Berkeley Daily Planet staffers won three prizes at the 2008 East Bay Press Club Journalism Awards dinner Friday, May 29.
Staff Writer Riya Bhattacharjee won the second place award in the “Profile” category for a story on American Book Award– winning author and UC Berkeley alumni Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, who returned to the International House, where she stayed during her time as a graduate student, to receive the I-House Alumni of the Year Award last May.
Bhattacharjee took third place in the “Cultural Affairs Reporting” category for a portfolio that covered clashes between the local Tibetan and Chinese communities when the Olympic torch passed through the Bay Area; employee complaints against downtown Berkeley’s McDonald’s franchise; and allegations of censorship at the Addison Street Windows Gallery.
Justin DeFreitas took first place in the editorial cartooning category for his commentary on Proposition 8. The judges described his work as containing a “simple but powerful message that instantly speaks to the viewer. Timely and wonderfully drawn.”
The East Bay Press Club awards are open to entries from individuals whose work has appeared in any publication that covers the East Bay. San Francisco Chronicle staffers—some of whom have left the paper in the recent wave of layoffs and buyouts—had the highest award count at 32, followed by those from MediaNews chain (the Oakland Tribune, the Contra Costa Times, the Hayward Daily Review, the Vacaville Reporter and the Fremont Argus, to name a few) at 28. The East Bay Express won five awards, Oakland Magazine won two, and SF Weekly and Mother Jones each won a single award.
Former Daily Planet reporter and current freelancer John Geluardi won a second place award in the “Long Feature” category for an SF Weekly story examining the inaccuracies regarding Dan White as presented in the film Milk. Former Daily Planet reporter Matt Artz won “Best Mainstream Blogger” for his work for the Fremont Argus. The judges decribes Artz’s blog as “a lively chronicle of a local beat that takes the news seriously, but not itself.”