B.A.R. takes 3rd place in newspaper contest

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday June 1, 2022
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The cover of one of the Bay Area Reporter's winning issues. Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive
The cover of one of the Bay Area Reporter's winning issues. Photo: Courtesy B.A.R. Archive

The Bay Area Reporter won third place for general excellence in its category in the recent California News Publishers Association awards.

The awards, for articles published in 2021 and announced last week via CNPA's Twitter feed, cited the B.A.R. in the weeklies category for papers with circulations between 11,001 and 25,000. Publisher Michael Yamashita, news editor Cynthia Laird, assistant editor Matthew S. Bajko, former assistant editor John Ferrannini, arts editor Jim Provenzano, art director Max Leger, and production designer Ernesto Sopprani were credited.

The two winning issues were published in September 2021.

"I'm very proud of our entire team for their dedication and hard work, which are required to produce the Bay Area Reporter," Yamashita stated. "It's gratifying to be designated by our professional peers for this recognition."

The San Francisco Business Times took first place; the B.A.R. was the only LGBTQ publication among the five winners.

Assistant Editor Matthew S. Bajko. Photo: Courtesy Matthew S. Bajko  

In other CNPA news, Bajko received a third place award in the business news category for his stories on the Chick-fil-A franchise opening near the San Francisco city line, a gay man buying the Castro's Dog Eared Books store, and his Business Briefing column on queer San Francisco film commissioner Jack Song.

"Good array of sources. Clear knowledge of local news landscape and audience interest. Does not lean on emotional quotes or generalizations; info is backed up with data points," a judge's comment stated.

Bajko also took fourth place in the feature story category for his article about Half Moon Bay opening a new LGBTQ community center.

"Matthew Bajko deserves the honors he won, and the LGBTQ community is fortunate to have such a dedicated journalist covering our issues," stated Yamashita.

B.A.R. publisher Michael Yamashita. Photo: Cynthia Laird  

Publisher highlighted
In related news, Yamashita was recognized among several Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders in local journalism by the Local Media Association. (LMA serves as the managing partner for the Google News collaborative of which the B.A.R. is a part along with six other LGBTQ outlets.)

The article includes a Q&A with Yamashita, a gay man of Japanese, Chinese, and Okinawan descent who purchased the B.A.R. in 2017. He started at the paper in 1989 and became general manager in 1995.

Yamashita was asked about the one thing he's excited about in local media in the coming year.

"I'm excited about the return of events and businesses, which is key to sustaining local media," he stated. "Advertising is set to match pre-COVID levels. Local media proved resilient during the shutdowns and many of those that survived have emerged more efficient and flexible."

Another out AAPI news leader highlighted was Sewell Chan, a gay man who's currently editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune. Chan previously worked at the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Chan was named one of Out magazine's Out 100 in 2014.

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