This week the Journal took home a total of seven awards at the California Newspaper Publisher's Association's Better Newspaper Contest, a peer-judged competition which includes some 800 newspapers throughout the state. Competing against similarly sized weeklies, we fared well, garnering awards that reinforce our mission, which is to take the best in-depth, long-form reporting we can muster, package it with dynamic graphic design, comprehensive event listings and fun, thoughtful features, all with the goal of helping our readers better understand, enjoy and grow our community.

Here are the categories and individual honorees:

1st Place Arts and Entertainment Coverage

2nd Place Lifestyle Coverage

2nd Place Photo Illustration (Art Director Holly Harvey, for her cover image for the Dec. 3, 2015 story "Putting Heads Together")

1st Place Non-profile Feature Story (News Editor Thadeus Greenson, for his Oct. 15, 2015 cover story "System Failure")

2nd Place Non-profile Feature Story (Assistant Editor Grant Scott-Goforth, for his Dec. 3, 2015 cover story "Putting Heads Together")

1st Place Investigative Reporting (Staff Writer Linda Stansberry, for her July 9, 2015 cover story "The Shut Out")

2nd Place Investigative Reporting (Assistant Editor Grant Scott-Goforth, for his Aug. 20, 2015 cover story "Free and Afraid")

While the recognition from our peers in the industry is wonderful, truth be told, we were already damn proud of this work and the staff and freelancers who produced it.

On the news side of things, these weren't stories we broke, but stories we took on and explored, finding layers of depth, context and nuance, to which you, our readers — in conversations in our letters pages, around dinner tables and in coffee shops — added your own experience and perspective.

On the graphic side, Holly Harvey's powerful cover illustration made a subject as scientifically nebulous as concussions seem tangible. On the arts, entertainment and lifestyle side, we are proud to consistently deliver interesting and engaging features and comprehensive events listings to help Humbolters better enjoy the arts, culture, music and good times with which our county runneth over.

These awards were given for the editorial work of this paper — its stories, content and design — but we are keenly aware that they represent the hard work of a building full of people, from the advertising representatives who keep the lights on around here to our office staff who make sure the bills actually get paid to the production folks who make our paper pretty and the drivers who make sure that paper gets where it needs to be, which is in your hands. And, we'd be remiss if we didn't end by thanking you, our readers, for joining and furthering the conversation. Thank you.

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