The Mark Twain Award for Journalism Excellence Recipients

Cal Press, at the centennial of Mark Twain’s death, created a statewide honor for those from the writerly world: editors, writers, cartoonists whose journalistic work, either regional or statewide in nature, challenged the status quo. Nominees may have rendered service anytime from the beginning of newspapering in California to the present time.

The California Newspaper Mark Twain Award is only awarded posthumously. There is no requirement that the nominee shall have devoted his or her entire life to newspaper journalism in this state, but obviously a good portion of their career should have been in this profession in California.

Papers should outline the nominee’s entire career as fully as possible, but with emphasis on major accomplishments that will make them likely candidates for election to the Mark Twain Award. Biographers are urged to use due diligence in verifying all facts and claims. Authentication and reference sources should be included whenever possible.

Papers should be prepared in narrative style, including some local color and occasional anecdotes that help to convey to the judges the nominee’s character and personality. Recognizing that when more than two eligible candidates are submitted in any one year, rejection by the judges does not mean the individual is unworthy of election.

It is Committee policy that all newly submitted papers will be referred to the judges for consideration at least three times. There are no length restrictions on nomination papers, although most run between 5 and 10, double-spaced, typewritten pages.

Original copies should be forwarded to Becky Clark, Chair of the Mark Twain Award Committee, P.O. Box 1855, Idyllwild, CA 92549, or to The committee will arrange for additional copies and for their distribution.

Samuel Clemens, who had an adventurous newspaper career before becoming the famed Mark Twain.
Ron Fimrite, “The Sporting Tiger,” who took sports writing beyond plays and scores at the San Francisco Chronicle.
Herb Caen, the popular San Francisco Chronicle “three-dot” columnist.
Paul Conrad, the iconic Los Angeles Times editorial cartoonist.
Edward Kennedy, the Associated Press correspondent whose scoop on the German surrender in World War II was squashed. He was later an editor in Monterey and received a posthumous apology from the AP.
Bill Stall, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times editorial writer.
Rex Babin, The Sacramento Bee cartoonist who excelled in caricaturing the powerful.
Morris “Morrie” Turner, the first African-American to have a syndicated comic strip: the ethnically diverse “Wee Pals.”
Ben H. Bagdikian, the journalist, journalism-school dean, media critic and author.
David Lamb, the longtime Los Angeles Times foreign and national correspondent.
Jonathan Gold, food and music critic, Los Angeles Times/L.A. Weekly