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COURIER honored as state's top newspaper

For the third time in the 111-year history of the Claremont COURIER, the newspaper was named top community newspaper in the state by the California News Publisher’s Association (CNPA) at the annual journalism awards luncheon in Sonoma on Saturday.

The COURIER was one of six newspapers to take first place in general excellence depending on circulation, both for weeklies and dailies.

Our regular COURIER readers are accustomed to the quality journalism we offer each week and every day online. What many do not know is the COURIER reporting staff, including interns and freelancers, has remained roughly the same size for decades.

The Weinberger philosophy—both for Martin and Peter—focuses on the importance of quality content to drive financial success. This business model has worked for us, but is not common in the newspaper industry, where most companies continue to cut costs to turn a profit.

Our secret to success? It’s the hard work of the entire COURIER staff. For most of us, it’s not just a job. We all understand the responsibility we have to report news with a fair and objective focus and to treat people in a professional manner—we know when our customers are successful, we are too.

This year was truly exceptional, as we were honored 10 times for stories and photographs published in 2017, especially considering there were more than 3500 total entries in the competition. This contest remains very competitive!

Steven Felschundneff won a couple of first-place awards for his sports and feature photography, including my favorite named “Queen’s surprise,” a wonderful image from CHS homecoming of the happy queen and her father. The judges commented saying this was classic “hometown newspaper photojournalism.” Steven’s other first-place was a soccer photo in the rain, appropriately named “Rained soaked soccer.” His second-place sports action photo captured peak baseball action during a tight play at home plate, another favorite of the staff.

Both Matthew Bramlett and Kathryn Dunn were finalists with writing entries. Matt’s reporting on Village West development—or lack thereof—was honored for land-use reporting, while Kathryn’s profile of outgoing Pomona College president David Oxtoby won in the profile category.

Peter Weinberger won second place and was a finalist for his—what else—artistic photos of Claremont from the air. The judges seemed to be familiar with my work, saying they are “more convinced he is a drone.” I’ll never tell my trade secrets.

The COURIER website was a finalist in general excellence online. Our website has been honored many times in this category, even when they merged the entry with much larger websites. Keep in mind most weekly newspaper websites get tech and service support from the parent company, or simply share resources with others in the chain. For the COURIER, the parent is yours truly. We like to keep things streamlined!

And of course, there’s the Almanac. Our largest and most popular edition received third place in the special section category, which is a very competitive field.

On a more personal note, it was really great to see so much great journalism from so many newspapers and websites throughout the state.

The newspaper industry continues to evolve with a future that has yet to be determined, but it’s important to keep in mind there are many other newspapers that remain vibrant regardless of the economic challenges. In fact, given our current administration in Washington, the role of newspapers reporting real news has never been more important.

I also want to thank the COURIER staff for all their great work! That includes Mary Rose, Vickie Rosenberg, Rachel Fagg, Tom Smith, Dee Proffitt, Steven and Grace Felschundneff, Matthew Bramlett, Mick Rhodes, Kathryn Dunn and our interns Kellen Browning and Meghan Bobrowsky. What you see printed every week is a reflection of their dedication to the city of Claremont.

But none of this could be possible without the support of our readers, advertisers and subscribers. From all of us, thank you so much! See ya next year!

—Peter Weinberger

pweinberger@claremont-courier.com