Modesto Bee reporter Kevin Valine, editorial columnist Mike Dunbar and photographer Andy Alfaro won second-place honors at the California Journalism Awards on Saturday in Sonoma.
In all, the Bee had seven Top 5 finishes in the division covering newspapers with a circulation from 35,001 to 150,000, which also includes The Sacramento Bee, The Fresno Bee and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
The awards, sponsored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association, recognized work produced in 2017.
Valine’s award in the category of Coverage of Local Government was tied to his dogged reporting of the City of Modesto’s overspending for goods and services without the proper authorization.
Dunbar, in the Editorial Comment category, was noted for his column on Ann Coulter’s visit to Modesto.
“Highly readable editorial that blasts local readers for worsening a national concern,” wrote one of the judges.
Dunbar also had two Top 5 finishes in one category — columns. He also placed third in Editorial Comment for his piece for the Merced Sun-Star on the race for the Merced Irrigation District board.
Alfaro finished second for best sports feature photo for his image (see above) of Hilmar running back Justin Rentfro lifting his coach, Frank Marques, after the Yellowjackets’ victory in a Sac-Joaquin Section championship game.
The Bee also was a Top 5 finalist in the overall General Excellence category won by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
Garth Stapley was a finalist in the Profile Story category for his piece on alt-right Oakdale resident Nathan Damigo.