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

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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

 

 

 

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Jonathan Greenberg

Jonathan Greenberg is the editor and publisher of the award winning Sonoma Independent, which he founded in 2015 to serve the public interest with insight, solutions and advocacy.

In January, 2024, Jonathan launched the StopTrumpDictatorship.com Project to create and market compelling YouTube ads, as well as the Progressive Source PAC to fund them. The effort’s first project was the Dems Vote Haley in SC video, which was viewed 400,000 times in blue counties, contributing to Haley outperforming polls by 10 points.

Jonathan has been an investigative legal and financial journalist with 40 years of experience contributing to national publications. During the past six years, Jonathan wrote four of the most widely-read exposes in the Washington Post about Donald Trump. Jonathan has known Trump longer than any journalist writing today. He was head of research for the first Forbes 400 when Trump conned him into putting him on the list. The notorious phone calls Trump taped pretending to be John Barron was the subject of monologues on Colbert, the Daily Show and Seth Meyers. Jonathan has appeared live on more than a dozen major news shows, including on CNN with Erin Burnett, Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo, on MSNBC with Ari Berber and Ali Velshi, and NPR's On the Media.

Jonathan was a Web 1.0 pioneer. In 1996 he started Gist Communications, a disruptive new media company that competed successfully with News Corp’s TV Guide Online. In 1997, Gist was one of just 14 websites in the world to be named a winner of the First Annual Webby Awards in San Francisco. Following Gist and the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Jonathan served, in 2002 and 2003, as Policy Director for the New York City Council’s Select Committee on Lower Manhattan Redevelopment, where he directed media and public policy campaigns and was the city council’s lead analyst for federal relief programs.

In 2007, Jonathan founded Progressive Source Communications, a public interest digital advocacy company that has created scores of impactful videos and campaigns to build awareness of solutions that serve the common good. Progressive Source owns the Sonoma Independent.

Jonathan is a graduate of Yale Law School's Masters Degree in Law fellowship program. A fuller bio and links to Jonathan's work can be found at JonathanGreenberg.com.

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