Vida en el Valle wins three national awards

Vida en el Valle, the San Joaquin Valley’s bilingual newspaper, was named best weekly publication by the National Association of Hispanic Publications .

Vida Editor Juan Esparza Loera said the award was announced on Oct. 20 at the NAHP convention in Dallas.

Vida was selected as the best bilingual weekly publication among papers with a circulation of more than 30,000. It is published by McClatchy Newspapers, which also publishes The Fresno Bee.

Esparza won best English-language column for a piece on how unwise it is for presidential candidates to use Spanish-language radio to reach the Latino community. Daniel Casarez also won best news photo for a picture taken at the funeral of a Dinuba boy killed while playing basketball in front of his house.

Casarez also won two bronze medals for another funeral photo and a picture from a high school track-and-field meet.

The individual awards look at all weekly and daily publications above 30,000 circulation, meaning Esparza and Casarez beat out competitors from larger publications. About 90 percent of publications geared toward Latino readers are members of the National Association of Hispanic Publications, Esparza said.

Casarez has worked at Vida for 12 years, and his awards “show the quality of his work,” Esparza said. “Like everyone on our staff, he doubles as a reporter and a video and web producer. It’s a testament to his quality.”

This is Vida’s second win in the best weekly publication category in the last three years, Esparza said, adding that the paper has won the overall award at least 10 times in its 25-year history. Esparza has worked at the weekly since its inception in 1990.

“We have six people in our editorial staff covering Fresno, Merced, Modesto, Stockton and Sacramento,” Esparza said. “The win shows that local content, which is 90% of our paper, is still important to the readers.”