Clovis Roundup picks up honors at California Journalism Awards

Valerie Shelton’s award-winning article, “Clovis: Not just a gateway, a destination” was published Dec. 13, 2017. (Billy Xiong/Clovis Roundup)

Over the weekend, our team at the Roundup earned first and third place recognition at the 2017 California Journalism Awards put on by California News Publishers Association (CNPA).

Competing against more than 1,300 dailies and weeklies across the state, our reporter Valerie Shelton won first place in the “Feature Story” category while sports editor Paul Meadors and production manager Billy Xiong took home third place in the “Sports Section” category.

In her first-place “Clovis: Not just a gateway, a destination” story, Shelton explained how Clovis is not just a Gateway to the Sierras anymore, but a destination. Throughout the piece, she dives into some of the things that make Clovis an attractive destination like its low crime rate, reputable school district, historic downtown, family friendly events and more. The judges’ comment was “makes me want to go to Clovis”, which was the goal of the story – to get people proud about being a Clovisite and draw others to want to visit and experience the “Clovis way of life.”

As for the sports section, Meadors and Xiong got third place for their teamwork. As the sports editor, Meadors handles the editorial content for the section while Xiong lays out the eye-catching graphics – a perfect one-two punch.

Fun fact: the Clovis Roundup is the only newspaper in the Fresno-Clovis area that has a section dedicated to high school sports.

“In the past, we had received several Gruner Awards and it seemed everybody had received recognition except for our production manager Billy Xiong,” said Clovis Roundup Publisher, Donna Melchor. “I had never entered the CNPA journalism awards because I didn’t think we had a chance to win. However, I was motivated to enter for 2017 because Billy had never received recognition for his hard work and dedication over the last nine years and I was hoping he would.”

These awards would not be possible without our CNPA membership, which we signed up for two years ago.

“I want to say what an honor it was to be accepted into CNPA,” said Melchor. “Just this in itself is a huge honor and it validates that we are a community newspaper. Back in 2016, when Valerie Shelton was going through the application process to get us accepted, I didn’t think much would become of it. Then, she told me the reason she was doing it was because they were offering a grant for a journalism summer intern. I thought that was exciting and worth the application process. Usually they do not accept bi-weekly papers but they made an exception for us – and we were accepted as an accredited member.”

Now, with a stronger foundation in place as an award-winning newspaper, Melchor looks to bring home more awards next year: “So let me go on the record in saying that next year we will be entering more categories and bringing home more awards – and that, Clovis, is something you can hang your hat on.”

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