In summary

Judges in this year’s California Journalism Awards called out CalMatters’ work as “insightful,” “impressive” and “comprehensive.”

CalMatters has been honored again with first place for general excellence in a statewide journalism contest, with a judge saying: “I didn’t find one story that didn’t answer the question: Why does this matter to California?”

CalMatters’ first place win from the California News Publishers Association is in the largest digital audience category; the Los Angeles Times placed second and the San Francisco Chronicle came in third. The award is bestowed for the newsroom’s full year of work in 2022.

The judges noted: “CalMatters’ digital platform presents insightful political news in an extremely engaging yet digestible way. The reporting dives deep into complex topics while catching the eye with amazing visual content. The headlines are attention-grabbing, the photography is superb and each vertical has extensive, important coverage.”

This is CalMatters’ second year in a row with the top honor in the largest audience category and third win overall. The 2021 award called out a “relentless approach to telling engaging stories from multiple perspectives;” the 2020 one noted “easy navigation, good art, superbly written stories and even interactivity;” and in the 2019 second-place honor 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.”

CalMatters’ California Journalism Awards this year also include:

Informational Graphic

1st Place, Jeremia  Kimelman, John  Osborn D’Agostino, Erica Yee

This honor is for the drought and water tracker that  provides a current and historical perspective on water issues facing the state using a variety of publicly available datasets.

Coverage of the Environment

2nd Place, Rachel Becker

Judges noted of Becker’s in-depth reporting on California’s water crisis: “This reporting provides so much context that it is actually a road map to helping fix some of our most vexing issues. The graphics are extremely informative as well. The reporter provides all this information while at the same time telling compelling stories.”

Coverage of the Business and the Economy

2nd Place, Alexei Koseff

Judges honored this story examining problems facing legal cannabis: “Comprehensive reporting that sheds light on multiple players in the cannabis industry, as well as the political implications of Newsom’s support and eventual inattention to the cause. Each story flowed nicely with thorough reporting highlighting personal stories from all over the state.”

Feature Photo

2nd Place, Martin do Nascimiento

This photo in a  story about an infant formula shortage judges commended as a: “Well lit endearing portrait. Maybe a slightly different crop on the bottom to resolve the pinky finger distraction. Expressions are great for the concern.

Health Coverage

3rd Place, Kristen Hwang

This story on surging syphilis rates was noted by judges: “the depth of on-the-ground reporting here is impressive, and the writing stands out. Nice work.”

Coverage of Youth and Education

3rd Place, Mikhail Zinshteyn, Julie  Watts, Michaella  Huck

This series on low graduation rates for Black students at California State University was honored by  judges who said: “Reporters Mikhail Zinshteyn, Julie Watts and Michaella Huck took what could have been routine data analysis and instead uncovered a flaw in how the CSU system reports progress among Black students. The benefit of digging deeper.”


3rd Place, Emily Hoeven

Hoeven’s newsletters at CalMatters, including one featuring legislators’ trips on climate change, were honored by judges. They wrote that they were: “impressed by the design, quality of writing and wide variety of topics featured in this engaging and useful newsletter. The bullet points help draw a reader in and focus on the most important parts of the day’s news, especially important for readers looking for bite-size information and quick access to California’s top headlines.

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Sonya builds bridges between the community and CalMatters as director of membership and engagement. Previously she managed engagement, fundraising, marketing, digital storytelling and UX at Voice of OC,...