News Release
University Affairs Office
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609
(707) 664-2122
    May 11, 2001      File #098
    Contact: Susan Kashack, Communications Director, (707) 664-2122

Lincoln Steffens Award Honors Reporting on Violations of Public Records Act, Client Abuse

An investigative report on how well local agencies complied with California’s Public Records Act has been awarded first place in the daily newspaper category in Sonoma State University’s annual Lincoln Steffens Awards for Investigative Reporting.

The winners in each category are:

Daily Newspapers
* Stockton Record, "Public Records: Denied," first place. The reporting team consisted of Mike Adamick, Sarah Grunder, Dogen Hannah, Dana Nichols, and Amy Starnes. They investigated how well local governments and schools complied with the Public Records Act. They found that government agencies violated the law almost as often as it was followed.
* San Jose Mercury News, "Uncertain Refuge," second place. The story, by Frederick Tulsky, was about the granting of asylum to immigrants and how varied rulings are even in similar cases.
* Stockton Record, "They Use It Like Candy," third place. This report, by Nancy Price, covered the use of prescription mood-altering medications in California’s Youth Authority of Stockton.

Weekly / Biweekly Newspapers
* The Sonoma Index Tribune, "Sonoma Development Center," first place. The story by Bill Lynch and Neal Ross reported on client-abuse investigation cases. The series of stories focused on the Sonoma Development Center, which provides care for people with severe developmental disabilities. The series discovered that many abuse cases have gone unreported or are not handled correctly.
* Pacific Sun "Marin Family Court," second place. This story, by Jill Kramer, discussed unfair decisions made by the Marin Family Court in custody cases.
* Anderson Valley Advertiser " When a Winery Kills," third place. The story, by Bruce Anderson, reported on use of certain elements in wineries and the harm it causes to wine makers.

The 20th Annual Lincoln Steffens Award Ceremony will be held on May 31 at 6 p.m. in the Sonoma State University Commons Building. The public is invited. Cost is $20, which includes dinner and a speaker. Jeffrey Schaub, KPIX TV field reporter and Northbay Bureau Chief out of San Francisco, is the featured speaker for the event and will talk about his experiences working on network television news.

Steffens, a California native journalist and editor gained international reputation at the start of the 20th century for exposing corruption in business and government.

The award honors Northern California investigative journalists whose reporting, published in 2000, presents facts or information not generally known that reveals illegal, unethical or questionable practices by a person, group or organization.

The event is sponsored by Sonoma State University Communication Studies Department, the SSU student newspaper the STAR and The Sonoma County Press Club. For more information contact Susan Kashack at (707) 664-2122 or e-mail


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Last Modified: 5/14/01