The North Bay Business Journal has won 13 journalism awards for its work in 2021 in categories that include writing, general excellence, and layout and design, the California News Publishers Association announced May 27.
The awards amount to the most the publication has ever won in CNPA’s annual contest.
In some categories, the contest judges made note of what struck them about the story. Writer Susan Wood’s story about the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks included an interview with the parents of a young man who lost his life.
The contest judge wrote: “You managed an honorable and fitting tribute to Paul, to everyone that was impacted and, continues to be impacted, from the attacks.”
When commenting on writer Cheryl Sarfaty’s story about how microagressions can be toxic in the workplace, a judge stated: “The entry does a great job explaining how microaggressions can prove to be poisonous to workplace cultures, especially when they affect historically marginalized groups.”
About the awards, Anthony Borders, journal editor and event content manager, stated, “What the judges saw is what we work to make sure our readers and website visitors see each day — a determined effort by our team to cover the varied issues of importance to our business community.”
“It is such an honor to see the North Bay Business Journal being recognized for its significant quality business journalism,” said Lorez Bailey, publisher. “What makes this recognition even more special is that it is acknowledging during last year’s COVID-19 crisis, our commitment to covering the topics and news that was critically important to the North Bay business community. .”
The CNPA recognized the Business Journal with the following awards.
Cheryl Sarfaty, fifth place
Drought calls for desperate measures from Northern California farmers”
Judge comment: “The lede really grabs you — a guy getting out of the business over water concerns. There’s a lot packed into this story. I wonder if it could have been broken into more than one? Ranchers, wine makers, etc. Nice read.”
Susan Wood, second place
Dry-winter prediction leaves North Bay water agencies and farmers worried”
Susan Wood, first place
Petaluma firm part of historic NASA effort to send 1st woman to the moon”
Judge comment: “A spirited and well-written story about the North Bay’s ties to NASA’s upcoming mission to send a woman to the moon for the first time. The story is nicely organized, with quotes that are energetic and packed with emotion. The front-page design is engaging.”
Cheryl Sarfaty, second place
Legal and morale dangers of bias and ‘microaggressions’ for the workplace”
Judge comment: “Clearly written, sophisticated piece following up on an important story about a Black female executive who resigned from the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, citing ‘racial bias and microaggression.’ The entry does a great job explaining how microaggressions can prove to be poisonous to workplace cultures, especially when they affect historically marginalized groups.“
Cheryl Sarfaty, third place
Wine Country’s tourism workforce looks for new careers as pandemic shutters opportunities”
Kathryn Reed, first place
Plant power: As appetite grows for vegan products, some animal product producers cry foul”
Judge comment: “Beautiful, explanatory journalism that reveals to readers facts they may have not known. This should make people look at grocery store food aisles in a whole new way.”
Cheryl Sarfaty, third place
Marin County gets a lift for sick kids”
Judge comment: “This is a thoroughly enjoyable story with great quotes and a fresh look at a particularly cool emergency room.”
Susan Wood, third place
Wildfire danger heats up demand for commercial grazing services”
Judge comment: “This was an interesting, well-written and thorough story.”
Cheryl Sarfaty, fifth place
How this Napa entrepreneur is piloting 2 restaurants through the pandemic”
Judge comment: “This profile really provides an honest look at the struggle entrepreneurs face in the COVID-19 economy. Well done!”
Susan Wood, fifth place
“20 years later: 9/11: A time of reflection, loss, unified front for North Bay financiers, affected loved ones”
Judge comment: “The quote that says Paul Sloan’s mother saying her son will always be 26 years old is extremely touching. This alone took me back. This puts a face to the loss, it puts a mother’s words on the loss, on all the losses. I won’t forget that very tragic day. This is a unique perspective on financiers and 9/11. You managed an honorable and fitting tribute Paul, to everyone that was impacted and, continues to be impacted, from the attacks. I also love Hennessy’s story. What a great read here.”
Steve Musal, first place
California tourism industry tackles climate change
Steve Musal, second place
Leadership begins with confidence and collaboration
Susan Wood, Cheryl Sarfaty, Jeff Quackenbush and Steve Musal, third place
Feb. 1 and Feb. 8, 2021, issues
Judge comment: “North Bay Business Journal knows how to promote itself with terrific house ads that showcase content, which stands out. The infographic on local hotel development was the best infographic in this category. Lots of people news. Strong themed issues.”

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