The East Bay Express has won three honors recently — both for its news coverage and for its work in the community. Publisher Jody Colley is being honored by the Northern California Independent Booksellers association for her work with small, local businesses in the East Bay. Contributors Ali Winston and Joaquin Palomino and co-editor Robert Gammon are being honored by PUEBLO, Oakland’s police watchdog group, for the Express’ ongoing coverage of OPD. And contributor Rachel Swan, the paper’s former music editor, has won an excellence in journalism award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California.
Colley won the annual “Friend of Independent Booksellers Award” from the Northern California Independent Booksellers “for her unswerving commitment to the cause; for her participation in a thousand civic meetings; for her generosity of spirit and her wicked sense of humor,” said Amy Thomas, owner of Pegasus bookstores in Berkeley and Oakland. Colley was honored today at a ceremony at the South San Francisco Conference Center.
"From almost the first moment she arrived in the Bay Area, Jody has put her time, energy, and the considerable resources of the East Bay Express, to aid, advocate, support and celebrate our local businesses and entrepreneurs,” Thomas continued. “She and her staff have been particularly supportive of booksellers, and have devised a number of marketing promotions and campaigns designed to keep our customers shopping local. She has been active in helping to create Buy Local Berkeley, Oakland Grown, Think Indie, Plaid Friday, and The Read Indie campaign, among others, and has been instrumental in bringing the local economy message to her nationwide network of alternative weekly newspapers. We have truly found a champion and we are very grateful.”
The Express, Winston, Palomino, and Gammon won PUEBLO’s annual “community leader” award, and will be honored at an event sponsored by the organization on November 10 for their “excellent, continual investigative reporting on the Oakland Police Department and issues related to the Negotiated Settlement Agreement,” said Rashida Grinage of PUEBLO.
Winston has repeatedly broken stories over the past year, concerning the numerous problems within OPD and it’s failure to live up to the reforms in the federal consent decree, also known as the Negotiated Settlement Agreement. And Palomino’s recent cover story, “The People’s Police Department,” revealed that Detroit PD has been operating under federal consent decrees similar to the one in Oakland and yet has been able to reform itself.
Finally, Swan won a first-place award from SPJ Northern California for three in-depth reports she wrote on the East Bay’s arts and culture scene. The judges said Swan’s stories “demonstrate an exceptional alertness to cultural nuances, gender roles, and social and cultural power dynamics.”
Swan won for her stories “Sex By Numbers,” “The Shrinking Stage,” and “Boys in a Book Club.” The Express was the only alternative weekly in Northern California to win an award this year.