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Congratulations to the Journalism Open winners!

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The results are in and we’re very excited to announce the winners of The Sacramento Press 2011 Journalism Open.

More than 50 community contributors accepted the challenge to commit acts of journalism. In January, 134 entries were submitted, many by writers who are new to The Sacramento Press.

Thank you to those of you who participated and those who helped spread the word about the contest.

There were three Sacramento Press judges who reviewed the entries and determined the winners: Casey Kirk, Recruitment Manager, Brandon Darnell, Copy Editor and Reporter, and Colleen Belcher, Managing Editor.

We were looking for stories with a minimum of two sources, stories that incorporated research and stories that kept us reading. Each winner could only win one prize. Click here to read the complete judging criteria.

Without further ado, the winners are:

Isaac Gonzalez, whose story, “A Towering Challenge,” won first place and $700.

Laura O’Brien, who wrote “Fave moms mag stops presses,” won second place and $500.

Corinna Fish, the third place winner of $200, wrote a two-part story titled “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land: Looking Back at 50 Years of the Capitol Area Plan” on the Mandella Garden and the history of the Capitol Area Plan.

There were five $100 prizes, which were awarded to Eileen Wilson, who wrote about domestic violence and its lasting effects on children, Deb Belt, Mary Nares, Ron Nabity, who wrote about the heroes of the Red Cross and Brandy Tuzon. Click on each name to see the winning story by that author.

The $350 in photography prizes was divided into four amounts: three $100 prizes and one $50 prize.

The winners, in no particular order, are David Alvarez for his photo of the Sacramento Electronic Music Festival, Marc McLaughlin for his photo of the Professional Bull Riders show at Arco Arena, and Kati Garner for her photo of the Wells Fargo building in the fog. Steven Chea won an honorable mention for his photo of Deerhoof’s drummer playing a show at Harlow’s.

Click here to see the winning photos laid out side by side.

We asked the winners how they felt about winning the competition. Here are some of their responses.

Mary Nares, who wrote about the Crocker Art Museum’s new Education Center, said in an e-mail, “I'm amazed and honored to be selected. I was really impressed with the caliber of the submissions for the Open. I saw some great writing and photography, and the wide range of intriguing topics was inspiring.”

Marc McLaughlin said in an e-mail, “It is always an honor to be rewarded for the work you do. Being able to document our community through photos is something that I am thankful for.”

We were also curious to find out what each winner thought about citizen journalism.

Deb Belt, who wrote about an alley project in Boulevard Park and the controversy it created, said in an e-mail, “Citizen journalism is a new frontier and gives people the power to bring a story to light. It places responsibility in writers' hands to be accurate, fair and ethical and provides support for them. When citizen journalists meet this challenge, they forge new territory.”

Brandy Tuzon is the publisher of the Natomas Buzz and the author of the story on Natomas Unified School District’s fiscal crisis. She said in an e-mail, “I believe independent, citizen journalists are capable of providing some of the best local news coverage in the Sacramento region. We are not sitting at a desk in an office being assigned a beat to cover, instead we are living in the community and experiencing stories first-hand, as they happen.”

David Alvarez said in an e-mail about citizen journalism, “I think it's great. It's the voice of the people that can inspire, make you laugh, let you see life through other people's eyes, make you think or help get an important story to light. As a sole voice or as a voice for many in our community, citizen journalism has its place if nothing else to read another person's perspective.”

Thank you to everyone who entered. We enjoyed meeting new people, like Mama Cobb, hearing new insights, like what current students think about Sacramento High School, and discovering new places, (Firehouse 5), or history (stone sisters houses), and seeing Sacramento and its surrounding areas through many lenses (written or camera). 

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