Valley Sun wins journalism awards

The California Newspaper Publishers Association honored the La Cañada Valley Sun on Saturday with a coveted first-place award for Local Breaking News coverage during a ceremony for its annual Better Newspapers Contest.

Contest judges singled out the paper’s stories about the mudslides that devastated hillside neighborhoods last year in the wake of the Station fire as the most spot-on coverage of a news event among California weeklies with circulations of 4,300 to 11,000.

“I will never forget walking up Ocean View Boulevard on Feb. 6, 2010, as a river of dirty water rushed by, carrying with it cars, mailboxes, family pets and household items. I felt it was important to share the victims’ stories and get words of warning out to other people in hillside communities,” said reporter Megan O’Neil, who led the award-winning coverage and now writes for the Valley Sun’s sister paper, the Glendale News-Press.

O’Neil, Managing Editor Carol Cormaci and Editor Dan Evans attended the award ceremony, which took place at the Wilshire Grand hotel in downtown Los Angeles during CNPA’s annual Press Summit.

In addition to the first-place award, the Valley Sun also received three Certificates of Achievement for third-and fourth-place finishers in each contest category. These included recognition for sports (including the work of staff writer Andrew Shortall), writing (for a story by O’Neil about mudslide cleanup), and business (for O’Neil’s May 2010 profile of Allen Lund Co. employee Phillip Amador).

Saturday was also a big day for another sister paper of the Valley Sun, the Burbank Leader, which received three first-place awards: one for design, another for its website and one for General Excellence — a grand prize recognizing the entirety of the newspaper’s efforts in 2010.

The Leader and News-Press also received several certificates of achievement.

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