Staff Report

Barrow is pictured with award committee member Barbara Sommer.
Senior Staff Writer Genoa Barrow traveled to the Bay Area to accept an award for coverage that impacted the local community. Barrow is pictured with award committee member Barbara Sommer.

The OBSERVER’s Genoa Barrow recently was awarded the California Grand Jurors’ Association’s (CGJA) 2022 Best News Media Reporting Award.

The senior staff writer received the award for “extensive, unbiased and continued coverage” stemming from the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors’ decision to give millions in federal funds meant for pandemic relief to the sheriff’s department to balance its budget. Barrow’s award reception was held Oct. 23 during the CGJA Annual Conference in San Rafael.

Barrow and The OBSERVER broke the story in August 2020. Activists demanded answers and ultimately, the board asked County Executive Nav Gil to resign.

After a yearlong investigation, a county grand jury released a report in February titled “Sacramento County Board of Supervisors Abandons Responsibility for COVID-19 CARES Act Spending.” The grand jury nominated Barrow for the award.

“The journalist conducted herself with integrity and provided the community with critical information that revealed the misuse of public funds,” the nomination reads.

The CGJA’s Excellence in Reporting Award program recognizes individuals and media that have created positive changes in their communities by increasing awareness of the California grand jury system. 

Barrow shared with association members that being honored was a full-circle moment, as late OBSERVER co-publisher Kathryn C. Lee was the first African American to serve on a Sacramento County grand jury in 1973.