Boys and Girls Central Section championship results

San Joaquin Memorial's Stephon Young powers through an alley-oop during the first quarter of the CIF Central Section Open Division championship at Selland Arena in this 2020 file photo. This photo, taken by Noe Garcia, was recognized as the honorable mention winner for Best Sports Photo in the small dailies category at the  annual George F. Gruner Awards Wednesday evening.

HANFORD — The Sentinel and its sister paper The Selma Enterprise Kingsburg Recorder were honored with a first-place award and two honorable mentions Wednesday night during the annual George F. Gruner Awards.

The 33rd annual awards ceremony, which aims to recognize quality journalism in the Central Valley, was held via Zoom due to COVID. 

"I'm extremely proud of our staff who, even amid the most chaotic year in recent memory, were able to connect with the community and tell its stories in a way that resonated with people," said Sentinel/Enterprise Recorder editor Parker Bowman. 

Enterprise Recorder reporter Jeremiah Martinez took the first-place award for Best Feature Story — Weeklies for his story about a Kingsburg man who turned his life around by overcoming his troubles with addiction while surviving cancer

Two honorable mentions went to Noe Garcia — one for Best Feature Story and the other for Best Sports Photo, both in the small dailies category. 

Garcia's story was about a former Hanford mayor, 96-year-old Gordon Duffy, who made what was ultimately his final trip back to his hometown of Hanford  in the fall of 2020. 

The Gruner awards are sponsored by Fresno State’s Department of Media, Communications and Journalism, which coordinates the competition. The awards are judged by journalists who reside out of state.

"With all its nuances, the public interest is still the main job of journalists, as shown by the variety of work briefly described here tonight," said George F. Gruner, who sat in on the virtual ceremony. "Opinion plays a role, but truth is paramount. Whatever situation you're called on to describe, remember you're a purveyor of facts. This translates to truth, however you deliver it." 

The Gruner awards are named for the former Fresno Bee executive editor who retired in 1988.

Gruner was a figure in a freedom of the press issue in 1976 when, as a member of the “Fresno Four,” he was jailed for contempt of court for refusing a judge’s order to reveal a confidential source of information used in The Fresno Bee’s news stories concerning a city official. He and three other members of The Bee’s staff refused to reveal the source and spent 15 days in custody before being released.

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