Tim Kawakami has been named California Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

It is the first time in the 54-year history of the award that a member of the Mercury News, or the Bay Area News Group, has been honored. It is the first time since 1980 that the award didn't go to a representative of the Los Angeles Times or San Francisco Chronicle.

Kawakami will be honored along with the national award winners -- Mitch Albom, Peter King, Dick Vitale and Dan Patrick -- at the annual awards weekend June 8-10 in Salisbury, N.C.

Kawakami was one of five California sports writers nominated for the award, which is voted on by members of the NSSA. Mercury News colleague Jon Wilner was among the other four finalists.

SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS SIG. MUG BY JOSIE LEPE 09/29/04Sports Columnist, Tim Kawakami.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS SIG. MUG BY JOSIE LEPE 09/29/04 Sports Columnist, Tim Kawakami.

"Tim is the consummate sports columnist for the digital era -- always staying on top of the news and quickly posting strong opinions with intelligent analysis for online and print," said Dave Butler, editor of the Mercury News and the Bay Area News Group. "Tim is in fine company with the national award winners. And the fact that Jon Wilner was a finalist underscores the strong team BANG has covering sports."

Greg Papa was named the California Sportscaster of the Year.

The NSSA, the only national organization to honor both sports writers and sportscasters, includes approximately 1,000 dues-paying members.



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