George F. Gruner Prize for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism

Established by McClatchy Newspapers in honor of the former executive editor of The Fresno Bee to recognize meritorious public service in San Joaquin Valley journalism. Awards are run by Fresno State’s Department of Media, Communications and Journalism.

2019 Winners and Honorable Mentions
Best Column
Weeklies
Winner, John Spevak, Los Banos Enterprise
Honorable Mention, Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette
Small dailies
Winner, Mike Dunbar, Merced Sun-Star
Honorable Mention, James Ward, Visalia Times-Delta
Large dailies
Winner, Marek Warszawski, The Fresno Bee
Honorable Mention, Robert Price, Bakersfield Californian
Best Sports Photo
Weeklies
Winner, Matt Johnson, Mariposa Gazette
Honorable Mention, Gene Lieb, Los Banos Enterprise
Small dailies
Winner, Andrew Kuhn, Merced Sun-Star
Honorable Mention, Ron Holman, Visalia Times-Delta
Large dailies
Winner, Andy Alfaro, Modesto Bee
Honorable Mention, Craig Kohlruss, The Fresno Bee
Best News Story
Weeklies
Winner, Reggie Ellis and Paul Myers, Foothills Sun-Gazette
Honorable Mention, Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette
Small dailies
Winner, Rob Parsons, Merced Sun-Star
Honorable Mention, Staff, Visalia Times-Delta
Large dailies
Winner, Robert Price, Bakersfield Californian
Honorable Mention, Yesenia Amaro, The Fresno Bee
Best Feature Story
Weeklies
Winner, Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette
Honorable Mention, Laura Brown, Enterprise Recorder
Small dailies
Winner, Parker Bowman, Hanford Sentinel
Honorable Mention, James Ward, Visalia Times-Delta
Large dailies
Winner, Sam Morgen, Bakersfield Californian
Honorable Mention, Carmen George, The Fresno Bee
Best Sports Feature Story
Weeklies
Winner, Shawn Jansen, Los Banos Enterprise
Honorable Mention (tie), Matt Johnson, Mariposa Gazette, and Jeremiah Martinez, Enterprise Recorder
Small dailies
Winner, Vongni Yang, Visalia Times-Delta
Honorable Mention, Noe Garcia, Hanford Sentinel
Large dailies
Winner, Trevor Horn, Bakersfield Californian
Honorable Mention, James Burns, Modesto Bee
Best News/Feature Photo
Weeklies
Winner, Gene Lieb, Los Banos Enterprise
Honorable Mention, Nicole W. Little, Mariposa Gazette
Small dailies
Winner, Andrew Kuhn, Merced Sun-Star
Honorable Mention, Ron Holman, Visalia Times-Delta
Large dailies
Winner, Joan Barnett Lee, Modesto Bee
Honorable Mention, John Walker, The Fresno Bee
Public Service
Weeklies
Winner, Paul Myers, Foothills Sun-Gazette
Honorable Mention, Greg Little, Nicole W. Little, Matt Johnson, Laura Phillips and John Mabon, Mariposa Gazette
Small dailies
Winner, Vikaas Shanker, Merced Sun-Star
Honorable Mention, Sheyanne Romero, Visalia Times-Delta
Large dailies
Winner, Garth Stapley, Modesto Bee
Honorable Mention, Sam Morgen, Bakersfield Californian
Past Public Service Recipients
  • 2018 – Mackenzie Mays, The Fresno Bee; Harold Pierce and Stephanie Innes, The Bakersfield Californian; Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette
  • 2017 – Andrea Castillo, Barbara Anderson, and BoNhia Lee, The Fresno Bee; Jim Houck, Juan Villa, Luis Hernandez, and Calley Cederlof, Tulare Advance-Register; Vikaas Shanker, Los Banos Enterprise
  • 2016 – Jeanine Fiser, Sanger Herald; Joseph Luiz, Hanford Sentinel; Andrea Castillo, The Fresno Bee
  • 2015 – Hannah Furfaro, The Fresno Bee; Joe Johnson, Hanford Sentinel; Rachel Cook, The Bakersfield Californian; Morgan Voorhis, Sierra Star
  • 2014 – Marc Benjamin and Barbara Anderson, The Fresno Bee; James Burger and Lois Henry, The Bakersfield Californian; Ramona Giwargis, Merced Sun-Star
  • 2013 – Kurtis Alexander, The Fresno Bee; Eric Woomer, Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register; Michael Miyamoto and Kevin Geaney, Dinuba Sentinel
  • 2012 – Mark Grossi, The Fresno Bee; Valerie Gibbons, Visalia Times-Delta; Rebecca Plevin, Vida en el Valle
  • 2011 – Chris Collins, The Fresno Bee; Cassidy Smith, The Sanger Herald; Valerie Gibbons, Visalia Times-Delta
  • 2010 – Steven Mayer and Gretchen Wenner, The Bakersfield Californian; Brad Banan, The Fresno Bee; Vanessa Rakis-Garabedian, The Sanger Herald; Rebecca Plevin, Vida en el Valle; Valerie Gibbons, Visalia Times-Delta
  • 2009 – Lois Henry, The Bakersfield Californian; Eiji Yamashita, The Hanford Sentinel; Mike Tharp, Merced Sun-Star; Ira Sather-Olson and Jenny McGill, The Selma Enterprise
  • 2008 – George Hostetter, The Fresno Bee; Stacey Shepard, The Bakersfield Californian; David Castellon and Paul Hurley, Visalia Times-Delta; Megan O’Laughlin and Jillian Brackett, The Sanger Herald
  • 2007 – Russell Minick, The Fresno Bee; Gretchen Wenner, The Bakersfield Californian; Jed Chernabaeff and Jim Houck, Visalia Times-Delta; Jaclyne Badal, The Reedley Exponent
  • 2006 – Christine Bedell, The Bakersfield Californian; Russell Clemings, The Fresno Bee; David Castellon and Jed Chernabaeff, Visalia-Times Delta; Jaclyne Badal and Amanda Magalei-Hardy, The Sanger Herald
  • 2005 – James Burger, The Bakersfield Californian; John Ellis, The Fresno Bee; Jim Houck, Visalia Times-Delta; C. J. Barbre, Lindsay Gazette
  • 2004 – George Hostetter, The Fresno Bee; Robert Price, The Bakersfield Californian; Henry Winckel and Katie Hicks, The Porterville Recorder; Carolyn Barbre and Reggie Ellis, Lindsay Gazette
  • 2003 – George Hostetter and Sanford Nax, The Fresno Bee; David McHenry, The Bakersfield Californian; Dan Martin, Visalia Times-Delta; Linda Renn and Terry Kibler, The Selma Enterprise
  • 2002 – Fred Ludwig and Steven Mayer, The Bakersfield Californian; Javier Erik Olvera, The Fresno Bee; Dan Martin, Visalia Times-Delta; Jason Plemons and Valerie Canepa, The Clovis Independent
  • 2001 – Mark Grossi, The Fresno Bee; Vic Pollard, The Bakersfield Californian; Justin Stoner and Amee Thompson, Visalia Times-Delta; David Hunn, The Clovis Independent
  • 2000 – Mark Grossi, The Fresno Bee; Vic Pollard, The Bakersfield Californian; John Andrews and John Holland, Visalia Times-Delta; Glen Faison and Janelle Schneider, The Selma Enterprise
  • 1999 – Jim Wasserman, The Fresno Bee; Steve Smith and Paul Hurley, Visalia Times-Delta; Glen Faison and Lisa Lieberman, The Selma Enterprise
  • 1998 – Lisa Friedman, The Bakersfield Californian; Jim Wasserman, The Fresno Bee; John Andrews and Paul Hurley, Visalia Times-Delta; Morgan Voorhis, Sierra Star
  • 1997 – Barbara DeLollis and Anastasia Hendrix, The Fresno Bee; Brett Tam and Camilla Cohee, Visalia Times-Delta; Mark Phillips, The Porterville Recorder; Jon Tillotson, Neighbors
  • 1996 – Susan Towers and Greg Campbell, The Bakersfield Californian; Gene Garaygordobil and Paul Hurley, Visalia Times-Delta; M.C. Naylor, Los Banos Enterprise
  • 1995 – Tom Maurer and Lois Henry, The Bakersfield Californian; Stevan Rosenlind and Donald Munro, The Fresno Bee; M.C. Naylor, Firebaugh Mendota Journal
  • 1994 – Penny Beeter, Merced Sun-Star
  • 1993 – Alex Pulaski, The Fresno Bee
  • 1992 – Tamara Welch, The Bakersfield Californian
  • 1991 – Russell Clemings, The Fresno Bee
  • 1990 – Paula Lloyd, The Clovis Independent
  • 1989 – Stevan Rosenlind, The Hanford Sentinel

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George F. Gruner retired in April 1988 after a career in journalism covering 46 years, including 33 years on the news staff of The Fresno Bee. Before joining The Bee, he worked for 10 years as a reporter for The Oakland Tribune and two years as a copy editor on the civilian staff of the European Edition of The Stars and Stripes, the armed services newspaper published in Germany.

After a year on the copy desk at The Fresno Bee, Gruner was named assistant city editor in 1956 and city editor in 1961. He served as assistant managing editor in 1970, became managing editor in 1971 and executive editor in 1981.

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. The “Fresno Four” received wide support from journalists and many other individuals and organizations throughout the United States for upholding the right to maintain confidential sources.

Since his retirement, Gruner has written three books and remains a force for journalistic excellence.