48hills won three journalism awards this month – including an investigative reporting award in a category that included big operations like the LA Times and the Sacramento Bee.
The California Newspaper Publishers Association awarded us fifth place in the statewide “general excellence” category for publications our size; we were one of only two nonprofits honored. The judges said:
The last several years have not been kind for the print version of the alternative press, but 48hills brings that edge and energy to mainstay topics such as development, criminal justice and city government. One real strength of its website is the rich array of arts, culture and food reviews, helped along by compelling headlines like, “4 SF beers you aren’t drinking nearly enough of.”
We also won an award in the investigative reporting category for our in-depth series on how giant real-estate interests get away with low taxes under Prop. 13. In that category, we were competing with the largest media outlets in the state (the LA Times and Sacramento Bee won first and second place.)
That story was based on months of public-records research by Elissa Mann and Zachary James (supported by a grant from the San Francisco Foundation). Our conclusion:
a special 48hills investigation of the 55 most valuable office buildings in the city shows that Prop. 13 and its commercial real-estate tax breaks are together costing the city $360 million a year. And that’s just the biggest of the hundreds of high-end commercial properties in town.
This is recognition for the hard work our reporters and editors do every day—and for the idea that a community-based nonprofit news outlet can make a big difference in local journalism in 2021.