Fresno Bee and Mariposa Gazette take top honors at Gruner Awards

Nicole Little, Mariposa Gazette; George Gruner and Yesenia Amaro, Fresno Bee at the Gruner Awards ceremony.

By James Boren, Institute for Media and Public Trust at Fresno State

The full story and list of winners are available at

The Fresno Bee and the Mariposa Gazette won top honors on April 19 at the 35th annual George F. Gruner Awards journalism competition for news publications in the Central San Joaquin Valley.

The Fresno Bee and reporter Yesenia Amaro received the top prize, the public service award, for large newspapers, with a detailed look at how money needed for critical improvements at Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno was diverted instead to suburban Clovis Community Medical Center.

“It feels amazing to be honored and to receive this honor,” said Amaro. “I will use this as inspiration to continue to shine a light on important issues of our community,” Amaro said .

One of the judges, Los Angeles Times media writer Jim Rainey, called the series “a deeply reported and devastating account of how an affluent community got the new medical facilities that were more desperately needed in Fresno … .” The series required more than two years of research.

Another judge, Susan Ferriss of the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, wrote, “This series reveals how public money intended to support a crucial Fresno hospital’s service was diverted to a wealthy suburb in a process rife with conflicts of interest and abuses of power.”

Earning honorable mention in the same category was John Cox of the Bakersfield Californian for his in-depth examination of deficiencies at a nursing facility that was forced to close.

In the weeklies division, the Mariposa Gazette received top honors for public service for its coverage of the Oak Fire of 2022.

A judge wrote, “The Gazette not only detailed the fire itself and the tremendous damage but also took a close look at the people who stemmed the disaster and the work yet to be done. Well done.”

Winning an honorable mention in the same category were Reggie Ellis, Paul Myers and Ben Irwin of the Sun Gazette for “Unmasking the truth about Unmask Tulare County.”

The Gruner Awards honor George F. Gruner, who retired as executive editor in 1988 after 33 years at The Fresno Bee. The McClatchy Co., publisher of The Fresno Bee, Modesto Bee and the Merced Sun-Star, established the awards in 1989. The Department of Media, Communications and Journalism at Fresno State independently administers the awards. Entries are judged by professional journalists from outside the contest area.

The public service awards and other honors were announced at an evening reception April 19 at Fresno State.

Multiple winners included Ishani Desai of the Bakersfield Californian; Parker Bowman of the Hanford Sentinel; Ron Holman and Vongni Yang of the Visalia Times-Delta; Sam Moore of the Sun Gazette; Claudia Elliott of the Tehachapi News; Jeannie Tyrell and Greg Little of the Mariposa Gazette; Carmen Kohlruss, a former reporter at The Fresno Bee; and Craig Kohlruss, a photographer at The Bee.

Posted by

The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.