Sonoma Independent Wins Greater Bay Journalism Award for Library Story

Column About Supervisors Refusal to Fund Restoration of Library Hours Despite Record Budget Surplus Wins First Place Award
with our falling crime rate, these priorities did NOT who we are in Sonoma County!

The San Francisco Peninsula Press Club awarded the new Sonoma Independent its first two journalism awards this month during its 39th Annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards ceremony in Foster City.

The story, published in May, 2015, was titled, “Despite Record Budget Surplus, Supervisors Refuse to Restore Library Hours,”  and won First Place for the “Columns-News/Political” category.  It was written by this reporter and accompanied by a petition on the Sonoma Independent’s unique “WHAT YOU CAN DO” toolbar that was signed by 1,300 people.

As a result of the public awareness and public pressure raised by this column,  and a follow up column debunking excuses that some County Supervisors gave for not funding the restoration of library hours, the Supervisors broke from protocol during their annual budget review and expressed support for a possible funding solution in the future (as documented here).

This reporter won also won a First Place award for “Analysis” from the  Greater Bay Journalism Awards  two years earlier for this cover story in the The North Bay Bohemian about the library finding crisis titled, “Epic Local Government Failure Results in Closed Libraries.”

The 2015 Sonoma Independent award winning story noted that despite a record projected  budget surplus of $13m million, and an enormous $28 million four year increase in spending on prison and probation, the Supervisors refused to use the surplus funds to assist the library.   “While many other County funding cutbacks that impact far fewer than 100,000 library users have been restored” the article noted, “inflation adjusted funding for libraries has actually fallen by 3% since the unprecedented hour cutback in 2011.  County Library Director Brett Lear believes it would cost just $1.2 million to restore Monday hours.”

Infographic Illustrating State Park’s Unnecessary Cutback of Water for Beach Showers Also Wins Award 

The Sonoma Independent,also won a third place award for its July, 2015  “Infographic illustrating water usage”  for an article by this reporter titled,  State Parks Agency Uses Drought As Excuse to Cut Beach Showers That Benefited Millions.

The graphic, below, was created by Sonoma Independent designer Sammy Vanek, a Santa Rosa native and graduate of UC Santa Cruz.

Showers July 21 2015




Jonathan Greenberg

The founder and Editor of the Sonoma County Independent, Greenberg is an investigative financial journalist with 35 years of experience with national publications. Greenberg also serves as founder and Executive Director of Informing to Empower, the parent non-profit of both the Sonoma Independent and the Maui Independent. Greenberg has won first prizes from the Greater Bay Journalism Awards for the past three years, starting with his coverage of the closing of County library cutbacks, and then Palm Drive Hospital. Jonathan’s professional career began as a fact checker at Forbes Magazine, where he advanced to the role of the lead reporter in creating the first Forbes 400 listing of wealthy Americans (as recounted in this recent article for Forbes’ 100th anniversary issue and more extensively in this biography of Malcolm Forbes.  Jonathan has been an investigative financial and political  journalist for such national publications  as The New York Times,  The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Mother Jones, Forbes, Money, Playboy, GQ, The New Republic, and Alternet.  From 2011 through 2017, Jonathan was a blogger for the Huffington Post, where his narrative-transforming reporting and analysis about subjects like Bernie Sanders, Monsanto and Native Hawaiian water protectors achieved some of the widest readership of any HuffPost writer on these subjects. Jonathan’s nearly 40 years of professional media and reporting experience has been enhanced by a Yale Law School Masters Degree fellowship program, from which he graduated with honors in First Amendment Law from internationally renowned attorney Floyd Abrams and then Yale University President Benno Schmidt. Jonathan is the author of the critically acclaimed biography Staking A Claim: Jake Simmons and the Making of an African-American Oil Dynasty, which a Washington Post Book World front page review called, “a rare biography that challenges the readers senses in the same the way science fiction does.”  In 1992, he edited Buying America Back: Economic Choices for the 1990′s, an anthology of 45 progressive solution-oriented essays called by Publisher’s Weekly,  “An immensely important resource for policymakers, community activists, and everyone concerned with building a more humane future.” As a new media innovator who has developed a half dozen interactive web platforms and dozens of content-focused web sites, Greenberg is committed to enhancing responsive government and expanding media democracy. Greenberg is founder of Progressive Source Communications, a Sebastopol-based public interest communications company. In the past, he founded and managed two other online companies,, and Greenberg’s political work included serving as Policy Director for the New York City Council’s Select Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment in the years following 9-11. His work resulted in more than $250 million of federal funds being re-directed to needy businesses and constituents in the impacted area. Greenberg has been Vice President of Fenton Communication’s New York office. His work on behalf of non-profit organizations has included communications consulting for Save Darfur, Stonyfield Farm, the ACLU, and the Lakota People’s Law Project. Greenberg holds a B.A. in writing from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and a Masters Degree in Law from Yale Law School, where he graduated with honors in First Amendment Law.
No Comment

Leave a Reply



Prove you are human, solve this math quiz: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.