The Press Democrat won five first- or second-place awards in the California Newspaper Publishers Association's annual Better Newspapers Contest, including the top overall award for an online publication.
Competing in the category of daily newspaper with circulation between 35,000 and 150,000, the paper won first place for its website and for a feature article by Staff Writer Derek Moore.
The Press Democrat's return to local ownership by Sonoma Media Investments in 2012 gave the newspaper's online team an opportunity to rebuild and re-engineer pressdemocrat.com. The redesigned site made its debut in July.
"The process of delivering news online changes quickly as technology advances," said Greg Retsinas, the newspaper's digital director. "But one constant for us has been our focus on delivering a compelling news report for our readers. Having a first-class website, showcasing stellar journalism through words, images and videos, is a key part of achieving that goal."
The awards recognized work published between Nov. 1, 2012, and Oct. 31, 2013.
Moore took first place with an article profiling Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, as she retired from a 20-year career in Congress.
Staff Writer Jeremy Hay won a second-place award for enterprise reporting about the Graton Resort & Casino in advance of its November opening.
Brett Wilkison received a second-place award for coverage of local government for reporting in the runup to the launch of Sonoma Clean Power.
Staff Photographer Kent Porter won a second-place award for a news photo of a grieving veteran at an exhibition of a traveling Vietnam War memorial in Petaluma.
The Petaluma Argus-Courier, also owned by Sonoma Media Investments, took home the top overall prize for weekly newspapers with circulation between 4,301 and 11,000. It was the newspaper's fifth general excellence award in six years.