B.A.R. takes honors at SF press club awards

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday December 20, 2023
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B.A.R. assistant editor Matthew S. Bajko took third place in the San Francisco Press Club awards for a feature on the New Conservatory Theater Center that was published in June 2022. Photo: B.A.R. Archive
B.A.R. assistant editor Matthew S. Bajko took third place in the San Francisco Press Club awards for a feature on the New Conservatory Theater Center that was published in June 2022. Photo: B.A.R. Archive

The Bay Area Reporter won several honors at the San Francisco Press Club's journalism awards dinner December 13.

The 46th annual event was held at the Elks Lodge No. 3 near Union Square. Curtis Sparrer, president of the press club, stated in an announcement of the winners that this year saw a record set with more than 500 entries from news outlets around the Bay Area. The contest was for content published in 2022.

B.A.R. assistant editors Matthew S. Bajko and John Ferrannini both received recognition.

"B.A.R. readers should appreciate the journalism of Matthew Bajko and John Ferrannini, having won four first-place awards among seven between them," stated publisher Michael Yamashita, a gay man. "I'm sure Matthew and John are gratified to be recognized by their peers of the San Francisco Press Club. I'm proud of them."

Bajko, a gay man, picked up first place for his Political Notebook column in the newspapers-non-daily columns-news political category. The three columns entered were "Gay SF Supervisor Mandelman seeks 2nd term;" "1st parent of a transgender child set to serve in CA Legislature," about Assemblymember Lori D. Wilson (D-Suisun City); and "Due to redistricting, CA LGBTQ caucus chair Low bunks with dad."

Bajko won first place for his Business Briefing column "Company aims to flip the script on female contractors" in the newspapers-non-daily business and technology category.

In the feature story, light nature category, Bajko received third place for "SF's LGBTQ theater brings diverse voices to the stage." The article, published during last year's Pride Month, focused on the New Conservatory Theatre Center's decision to feature works by LGBTQ playwrights of color and different backgrounds to bring more intersectional shows to the stage.

Finally, Bajko picked up a third place award in the feature story, serious nature category for the article "COVID pandemic highlighted importance of advance care planning." It was made possible by a grant from AARP to the News Is Out collaboration as part of the Caring for Community series.

B.A.R. assistant editor John Ferrannini received first place from the San Francisco Press Club for an October 2022 article looking back at the Gwen Araujo murder. Photo: B.A.R. Archive  

Ferrannini, a gay man, took first place in the newspapers-non-daily news story category for "Gwen Araujo remembered 20 years after brutal murder." Ferrannini spoke with Araujo's mother, Sylvia Guerrero, and trans leaders about the impact of the 2002 killing of the trans teenager in Newark, California.

Ferrannini won two awards for his coverage of last year's eviction saga in San Francisco involving well-known gay activist and AIDS Memorial Quilt co-founder Cleve Jones. He received first place in the breaking news category for "Longtime activist Cleve Jones to leave Castro after tense landlord dispute." And he received an honorable mention in the continuing coverage category for "Jones to fight eviction."

Ultimately, Jones ended up not fighting the eviction and leaving the Castro for the Russian River area in Sonoma County, as Ferrannini reported in a follow-up piece.

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