Post wins awards for investigative reporting

Aug. 4, 2021

By the Daily Post staff

The Daily Post won three awards for investigative reporting in the San Francisco Press Club’s annual Excellence in Journalism Contest. Overall, the Post won 15 awards in the annual competition.

Reporter Emily Mibach won the first-place award for investigative reporting for her May 22 story on a Redwood City nursing home that passed all state inspections yet had 13 coronavirus deaths including that of former Stanford President Donald Kennedy.

Mibach won the second-place investigative reporting award for a Sept. 11, 2020, story about how the former HR chief in the San Mateo County Community College District, Eugene Whitlock, was paid $2.28 million to quietly resign. Whitlock didn’t reveal the payment when he entered the election for the college’s board of directors, but dropped out after the story.

Paying to get on a council agenda

Reporter Sara Tabin, who left the Post in 2020, got the third-place investigative award for her July 24, 2020, story about how a nonprofit pushing alternative energy organization, Silicon Valley Clean Energy, paid the city of Los Altos $10,000 in exchange for putting a set of “reach codes” on the council agenda. Reach codes often include a ban on natural gas in homes.

Reporter Elaine Goodman won the first-place prize for general news reporting for her June 22, 2020, story about higher-ups in the Palo Alto Police Department concluding that the violent arrest of a suspect was “reasonable.” The suspect, Julio Arevalo, was never charged in the incident and he’s now suing the city in federal court.

Snappy headlines

The Post swept the competition for headlines, seen as a light-hearted aspect of the annual contest. Editor Dave Price won the first-place award for “‘Pervert!’: Meeting gets ugly” that described a story about a heated San Mateo County Harbor Board meeting; “City says: Shoo Fly, go away” about Palo Alto’s desire not to have an additional rail track, called a shoo fly, when high-speed rail comes to town; and “Acrimony on do-gooder panel,” which described a split on Palo Alto’s Human Relations Commission.

Price also picked up second- and third-place prizes for page design. And his column that appears on Mondays won second place in the nine-county competition.

The editor won two awards for editorials: A second-place prize for protesting the Santa Clara County Health Department’s plan to cancel high school football, choir, band and cheerleading and a third-place prize for his Palo Alto City Council endorsements. The editorial category was judged on its writing style and strength of arguments, not what choices the paper made.

On-the-scene reporting

Reporter Tabin received a third-place award for feature stories for her profile of the Palo Alto couple who got lost on a hike in Marin County. Tabin traveled to Marin County to cover the story first-hand.

Reporter Mibach was honored with a third-place breaking news award for her coverage of the race protests on the Peninsula last summer. She not only wrote the Post’s story on the protests but also took the pictures.

The Press Club’s contest, now in its 44th year, is open to journalists in the nine-county Bay Area and the entries are judged by press clubs in other U.S. cities. Newspapers, digital media, TV news, radio news and magazines compete in the contest.