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.]