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Second place in the category of best general interest column writing. The Best of the West contest draws entries from newspapers, magazines and online publications from the Rockies to Alaska and Hawaii. Its categories are not divided by a publication's circulation size.  

Best of the West said Carmen "paints portraits of people with words. Through well-placed quotes and rich descriptions, she reveals subtleties of human behavior. Lovely prose and writing.” 

Carmen was honored for her "Heart in the San Joaquin" columns. Her three entries told the stories of a double-amputee Marine cycling across America, a 102-year-old Fresno benefactor who was friends with writer William Saroyan, and inmates who train shelter dogs.

California News Publishers Association’s California Journalism Awards

Carmen is the recipient of numerous awards in the annual California contest, including a couple dozen top awards for her stories in the categories of:

  • Writing

  • Profile

  • Feature

  • Wildfire feature

  • Environmental reporting

  • Sports feature

  • Coverage of protests and racial justice-news or feature stories

  • Investigative reporting

  • Breaking news

  • Coverage of youth and education

  • Coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic-profiles

  • Photography

  • Page layout and design

Newsrooms that Carmen worked in were recognized with coveted General Excellence awards more than half a dozen times while she was on staff. 

President’s Awards

Twice awarded McClatchy's premier journalism award that annually recognizes the best journalism from throughout the company's newsrooms across the United States.

Carmen was recognized for reporting about the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians disenrolling many of its members after the tribe built its casino, and for a story she wrote about what's happened to Yosemite's Native Americans over the past 150 years. That story was part of the award-winning series marking Yosemite's 150th anniversary.

"Anniversary stories are difficult to pull off," the judges wrote, "but The Fresno Bee employed superb writing, videos, photos, historical research and true imagination to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the nation's most popular national park. ... Between the high quality of the writing and selection of topics, this was a project that shows how these important community commemorations ought to be done."

Native American Journalists Association’s National
Native Media Awards

Third place nationally for news reporting in the organization's associate category. Carmen was recognized for the story she wrote about Yosemite's Native American community as part of the series marking Yosemite's 150th anniversary.

George F. Gruner Awards

A winner or finalist eight times in the categories of feature story, news story and public service journalism during an annual regional journalism competition in California's central San Joaquin Valley. 

Society of Environmental Journalists’ Awards for Reporting on the Environment

Part of a team that received an honorary mention in the category of student reporting. The Grace Case reporting project at the University of Montana, Missoula provided innovative, live coverage of a major ongoing environmental criminal trial, centered on the asbestos poisoning of a rural Montana mining town by W.R. Grace and Co., a chemical corporation.

Carmen's work with the Grace Case project led to her internship, working to develop and report for Et Al News, a collaboration between the University of Montana's schools of law and journalism to cover environmental criminal trials across the country.

National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Carmen was chosen to present the UM Grace Case project's reporting work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

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