs are so high
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
CalMatters Staff
First Place, General Excellence
The judges said, easy navigation, good art, superbly written stories and even interactivity.
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Jocelyn Wiener
This story won three prizes:
• First Place, In-Depth Reporting
• Second Place, Enterprise News
• Third Place, Investigative Reporting
Breakdown: California’s Mental Health System, Explained
The judges said, It is clear that much time was devoted to in-depth research; great reporting with diverse sources that add the human element to the issue.
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Ricardo Cano
Mohamed Al Elew
John Osborn D’Agostino
This package won three prizes:
• First Place, Investigative Reporting
• Second Place, Public Service Journalism
• Third Place, Writing
Disaster Days
The judges said, “This series armed lawmakers to make informed decisions. … [It] shows how journalists can take numbers and turn them into something useful, not only for the general public but also for the government.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Elizabeth Castillo
Matt Levin
First Place, Land-Use Reporting
Lawmakers and landlords: More than a quarter of California legislators are both.
The judges said, Great enterprise reporting of a huge conflict-of-interest issue that could affect all Californians.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Ben Christopher
Second Place, Coverage of Local Government
Will state crack down on predatory lending?
The judges said: “Such an important topic, and one that hasn’t received enough attention.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Julie Cart
Judy Lin
Second Place, Story Presentation
California’s on Fire, unplugged and out of easy answers. So why don’t we…
The judges said: “Many strong layouts. The tone of the subheads … made the dry subject more engaging.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Ricardo Cano
Third Place, Coverage of Youth and Education
How far will California schools go on charter schools?
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
CalMatters Staff
Third Place, Home Page Layout
& Design
The judges said: “The site is attractive and simple, without a lot of invasive ads and pop-ups adding clutter. Headlines are strong and compelling.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Anne Wernikoff
Fourth Place, Feature Photo
Paging more doctors: California’s worsening physician shortage
The judges said: “The photos helped tell the story of this doctor and what he means to the community.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Ben Christopher
In-Depth Reporting
How California got tough on guns
The judges said: “Good lead, excellent news value with good infographics, subtopics and video. Shows a considerable degree of research and investigation.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Byrhonda Lyons
Video Journalism
California’s new laws in 1 minute series

2019

Society of Environmental Journalists Julie Cart
Third Place, Outstanding Beat Reporting
The judges said: “This series of reports brings the topic of climate change down to Earth, as it offers multimedia coverage of related issues such as cap-and-trade, adaptation of the electrical grid and the real challenges of abandoning fossil fuels.”  
Online News Association
Online Journalism Award
John Osborn D’Agostino
Finalist, Visual Digital Storytelling
Gimme Props
Society of Professional Journalists NorCal Chapter
Excellence in Journalism Award
John Osborn D’Agostino
Winner, Data Visualization
Gimme Props
Society of Professional Journalists NorCal Chapter
Excellence in Journalism Award
Dan Morain
Features Journalism
A Capitol Crime: How a 16-year-old murder reached California’s highest offices
Society of Professional Journalists NorCal Chapter
Excellence in Journalism Award
Felicia Mello
Ongoing Coverage
Cost of College
Society of Professional Journalists NorCal Chapter
Excellence in Journalism Award
Jocelyn Wiener
Science, Environment and Health Reporting
Breakdown: Mental Health
National Press Club
National Headliner Award
CalMatters StaffCalifornians: Everything you need to know before you vote
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Ben Christopher
Byrhonda Lyons
John Osborn D’Agostino,
First Place, Public Service Journalism
CalMatters 2018 Election Guide
The judges said: “An absolute wonderful example of public service.”  
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
John Osborn D’Agostino
David Lesher
Marcia Parker
First Place, Homepage Design
The judges said: “Solid, effective layout, design and headline use. Good variety of photos and colors. It’s the best for both desktop and mobile versions.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Felicia Mello
Shawn Hubler
Vicki Haddock
This story won two prizes:
• First Place, Investigative Reporting
• First Place, Coverage of Youth and Education
California’s for-profit college watchdog fails to police
The judges said: “The writer did a great job pushing ahead with this story despite state regulators refusing to cooperate.” 
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Laurel Rosenhall
Shawn Hubler
Vicki Haddock
First Place, Coverage of Local Government
A Capitol fixer is poised to ascend with Gavin Newsom—and legal weed
The judges said: “This is a powerful piece of journalism that vitally serves the public interest in two ways: explaining Kinney’s cozy relationship to California’s new governor and how relatively unknown people exert great influence behind the scenes.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Laurel Rosenhall
Shawn Hubler
Vicki Haddock
First Place, Feature Story
No legislator has confronted the effects of wildfire like this forensic dentist
The judges said: “Easy to read (clear) writing. Well organized. Huge relevance (a major story with focus on key element).”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
David Gorn
First Place, Enterprise
Stories on wellness
The judges said: “Great balance of stories about people and data.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Byrhonda Lyons
Julie Cart

First Place, Video Journalism
CalMatters explains California’s war on climate change
The judges said: “Explaining California’s war on climate change in fewer than five minutes is no easy task. But this video does so in an engaging, effective way.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Matt Levin
Vicki Haddock
First Place, Land-Use Reporting
2018 Housing/Zoning Coverage
The judges said, “The stories gave context to complex issues and used a variety of digital layers to connect readers with the information.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
CalMatters Team
Second Place, General Excellence
The judges said: “Rarely does a non-profit, community funded news website rise to the level of what CalMatters offers. … You get the sensation that you are visiting a large news organization.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Matt Levin
Second Place, Feature Writing
California housing costs create harsh reality for refugees
The judges said: “A story that needs to be told that can help lead to answers of a serious problem.” 
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
CalMatters Team
Dan Morain
Laurel Rosenhall
Ben Christopher
Second Place, Breaking News
2018 Election Night Coverage
The judges said, “impressive wall-to-wall coverage of the statewide general election (that) reflected well-thought-out planning and the team’s deep knowledge of the candidates and the issues.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Ricardo Cano
Shawn Hubler
Vicki Haddock

This entry won two awards:
• Second Place, Investigative Reporting
• Second Place, Local Government
California’s School Bonds: the Rich Get Richer and the Poor, not so Much
The judges said, “The story is reader- friendly because it isn’t drowning in numbers, and Cano effectively mixes in interviews with officials trying to get facilities built.
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Felicia Mello
Third Place, Writing
California Campuses Confront a Growing Crisis: Homeless Students
The judges said: “A great lead and a well-written and heartbreaking story about a talented young man’s struggle to go to college.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Jessica Calefati
Vicki Haddock
David Lesher

This story won three prizes:
• Third Place, In-Depth Reporting
• Third Place, Local Government
• Fifth Place, Youth & Education
Teacher Pension Debt Swamps School Budgets
The judges said: “Great reader service of identifying how ballooning teacher pensions are going to spell financial disaster for schools down the road.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Matt Levin
John Osborn D’Agostino

Adriene Hill
Vicki Haddock

Third Place, Enterprise News
Digging into the data: California Dream
The judges said: “Very nice graphics. Lots of data. Solid reporting.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Julie Cart
Linda Rogers

Fourth Place, In-Depth Reporting
Climate Change coverage
The judges said, “Top-notch series that shows climate-change regulations are shortchanging taxpayers.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Ben Christopher
Vicki Haddock
Fourth Place, Writing
Gavin Newsom Profile
The judges said: “It’s hard to stand out when writing a profile about Gavin Newsom since there are so many written already. But this well-written one did provide a lot of unusual quotes and facts that gave a bigger more nuanced picture of California’s governor.”
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Laurel Rosenhall
Shawn Hubler
Vicki Haddock

Fourth Place, Feature Story
Colusa County welcomes Jerry Brown
California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
Byrhonda Lyons
Laurel Rosenhall
Vicki Haddock

Fourth Place, Video Journalism
The judges said: “Alternating between chilling shooting video, and the highlighting of legal documents, this video tackles a crucial topic.”

2018

Online News Association
Online Journalism Award
Matt Levin
Ben Christopher
John Osborn D’Agostino

First Place, Feature
Californians: Here’s Why Your Housing Costs Are So High 

Editor & Publisher
EPPY Awards
Matt Levin
Ben Christopher

Best Feature Story
Californians: Here’s Why Your Housing Costs Are So High 
Editor & Publisher
EPPY Awards
CalMatters Team
Best Innovation Project
California Election Guide

2017

California News Publishers
California Journalism Awards
CalMatters Team
First Place
For a collaboration with the Los Angeles Times and Capital Public Radio
An 18-month project about the devastating financial impact from the state’s unfunded pension liability
California Press Association
Jack Bates Award
Marcia ParkerHonors distinguished service to the California press through effective leadership in addressing newspaper challenges and assisting journalism education
California Latino Journalists News Media AssociationElizabeth Aguilera
15 Most Influential Latina Journalists of the Year