The continuing adventures of Beau Yarbrough

Hesperia Star: Business of the Month

Friday, April 8, 2011, 12:18
Section: Awards,Journalism

2008 SPJ awards cancelled

Saturday, January 10, 2009, 11:16
Section: Awards,Journalism

Society of Professional JournalistsHere’s a new reason why good work is sometimes not recognized at awards time.

I received an e-mail last night from Gina Tenorio, the president of the Inland Southern California Professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Layoffs at Southern California papers have reached the point where the chapter can’t effectively run the contest and they didn’t want to run a contest with an expensive entry fee in light of everyone’s economic outlook this year.

(For the record, I would be happy with foregoing the rubber chicken dinner at the Riverside Marriott and just mailing out the awards, but I can’t argue with the logic otherwise.)

A grim sign of the times.

Hesperia Star wins five SPJ awards

Saturday, May 10, 2008, 23:43
Section: Awards,Journalism,Virginia Tech

Society of Professional JournalistsTonight, the Hesperia Star won the most SPJ awards in the paper’s eight year history: five, including two for editorial writing.

As always, it was surprising to see what won, and what didn’t. The wildfires of last spring were popular at the awards, and my piece, Smoke-Out, won a third place award in the Breaking News Category. I don’t think the piece is as strong as my story about a Hesperia sheriff’s deputy being shot, but that’s how it goes.

My earlier guess was wrong: I did win an award about an infamous necrophiliac finally getting prison time in connection with his earlier violation of a child’s corpse. I was thrown off the scent because the award wasn’t listed as a Daily Press win, despite the story appearing in that paper. This also marks the fourth year in a row that I’ve won a Law Enforcement/Legal Affairs award (first time getting a first place award, and only my second first place award from the SPJs ever), which I worry will misrepresent what I was covering in Hesperia these years in future job interviews. No awards for my school board coverage or my California Charter Academy coverage, for instance, which dominated much of 2007 for me. Go figure.

And then there’s the award I have the most mixed feelings about: A second place editorial writing award for my piece on being a Virginia Tech alumnus in the wake of last April’s massacre. Jenn and Sharon have already stressed to me that I’m not capitalizing on a tragedy, but it still feels odd.

Overall, the Freedom High Desert papers cleaned up, with the Barstow Desert Dispatch in particular doing well — I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t been reading their multiple award-winning blog, but I clearly need to, especially since Peter wants one added to the Star’s site ASAP.

As always, it was a (reasonably) good time, although it almost feels like a Riverside Press-Enterprise recruiting event, between the ton of awards the PE and its associated papers get, and how happy everyone from the paper always looks (especially given the number of non-award-winning PE staffers who show up just to show support).

Peter got two awards as well: One was an editorial piece about founding father Val Shearer leaving Hesperia and the other was an entertainment piece about swing band Phat Cat Swinger. Peter always excels when writing about music, and it’s nice to see that recognized.

The full list of awards, and judges’ comments for many of them, will appear in the next day or so at the SPJ blog.

Star wins three SPJ awards

Saturday, May 5, 2007, 22:39
Section: Awards,Journalism

Society of Professional JournalistsI just got back from the Riverside Marriott, where the Inland Southern chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists just gave out the 2006 Southern California Excellence in Journalism Awards.

The Hesperia Star won three awards, with Peter bringing home the biggest kill: In an all-circulation category (meaning he was up against the Press-Enterprise, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and all the rest), he came in first for Best Editorial/Opinion Piece. The piece — “Censorship is wrong answer” — was never posted onto our old Web site, so on Monday, I’ll dig it out of the archives and post it on the Web for all to see.

I won two second place awards:

The Daily Press also cleaned up, with a ton of awards for photographer Michael Stenerson. Reporter Tatiana Prophet pulled in the most reporting awards for the High Desert, by my guesstimate. El Mojave and the Desert Dispatch also won awards.

More details can be found in the Daily Press story and on the Star site this week.

Update #1: Peter’s editorial can be found here.

Update #2: Sadly, only one of the three award-winning pieces got commentary passed along by the SPJ judges.

SPJ Awards 2005: The High Desert winners list

Saturday, May 13, 2006, 23:04
Section: Awards,Journalism

Society of Professional JournalistsWell, Peter and I just got back from tonight’s Society of Professional Journalists award dinner in Riverside. It’s always interesting seeing all the journalists in attendance, particularly what everyone feels is the dress code; there were folks there who looked like they were at prom, while there were others in jeans and ratty sweaters. (I split the difference, myself.)

The Daily Press, Desert Dispatch and Hesperia Star all had winners at this year’s awards in the circulation under 50,000 division:

Daily Press
Gloria Zulema Baez
Lisa Benson
Justin Boggs
C.J. Daft
Tim Haran
Veronica Hill
Stuart Kellogg
Mike Lamb
Gretchen Losi
Mark Peinado
James Quigg
Kris Reilly
Kate Rosenberg
LeRoy Standish
Michael Stenerson
Jason Vrtis
Karen Yosten
Desert Dispatch
Kelly Donovan
Travis Dunn
Adrienne Ziegler

Hesperia Star
Peter Day
Beau Yarbrough

Peter won third place in the News Photo division for his memorable “Pacific Storm” photo, of a flooded Rock Springs Road:

Peter's award-winning photo

I picked up second place in Best Feature Story for They Ain’t Scared of No Ghost, second place in Best Law Enforcement/Legal Affairs Story for High-Flying in Hesperia and third place in Government/Political Story for Is Hesperia Casino Really Terminated?

This is my second award for a law enforcement story in two years, which I suspect will give a deceiving picture of what I was covering at the Hesperia Star in years to come. It’s also my second casino-related award, which is more indicative.

I didn’t bring my notebook with me to record what all the Daily Press and Desert Dispatch reporters won for, but fortunately, someone from the DP did: Local journalists bring home awards. (The staff reporter missed that Justin Boggs got both second and third place in the cultural/diversity writing category, though — he was at our table.)

Judges’ comments should be up on the official SPJ site next week, and I’ll link to them when they’re posted.


Copyright © Beau Yarbrough, all rights reserved
Veritas odit moras.