Orange County Press Club Seeking Journalists Across Mediums, Backgrounds to Step Up to Serve on Board

The Orange County Press Club is looking for journalists to apply for open seats on its board of directors.
In addition to planning the Press Club’s annual awards gala and contest, the board of directors also hosts networking and informational events throughout the year for members. The volunteer board works alongside groups throughout California to advocate for press freedom and other issues important to journalists in Orange County.
The Press Club is looking for journalists from across a variety of mediums, publications and backgrounds to help fulfill this mission. Applicants for the board should send a short candidate statement by Oct. 15 to ocpressclub@gmail.com.
One of the goals of the current administration has been to expand the diversity of the board of directors to ensure that every journalist has a voice in Orange County.
“The Press Club is striving to better represent the broad diversity of Orange County both in demographics and across journalism mediums,” says Press Club President and LA Times Reporter Hannah Fry. “We’re not just looking for full-time reporters. We want our board to include freelancers, photographers, designers, audience engagement professionals and everyone in between. I’m optimistic this election will attract candidates who show how much Orange County journalism has to offer.”
Press Club members will vote to elect board members this fall.

2021 Orange County Press Club Awards: Video Announcement, In Memoriam and Winners List

The Orange County Press Club welcomes members to view a virtual presentation of the 2021 Excellence in Journalism award recipients. An in-person awards gala is scheduled to return in 2022.

Announcement Video

In Memoriam Video

Full Winners List

TRADITIONAL

Best News Story

First place: Scott Schwebke

¨Even in the #MeToo age, this woman got nowhere trying to fight back against harassment,¨ Daily Breeze

 

Second place: Meghann Cuniff

¨Amid an increasing homeless population, Santa Ana fights with Orange County over jail releases,¨ Daily Pilot

 

Third place: Erika Ritchie

¨Two investigations underway to find cause of Marine Corps’ deadliest AAV training accident,¨ OC Register

 

Best News Feature Story

First place: Brandon Pho

“In South OC’s Wealthy, Mostly White School District, Students of Color Tell Stories of Racism, Harassment and Inaction,” Voice of OC

 

Second place: Erika Ritchie

“A year after Marine disappears on High Sierra hike, family still unsure of what happened,” OC Register

 

Third place: Scott Schwebke

“After 36 years and a troubled life, transgender veteran finally wins honorable discharge,” LA Daily News

 

Honorable Mention: Roxana Kopetman

“Vietnamese refugee convicted of murder is free after 23 years, faces possible deportation,” OC Register

 

Best Breaking News Story

First place: Noah Beisiada, Nick Gerda

¨Silverado Canyon Burns Again As Bond Fire Erupts Under High Winds,¨ Voice of OC

 

Second place: Andrew Turner

¨Baseball community mourns the death of Orange Coast College coach John Altobelli,¨ Daily Pilot 

 

Third place: Nick Gerda

¨OC to Ban all Public and Private Gatherings Under Emergency Health Order,¨ Voice of OC

 

Best Investigative Story

First place: Joe Nelson and Scott Schwebke

“Embattled Rialto Water District awards contracts to friends of new president,” San Bernardino Sun

 

Second place: Noah Biesiada

“The Great Park Tax: How Irvine Homeowners are Paying for the City’s Big Dream,” Voice of OC

 

Third place: Hannah Fry

“Kobe Bryant’s pilot had been disciplined by FAA,” LA Times

 

Best Series 

First place: Keith Sharon

“Loud in the Silence” series, OC Register

 

Second place: Joe Nelson and Scott Schwebke 

Series on the Rialto Water District, San Bernardino Sun

 

Third place: Norberto Santana Jr.

Series on the unemployed during the pandemic, Voice of OC

 

Best Beat Reporting 

First place: Jeff Collins

Housing and real estate, OC Register

 

Second place: Spencer Custodio

Angel Stadium sale, Voice of OC

 

Third place: Scott Schwebke

Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, LA Daily News

 

Honorable Mention: Deepa Bharath

Religion, OC Register

 

Best Public Affairs Story

First place: Beau Yarbrough

“Is a minimum 664 training hours enough to become a California police officer?” OC Register

 

Second place: Daniel Langhorne

“After swimmer deaths, OC Parks studies new gate for Table Rock Beach Access,” Laguna Beach Independent

 

Third place: Tony Saavedra

“Spate of deputy misconduct cases casts harsh spotlight on OC Sheriff’s Department,” OC Register

Judges’ Comments: “A very good explanation of an important concern.”

 

Best Feature Story

First place: Jonah Valdez and Ruby Gonzales

“First robbed of freedom by enslavement, then robbed of life by coronavirus,” OC Register

 

Second place: Sara Cardine

“Goat herd helps clear up a hillside headache at OC fairgrounds amphitheater,” Daily Pilot

 

Third place: Shawn Price

“Dialogue on Diversity and Racism with Multiracial Families,” Parenting OC

 

Honorable Mention: Gabriel San Román

“He was one of the first black cops in O.C. His memoir reveals struggles with racism and why he was forced out,” Daily Pilot

 

Best COVID-19 Feature Story

TIE: First place: Peter Lefevre

“What Do Local Performing Artists Do While They Wait to Get Back Onstage?” Voice of OC

 

TIE: First place: Norberto Santana Jr.

“Santana: Latinos in Santa Ana and Anaheim Confront a Day of The Dead Unlike Any Other,” Voice of OC

 

Second place: Deepa Bharath

“Hospital chaplains fill role of surrogate family members during times of isolation, depression, death,” OC Register

 

Best COVID-19 Fallout Story

First place: Jessica Peralta

“Can Pets Get COVID-19?” Parenting OC

 

Second place: Christopher Trela

Executive Dining, OC Business Journal

 

Third place: Shawn Price

“Mom Power— Giving Birth to Premature Twins During the Pandemic,” Parenting OC

 

Honorable Mention: Susan Christian Goulding

“Voiceless victims of coronavirus: Quarantined nursing homes plagued by stress and loneliness,” OC Register

 

Best COVID-19 Investigative Story or Series 

First place: Spencer Custodio, Nick Gerda and Noah Biesiada

“The Downplaying of Orange County’s Coronavirus Numbers”

 

Second place: Spencer Custodio and Brandon Pho

“Hospital Workers Ring Alarm Bells, Say Fountain Valley Hospital Could be Coronavirus Hotspot”

 

Third place: Ian Wheeler

“Lapses in state coronavirus data cause false plunge in Orange County case rates”

 

Best Election Coverage 

First place: Collin Breaux and Lillian Boyd

The Capistrano Dispatch/Dana Point Times 

 

Best Public Demonstration Story

First place: Brandon Pho and Julie Leopo

“Orange County Coastal Enclave Becomes Ground Zero of Police Violence Controversy and Protests,” Voice of OC

 

Best Round-Up or Best Of

First place: Brad A. Johnson

“Where to eat in Orange County in 2020: A map of the best places,” OC Register

 

Second place: Edwin Goei

“How an O.C. food critic navigates takeout and drive-throughs during the pandemic,” Daily Pilot

 

Third place: Anne Valdespino

“Perfect gift for the pandemic holidays? California’s fanciest chocolates,” OC Register

 

Best Business Story

First place: Jeff Collins

“Untethered from the office, urban tenants are flocking to the Inland Empire,” OC Register

 

Best Sports Story

First place: Kyle Goon

“For Lakers support staff, the bubble has been a frantic, collaborative effort,” OC Register

 

Second place: Andrew Turner

“Tony Ciarelli left his mark on high school track and field,” Daily Pilot

 

Third place: Richard Dunn

“Neither COVID-19 nor brain cancer can stop Jay Hewitt from completing an Ironman Triathlon,” OC Register 

 

Best Arts/Culture Story

First place: Joel Beers

“Stages Theatre, a Mainstay for 28 Years on the Local Theater Scene, Closes Its Doors,” Voice of OC

 

Second place: Roxana Kopetman

“When a Christmas tip leads to a story about family, work and music,” OC Register

 

Third place: Kristina Garcia

“Black Student Union Members from Garden Grove High Find Their Voice and Purpose,” Voice of OC

 

Best Arts/Culture Review

First place: Paul Hodgins

“Hodgins: ‘She Loves Me’ Serves as a Fine Directorial Debut,” Voice of OC

 

Second place: Liz Goldner

“New Exhibit Dirty Elements Subverts Classic Art Tropes,” Irvine Weekly

 

Third place: Laura Bleiberg

“American Ballet Theatre Takes Us to Ancient Greece in ‘Of Love and Rage’,” Voice of OC

 

Best Music/Entertainment Story

First place: Peter Larsen

“Jimmy Angel’s an 85-year-old teen idol with tales to tell of Pat Boone, a lucky teddy bear and the mob,” OC Register

 

Second place: Kelli Skye Fadroski

“No Doubt talks ‘Tragic Kingdom’ at 25: The tears, tours and triumphs behind the classic album,” OC Register

 

Third place: Kelli Skye Fadroski

“Tom Morello talks Chris Cornell, Rage Against the Machine’s first gig ahead of new release,” OC Register

 

Best Music/Entertainment Review

First place: Peter Larsen

“Patti Smith brings passion and poetry to the LA Phil’s Power To The People! festival,” OC Register

 

Second place: Kelli Skye Fadroski

“What it was like to see Andrew McMahon perform a concert to socially distanced fans at Drive-In OC,” OC Register

 

Third place: Simone Goldstone

“Soundcheck: Queen Tribute Band Reigns Supreme at OC Fairgrounds,” Newport Beach Independent

 

Best Health/Wellness Story

First place: Susan Christian Goulding

“COVID survivors already fight stigma and worry Trump’s diagnosis will make it worse,” OC Register

 

Second place: Deepa Bharath

“Have coronavirus shutdowns, restrictions spawned a mental health crisis?” OC Register

 

Best Environmental News Story

First place: Brandon Pho

“Annual High Tide Spurs Concerns About Future Safety of San Onofre Nuclear Waste Stock Near South OC,” Voice of OC

 

Second place: Sara Cardine

“Costa Mesa’s Fairview Park Wetlands, once seen as a boon, bogged down by deficiencies,” Daily Pilot

 

Third place: Brandon Pho

“Conservationists Split Over Poseidon Desal Project’s Potential to Help Bolsa Chica Wetlands,” Voice of OC

 

Best Education Story

First place: Sara Cardine

“Push for reopening Orange County schools without masks has pro-charter school links,” Daily Pilot

 

Second place: Andrew Turner

“‘You can’t see through the masks the smiles’: Students return to class in Laguna Beach,” Daily Pilot

 

Best Food/Restaurant Story

First place: Bradley Zint

“Any way you slice it, a cheesemonger’s profession is serious business,” Daily Pilot

 

Second place: Roy Rivenburg

“Will the pandemic hurt the candy-industrial complex?” LA Times

 

Third place: Anne Valdespino

“Local chefs are turning to Instagram to sell directly to consumers,” OC Register

 

Best Food/Restaurant Review

First place: Brad A. Johnson

OC’s Best Places to Eat 2020: And the Restaurant of the Year is…” OC Register

 

Second place: Edwin Goei

“Review: As restaurants pivot to delivery, this food reviewer tests out local delivery-only ‘ghost kitchens,’” Daily Pilot

 

Third place: Edwin Goei

“Review: La Farola Empanadas moves from the back of a Tustin liquor store to its own restaurant in Costa Mesa,” Daily Pilot

 

Best Travel Story

First place: Jessica Kwong

“Travel: Downtown Miami comes alive for Super Bowl LIV,” OC Register

 

Second place: Erika Ritchie

“Travel: Mammoth Mountain opens up after coronavirus shutdown,” OC Register

 

Best Profile

First place: Deepa Bharath 

“Pastor builds huge TikTok following by sharing passion for chai and spiritual conversation,” OC Register

 

Second place: Peter Larsen

“Nearly 98, this man shook President Truman’s hand, befriended Dr. Seuss and Stan Lee and hasn’t stopped dancing,” OC Register

 

Third place: Susan Christian Goulding 

“Los Alamitos councilman slammed for racist email in 2009 faces Black colleague in reelection bid,” OC Register

 

David McQuay Award for Best Columnist 

First place: Patrice Apodaca

Daily Pilot

 

Second place: Norberto Santana Jr.

Voice of OC

 

Third place: Brad A. Johnson

OC Register

 

Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story

First place: Susan Christian Goulding

“Chad and JT’s excellent adventure: Comics make viral video about Surf City’s ‘mask shortage,’” OC Register

 

Second place: Gabriel San Román

“‘You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time:’ ‘Combating Coronavirus’ comedy provides much-needed levity,” Daily Pilot

 

Third place: Mark Crantz

“Applesauced,” Laguna Beach Independent

 

NON-TRADITIONAL or SPECIALTY PUBLICATION 

 

Best News Story

First place: Greg Mellen

“Tustin’s police recruits remain dedicated to agency’s community policing, public safety mission,” Behind the Badge

 

Best Feature Story

First place: Greg Mellen

“CUSD student was finalist for Boys and Girls Clubs national award,” CUSD Insider

 

Second place: Elysse James

“Capo Valley High counselor recognized as High School Counselor of the Year,” CUSD Insider

 

Third place: Greg Mellen

“Aviation student set to soar at Tesoro High,” CUSD Insider 

 

Best COVID-19 Coverage 

First place: Elysse James

CUSD Insider

 

Second place: Cindy Arora

Behind the Badge

 

Best Music/Entertainment Story or Review

First place: Jessica Peralta

“Candle House Collective Creates Connections, One Creepy Call at a Time,” Halloween Every Night

 

Second place: Richard Chang

“UCI Music Professor Uses Technology to Build Bridges,” UC Irvine

 

Third place: Daniella Litvak

“Fireflies @ South Coast Repertory – Review,” the Orange Curtain Review 

 

Best Arts/Culture Story or Review

First place: Brad A. Johnson

“Hotel Review: Cara, Los Angeles,” Brad A. Johnson, Food & Travel

 

Second place: Gabriel San Román

“Santa Ana Artist Reflects on Día de los Muertos with ‘And Still I Rise’ Installation,” Libromobile 

 

Third place: Patty Marsters

“ICT streams performance of ‘Daisy,’ starting Oct. 24,” LW Weekly 

 

Best Food/Restaurant Story or Review

First place: Brad A. Johnson

“The Disappearing Art & Rhythm of Chinese Tea in Hong Kong,” Brad A. Johnson, Food & Travel

 

MULTIMEDIA

 

Best Video

First place: Jose Hernandez

“May 30, 2020, Orange County Protests,” Voice of OC

 

Second place: Jose Hernandez
“Annual High Tide Spurs Concerns About Future Safety of San Onofre Nuclear Waste Stock Near South OC,” Voice of OC

 

Third place: Shawn Price

“Summoning the Ghost of Jacob Marley,” Halloween Every Night

 

Best Use of Multimedia

First place: Jessica Peralta

“Maverick Theater’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’: These Zombies Really Can’t Be Killed,” Halloween Every Night

 

Best Use of Data

First place: Brooke Staggs, Ian Wheeler and Alicia Robinson

“How Did Your Neighbor Vote?” OC Register

at illustrated the data were clear, colorful and useful. The graphics told the story of the data.”  

 

Best Audience Engagement/Use of Social Media

First place: Norberto Santana Jr., Spencer Custodio and Sonya Quick

Voice of OC

 

Second place: Brad A. Johnson 

 

Third place: Jessica Peralta

Halloween Every Night 

 

DESIGN/GRAPHICS

  

Best Graphic

First place: Sonya Quick

Hate Crimes, Voice of OC

 

Second place: Nicole Lavanier

Escape the Overlook, Halloween Every Night

 

Third place: Sonya Quick (with James Gordon and Jacob LaGesse)

Live Election Results, Voice of OC

 

Best COVID-19 Graphics

First place: Jeff Goertzen, Kurt Snibbe and Nikie Johnson

Evolution of a Pandemic, OC Register

 

Second place: Sonya Quick, Caitlin Bartusick and Nick Gerda

Orange County CA Coronavirus Tracker (among several submitted), Voice of OC

 

Third place: Kaz Fantone

“This Is a Public Service Announcement—With Ghouls,” Halloween Every Night

 

Best Illustration

First place: Justin Pakneshan

Thriller, Halloween Every Night

 

Second place: Justin Pakneshan

Millicent Patrick, Halloween Every Night

 

Third place: Jenna Red

Edward Scissorhands, Halloween Every Night

 

Honorable Mention: Ashley Oliman

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Halloween Every Night

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Best News Photo

First place: Julie Leopo

Photo of Elsa Hernandez, Voice of OC

 

Second place: Lillian Boyd

Photo from BLM protest, Dana Point Times

 

Third place: Richard Koehler

Photo of pedestrian killed in hit and run, OC Register

 

Best Feature Photo

First place: John Fredricks

Photo of the Bond Fire, Epoch Times 

 

Second place: Brad A. Johnson

Photo of tom yum with fresh water lobster, OC Register

 

Third place: John Fredricks

Photo of Kwami Adzitso, Epoch Times

 

Best COVID-19 Coverage

First place: Steven Georges

Behind the Badge

 

Best Portrait

First place: Omar Sanchez

Photo of Reyna and Nina Gonzalas, Voice of OC

 

Second place: Julie Leopo

Photo of Joyce Perry, Voice of OC

 

Third place: Brad A. Johnson

Photo of Chef Susumu li at Sushi li, OC Register

 

Best Photo Essay or Slideshow

First place: Steven Georges

First Responder Gratitude Tour, Behind the Badge

 

Second place: Julie Leopo

Photos of a grocery truck, Voice of OC

 

Third place: Brad A. Johnson

Photos of best donuts, OC Register

 

SPECIAL

The Real O.C. Award is given to the story, review, feature, column, photo or broadcast/video that best captures something special, surprising, telling or essential about Orange County. 

 

First place: Gabriel San Román

“The Fantasies of Ole Hanson, San Clemente’s Founding Father,” Gustavo Arellano’s Weekly

 

Second place: Brad A. Johnson

“Critic’s Notebook: Why I’m rating restaurants for their COVID-19 response,” OC Register

 

Third place: Brandon Pho, Julie Leopo

“In Wake of Raucous Protests, Santa Ana Residents Rally Around Clean Up,” Voice of OC

OC Press Club Opens Award Submissions for 2020’s Record Year

The OC Press Club is opening this year’s award submissions and looks forward to recognizing the county’s best journalism produced in extremely uncertain times.

The year of 2020 was filled with huge obstacles for local media: a pandemic, economic strife, wildfires and a national election. Orange County journalists faced all these reporting challenges while staffing continues to decline in the media landscape and while trying to maintain safe distancing protocols.

This year’s awards will be a bright spot in the media world as we gather together (later in 2021 in person or virtually) to celebrate how strong journalism informs, empowers and enlightens the community.

This year’s awards include new categories devoted to recognizing important work on topics such as COVID-19, natural disasters, demonstrations and the election.

> View the full list of award categories and how to enter submissions HERE.

> Work must be received by end of day Sunday, April 18.

Please reach out to ocpressclub@gmail.com with any questions.

Live, Virtual Discussion: “The State of Transparency in Orange County: The Public, The Press and Local Government”

The Orange County Press Club is proud to present a live virtual discussion for the 2021 Sunshine Week.

This discussion will center around the current state of seeking public records and accessing local government open meetings amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 18 and will be streamed publicly on the Press Club Facebook page.

The virtual discussion is timed with Sunshine Week, the 16th annual nonpartisan and nationwide effort to bring to light the state of reporters and the public in accessing public documents and meetings. Accessing such information is vital to journalists and the public being informed and engaged with quality of life debates and decisions.

The debate will be moderated by OC Press Club Board Member Daniel Langhorne. He is managing editor for the Laguna Beach Independent and engagement editor for The War Horse, a nonprofit newsroom.

Panel guests include:

Norberto Santana, Jr. who is publisher and editor-in-chief of nonprofit newsroom Voice of OC and president of CalAware.

Shawn Raymundo who is city editor for the San Clemente Times.

Ian Wheeler who is a reporter with the Orange County Register.

The Press Club encourages the public, professional journalists and students to submit questions ahead of time by emailing orangecountypressclub@gmail.com. Questions may also be asked live on Facebook during the discussion.

An Open Letter to Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do

We are writing to express our deep disappointment with Supervisor Andrew Do’s recent comments on the number of public records requests submitted to the county in recent months. The documents requested by news organizations, including Voice of OC, are owned by the public. County officials are obliged by hard-won state laws to produce these records for public inspection.

Journalists use public records to uncover facts that taxpayers deserve to know even when it’s uncomfortable for public officials to address. Supervisor Do’s belittling of these requests as an annoyance erodes public trust in journalists and the work we do at a time when our profession is under attack.

Supervisor Do’s comments were a disservice, not only to the journalists who cover the county, but also to the public he was elected to serve. 

We were also disturbed by the supervisor referring to the award-winning, nonprofit Voice of OC as “noise.” In the midst of a pandemic, the need for accurate and timely information has never been more critical. The men and women of Voice of OC deserve to be treated with professionalism by Orange County’s top elected officials. We expect more from our elected representatives and urge Supervisor Do to apologize.

 

Respectfully,

The Orange County Press Club Board of Directors

Lillian Boyd

Ben Brazil

Hannah Fry

Alma Fausto

Kathy Hobstetter

Daniel Langhorne

Patrice Marsters

David N. Young

Bradley Zint

Note: Board Member Sonya Quick abstained from the discussion and vote on this letter as she is digital editor at Voice of OC.

 

[View this letter as a PDF.]