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The Recorder captured eight awards for journalism excellence Saturday from the California Newspaper Publishers Association. The eight awards represented one of the legal newspaper’s finest showings ever at CNPA’s annual Better Newspapers Contest. Only five of the 229 newspapers that entered the competition earned more awards. “Last year was a transition year for us, with new editorial leadership and many new reporters,” Editor-in-Chief Scott Graham said. “The fact we received so many honors is a testament to the terrific new talent we’ve brought on board.” The Recorder swept first and second place in its circulation category for both investigative and financial reporting. Reporter Jahna Berry, now with The Arizona Republic, won first place in investigative or enterprise reporting for “Prosecution Blues,” a two-part series last fall on the challenge of bringing criminal cases against rogue police officers. Berry also took second place in the feature category with “Coleman’s Command,” a profile of Contra Costa County Public Defender David Coleman. Reporter Pam Smith took second place in investigative/enterprise for “Doing Business With the City,” a series of stories examining how the San Francisco city attorney’s office chooses and manages its outside counsel. In the business/financial category, reporter Marie-Anne Hogarth won first place with “Going to Disney Land,” about a Silicon Valley corporate lawyer who acted as an expert witness in last year’s Disney shareholder trial. Reporter Justin Scheck took second place in business/financial for “Will Work for Fee,” a profile of the Minami, Lew & Tamaki law firm. Contributing writer William Bedsworth, a justice on the Fourth District Court of Appeal, won first place in the category of columns, commentary and criticism for his humor column, “A Criminal Waste of Space.” The winning columns were “Pretzel Logic,” about a judge’s decision to classify battered French fries as a vegetable; “Pulling Castro’s Crank,” about two radio personalities who made a harassing phone call to Fidel Castro; and “Turning a Car Into a Cow,” about a court’s rejection of the claim that a cow is a motor vehicle. Production Designer Tim Williams took second place for illustration or info-graphic, for a photo illustration that accompanied “The New Math,” a story on law firm revenues and profits. Finally, the newspaper won first place for its Ad Hominem editorial pages, which are handled primarily by Managing Editor Greg Mitchell. “Greg deserves a lot of the credit for this great showing,” Graham said. “He had a hand in editing many of the entries and has set a tone of excellence in our newsroom.”

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