SAN FRANCISCO—The Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter, has named Lisa M. Krieger of the San Jose Mercury News as Journalist of the Year for her extensive coverage on the cost of dying, and dedication to helping the public understand critical decisions about end-of-life care.

Krieger’s work includes the deeply personal story of her father’s final days in an intensive care unit, and the agonizing choices she confronted as she struggled with the emotional and financial cost of his death. Despite her father’s carefully prepared end-of-life instructions, his hospital bill added up to $323,000 in just 10 days. The story contributed to Krieger winning an Explanatory Journalism Award from SPJ NorCal in 2012.

Through a body of work in 2013 that includes print stories, interactive graphics, videos, online chats and community forums, Krieger has continued to help the public understand the complex and emotionally fraught choices dying individuals and their caretakers must often make.

Veteran reporter Raul Ramirez receives the SPJ NorCal Board of Directors’ Distinguished Service to Journalism Award. He is currently executive director of news and public affairs at KQED Public Radio. Ramirez’s extensive career includes reporting for media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the San Francisco Examiner from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Ramirez earned a reputation for uniquely immersing himself in the issues he was covering. He worked in the fields and then wrote a prize-winning series about farmworkers in Michigan for the Wall Street Journal in 1970.  To prepare for an article for the Examiner about jail conditions, Ramirez spent several days working as a deputy sheriff.

In addition to his editorial leadership at KQED Public Radio, and his service to national and international journalism organizations, Ramirez has mentored countless reporters and inspired journalism students through his classes at institutions such as San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley.

The SPJ NorCal board honors the career achievements of two journalists: Michael Krasny, host of KQED Public Radio’s “Forum,” for his work in broadcast, and Seth Rosenfeld, freelance journalist, for his work in print.

For 20 years, Krasny has enlightened audiences through his captivating, live call-in public affairs and cultural radio program. His incredible breadth of knowledge and strong interview style have helped make Krasny’s program the nation’s most-listened-to local public radio talk show.

Rosenfeld’s hard-hitting journalistic career includes working as an investigative reporter for the San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle. His unrelenting persistence in uncovering FBI covert operations in Berkeley during the 1960s led to the publication of his acclaimed book, “Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power.”

David Corn of Mother Jones receives the Public Service Award for his coverage of the contradictions between 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s election rhetoric and his personal convictions and business practices.

Two Outstanding Emerging Journalist awards were given this year. One went to Stephanie M. Lee of the San Francisco Chronicle for producing meaningful articles infused with creative angles and thorough reporting. Jen Chien of KALW-FM receives the other prize for her ability to tell insightful stories using diverse and well-selected sources.

Veteran reporter and editor Rebecca Rosen Lum of the Pacific Media Workers Guild receives the Unsung Hero Award for her work promoting journalistic career development for professionals and students, and advocating for fair wages and benefits for freelancers.

Two Community Journalism awards were also given this year. One went to the Berkeleyside staff for superlative local journalism. Erica Mu, Audrey Dilling, Martina Castro and Colin Nitta won the second award for their original collaboration with a local library to produce engaging stories for KALW-FM.

David Greene, SPJ NorCal Freedom of Information Committee member and senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is honored with the board’s John Gothberg/Meritorious Service to SPJ Award. Over the years, Greene has provided SPJ NorCal with vital support, including legal advice on First Amendment issues, and managing key aspects of the annual James Madison Freedom of Information Awards.

The Silver Heart Award goes to Raj Jayadev, founder and executive director of youth media project Silicon Valley De-Bug, part of New America Media, for his extraordinary dedication to helping empower marginalized members of society. His work includes a journalistic initiative that brings community voices into the criminal justice system on behalf of indigent defendants.

The 2013 winners will be honored at SPJ NorCal’s 28th annual awards dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, at the City Club in San Francisco. For details and to purchase tickets, please see bit.ly/EIJ2013AwardsDinner.


JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR: Lisa M. Krieger, San Jose Mercury News


CAREER ACHIEVEMENT: Michael Krasny, KQED Public Radio and Seth Rosenfeld, Freelancer

UNSUNG HERO: Rebecca Rosen Lum, Pacific Media Workers Guild

JOHN GOTHBERG/MERITORIOUS SERVICE TO SPJ: David Greene, SPJ NorCal Freedom of Information Committee member and senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation

SILVER HEART: Raj Jayadev, Silicon Valley De-Bug / New America Media

ARTS & CULTURE (print/text small division): Ellen Cushing of the East Bay Express for “The Bacon-Wrapped Economy,” an original exploration into how the San Francisco Bay Area’s booming tech economy is driving income inequality.

ARTS & CULTURE (radio/audio): Freelance journalist Shuka Kalantari and Julia McEvoy of KQED Public Radio for their outstanding portrayal of a Cambodian immigrant who creates an entirely new genre of music by weaving together traditional Cambodian singing, psychedelic rock and hip hop.

BEST SCOOP (all media): David Corn of Mother Jones for exposing a video during the 2012 elections that captured presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s remarks suggesting that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes and that they should take greater personal responsibility.

BREAKING NEWS (print/text): Mark Follman, Gavin Aronsen and Deanna Pan of Mother Jones for work that deftly integrates crucial context into breaking news in “America Under the Gun: A Special Report on Gun Laws and the Rise of Mass Shootings.”

BREAKING NEWS (radio/audio): KCBS Radio 740 AM/106.9 FM news team for their comprehensive reporting, and skillful use of expert opinion and on-the-scene observation from locals while covering the Chevron refinery fire.

COMMENTARY (print/text): Daniel Borenstein of the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune for his bracing articles that protect public interest and incite change.

COMMUNITY JOURNALISM (print/text): Berkeleyside staff for demonstrating consistent, detailed and accurate coverage of the Berkeley School District superintendent search, and the proposed sale of the city’s downtown post office building.

COMMUNITY JOURNALISM (radio/audio): Erica Mu, Audrey Dilling, Martina Castro and Colin Nitta for the their unique collaboration with a local library to discover and produce moving personal stories for KALW-FM’s pop-up radio project “Hear Here.”

DATA VISUALIZATION (all media): Tasneem Raja, Jaeah Lee and Ben Breedlove of Mother Jones for their innovative graphics and interactive maps that support a deep understanding of significant and complicated news stories.

EXPLANATORY JOURNALISM (print/text large division): Nanette Asimov of the San Francisco Chronicle for her comprehensive and well-written series that examines the City College of San Francisco’s managerial and financial troubles.

EXPLANATORY JOURNALISM (print/text small division): Jason Marsh of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of Berkeley, California, for “Why Inequality Is Bad for the One Percent,” a gripping look at how income disparity can negatively impact both the wealthy and the poor.

EXPLANATORY JOURNALISM (radio/audio): Sasha Khokha, Grace Rubenstein and Patricia Flynn of KQED Public Radio; Bernice Yeung of The Center for Investigative Reporting; and the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for their powerful series, which is part of a larger project with Frontline and Univision, exposing how undocumented women who work in the fields experience sexual abuse and rape by supervisors and others in positions of power.

EXPLANATORY JOURNALISM (TV/video): Carrie Ching, Sarah Terry-Cobo and Arthur Jones for The Center for Investigative Reporting for “The Hidden Cost of Hamburgers,” a telling piece that shows how America’s beef consumption takes a significant toll on human health and the environment.

FEATURE STORYTELLING (print/text large division): Mac McClelland of Mother Jones for  “Schizophrenic. Killer. My Cousin.” — an examination of mental illness that seamlessly blends the author’s personal experience with her account of how political decisions have failed people with severe psychological disorders.

FEATURE STORYTELLING (print/text small division): Tom Carter of Central City Extra for “Birds of the Tenderloin,” a vivid depiction of an Audubon bird census taker as she travels her route in a San Francisco district ordinarily depicted as impoverished and bleak.

FEATURE STORYTELLING (radio/audio): David Ferry and Nancy Updike for their gripping portrayal for “This American Life” of the complex and often acrimonious process of Native America disenrollment, a process whereby tribes eject members.

FEATURE STORYTELLING (TV/video): Carrie Ching, Ryan Gabrielson and Marina Luz for The Center for Investigative Reporting for their powerful and discerning coverage of the sexual assault of a mentally disabled woman in state care, part of a multi-platform investigation into the abuse of developmentally disabled residents in California’s state-run institutions.

INVESTIGATIVE (print/text large division): Shane Bauer of Mother Jones for producing a vivid narrative that combines his own experiences as a prisoner for two years in Iran—including four months in solitary confinement—with a compelling account of the practice of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons.

INVESTIGATIVE (print/text small division): Darwin BondGraham of the East Bay Express for “Public Research for Private Gain,” an impressive report on how the Regents of the University of California established a separate corporate entity aimed at deciding the fate of academic scientific research.

INVESTIGATIVE (radio/audio): Doug Sovern of KCBS Radio 740 AM/106.9 FM for his extensive reporting on the challenges facing health inspectors as they examine the countless restaurants and food trucks in the food-obsessed Bay Area.

INVESTIGATIVE (TV/video): Vicky Nguyen, Elizabeth Wagner, Felipe Escamilla and Matt Goldberg of KNTV NBC Bay Area for their investigation into accusations by whistleblowers that regulators at California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control are failing to protect public health.

JOURNALISM INNOVATION (all media): Carrie Ching for The Center for Investigative Reporting for her original use of graphic storytelling that approaches challenging subject matter with grace and sensitivity.

OUTSTANDING EMERGING JOURNALIST (print/text): Stephanie M. Lee of the San Francisco Chronicle for finding creative ways to tell stories that are grounded in solid reporting and strong sourcing.

OUTSTANDING EMERGING JOURNALIST (broadcast) Jen Chien of KALW-FM for her use of diverse and carefully selected voices to bring attention to subjects that are often overlooked.

PHOTOJOURNALISM (photo essay): Jane Tyska of the San Jose Mercury News for her insightful and intimate photos documenting a 2-year-old’s liver and kidney transplant.

PHOTOJOURNALISM (single image): Nhat V. Meyer of the San Jose Mercury News for a stunning photo that catches Gabby Douglas in a graceful moment of peak action while competing at the U.S. Olympic trials.

PUBLIC SERVICE (all media): David Corn of Mother Jones for exposing the disconnect between 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign rhetoric and his personal convictions and business practices.

VIDEO JOURNALISM (portfolio): Jane Tyska of the San Jose Mercury News for capturing the depth of her subjects while telling their stories using an exquisite video framing technique.

VIDEO JOURNALISM (video journalism essay): Dai Sugano and Lisa M. Krieger of the San Jose Mercury News for bringing viewers into the personal moments of a woman carrying out her decision to decline life-sustaining dialysis.