By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Journal reporters earn top honors in contest
Placeholder Image

The work of two Turlock Journal reporters was recently recognized in a statewide journalism contest.

Sabra Stafford and Chhun Sun both won first place in their respective categories in the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s 2010 Better Newspapers Contest.

Stafford won first place for her story, “Hunger in the Valley,” in the Writing category for weekly newspapers in the 4,300 and under circulation division. The story tells of the bitter irony that one of the world’s leading producers of food also is home to one of America’s largest populations of people dealing with the daily struggle of finding enough food for themselves and their families.

“When I embarked on writing this story I wanted to bring some attention to a problem that is affecting so many people in our area. It is both gratifying and an honor to have it recognized by the CNPA,” Stafford said.

This is not the first time CNPA has honored Stafford and her work. In 2009, Stafford won first place in the Local Breaking News category for her story, “Baby’s brutal death shocks community,” about Sergio Casian Aguiar, who savagely beat to death his 2-year-old son on a stretch of country road outside Turlock in June 2008 before being shot to death by a Modesto police officer who was dropped on the scene by a helicopter. Also in 2009, Stafford’s “Who killed Richie?” — a story about the 1998 unsolved murder of Ricardo Garcia — was a finalist in the Writing category.

In 2008, two of her stories were finalists in the contest — “Love & Order” in the Writing category and “Gunman takes over Turlock park” in the Local Breaking News category.

Journal sports reporter Sun won first place in the 2010 Better Newspapers Contest in the Sports Story category for his article “Rising star,” about local athlete Colin Kaepernick and his journey from Pop Warner football to starting quarterback of the University of Nevada in Reno.

For the story — part one in a three-part series about Kaepernick —Sun traveled to Reno and spent several days with the former Pitman High athlete.

“I wanted to be the first one to tell the story of Colin Kaepernick in detail,” Sun said about the series. “He has a very interesting story and I felt at the time, he was at a critical juncture in his life where he was entering his final year of college before the NFL draft.

“I think the local sports community has a lot of interesting and inspiring stories and it’s definitely an honor to help tell those stories,” he said.

This is not the first sports journalism award Sun has won. In 2008, he received the Associated Press award for explanatory reporting. Sun is also a two-time winner of the Utah Journalism Award for spot news and sports reporting in 2008.

Stafford’s award-winning story “Hunger in the Valley” is available on the Journal’s Web site at

Sun’s story “Rising star” can be found at

Both stories can also be found by visiting, scrolling over the “Special Sections” tab on the homepage, and then clicking on “Award-winning stories.”

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.