Sierra Nevada College honors Truckee native Jason Paladino |

Sierra Nevada College honors Truckee native Jason Paladino

From left: Truckee native Jason Paladino, a fellow at the UC-Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program, and Mike Hixenbaugh, a military reporter at the Virginian-Pilot, received the Sigma Delta Chi award (given by the Society for Professional Journalists) for their investigative reporting on a troubled Navy helicopter program.
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Visit to read more about Jason Paladino and the story behind his story on the Sea Dragon and its associated controversy.

Sierra Nevada College is proud to announce that alumnus Jason Paladino, 2012, has been named Alumni of the Year for 2016, while Trustee Ben Solomon received the Lane Murray Distinguished Alumni Award.

Paladino and Solomon received the awards during the college’s Alumni Award Ceremony, held Oct. 9 as part of Homecoming & Family Weekend festivities.

Paladino, a Truckee native and reporter at UC Berkley’s Investigative Reporting Program at the Graduate School of Journalism, received the honor for outstanding achievements over the last year.

Among his accomplishments, Paladino received the prestigious Society of Professional Journalists — NorCal 2016 James Madison Freedom of Information Student Award for his investigation into the Navy’s Sea Dragon program. Paladino was also a Livingston Award Finalist and Sigma Delta Chi Awards winner for his work on the project.

Paladino’s investigative work, which he began as a Berkeley graduate student, resulted in an NBC Nightly News story entitled “Sea Dragon Down, The Human Cost of the Navy’s Most Crash-prone Chopper.”

Beginning with Navy data, Paladino found that the Navy used the Cold War-era Sea Dragon helicopter for years without proper maintenance and access to replacement parts. Records showed the Sea Dragon was frequently involved in crashes and fires, costing sailors their lives.

Paladino holds an Interdisciplinary BA in Journalism and Outdoor Adventure Leadership from SNC Tahoe. He continued his education at UC Berkeley, earning his MA in Journalism in 2015 from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. While at SNC Tahoe he was the news editor and then managing editor for the Eagle’s Eye, the campus newspaper

Ben Solomon’s history with SNC goes back to its foundation in 1969, when he started as a volunteer professor. He served as the CEO of the college for 25 years, including Administrative Director (1970-1980), President (1980-1993 and 2003-2005), and Chancellor (1993-1994).

During his tenure, SNC grew from 23 full time students and three converted buildings to several hundred students and an energy-efficient campus with five buildings.

Since his second tenure as president, Solomon has dedicated his energy to the Board of Trustees to enhance the student experience at SNC. Today, Ben can still be found on campus, dining in Patterson or reminiscing with staff, students, and faculty.

“We are proud to see creative and ambitious graduates like Jason and leaders like Ben who dedicate themselves to work that is making a positive impact in the world,” said SNC Tahoe President Dr. Alan Walker. “In the case of Jason as a standout graduate, we see someone who is a model for the SNC educational experience. And in Ben, as a trusted ally, we see the driving force for SNC Tahoe behind the scenes.”

This article was provided by Sierra Nevada College. Visit to learn more.

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