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 Names 2020 Excellence in Journalism Award Winners

TRADITIONAL (PRINT)

 

Best News Story

First Place: Nick Gerda, “OC Approves New Policy to Immediately Destroy Public Records” (Voice of OC, http://bit.ly/2QntYkO)

Comments: This story is a win for journalism. Unbelievable that those in power think this is acceptable.

 

Second Place: Roxana Kopetman, “Migrant crisis spreads from border into Inland Empire” (OC Register, https://bit.ly/2VJ7F9Y)

Comments: Well written beginning. Easy to visualize what is happening. Effects many.

 

Third Place: Erika Ritchie, “Family of military killed in training band together to push lawmakers into action” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/07/15/bereaved-military-families-look-to-lawmakers-to-stem-the-rising-number-of-training-fatalities/)

Comments: Well-written – Life and Death Issue – Great Visuals.

 

Best News Feature Story 

First Place: Cindy Carcamo, “Lugging water into the desert for thirsty migrants unites this couple. Trump divides them” (LA Times, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-10-01/la-me-col1-water-unites-trump-divides)

Comments: Fascinating eyewitness treatment of a humanitarian effort involving people of disparate political stripes, making it a multifaceted, layered and engaging feature. 

 

Second Place: Jonah Valdez, “A year later, borderline mass shooting victims families and survivors process grief” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/11/06/a-year-later-borderline-mass-shooting-victims-families-and-survivors-process-grief/)

Comments: A difficult subject handled in a respectful, well-reported and comprehensive way. The poignant ending really drives things home. 

 

Third Place: Teri Sforza, “Are sick ‘puppy mill’ dogs being disguised as rescues to sidestep new California law?” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/11/08/are-sick-puppy-mill-dogs-being-disguised-as-rescues-to-sidestep-new-california-law/)

Comments: Personalized stories combine with investigative legwork to seamlessly piece together a complex puzzle. Not only a good read, but also a fine example of community service journalism.

 

Best Breaking News Story 

First Place: Hannah Fry, Cindy Carcamo, Maria L. LaGanga, Richard Winton and Julia Sclafani, “Two Hours of Terror in Orange County With No Easy Answers” (LA Times, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-08-09/two-hours-of-terror-in-orange-county-with-no-easy-answers)

Comments: This account of a violent rampage by a man who killed four people during a two-hour crime spree was exquisitely written and read more like a meticulous narrative than a breaking news compilation of facts on the fly. Background and perspective were woven into the story through comments from victims and witnesses, and put into context by citing recent similar mass shootings and changes in state early release laws — strong reporting that painted a vivid picture of what happened and who was affected. 

 

Best Investigative Story 

First Place: Cindy Carcamo, “At ‘Freedom House,’ a pattern of neglect“ (LA Times, https://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-immigrant-children-group-home-casa-libre-peter-schey/)

 

Second Place: Nick Gerda, “OC Moves Millions From Health Agency to Help Cover Sheriff Overruns” (Voice of OC, http://bit.ly/2nuLshF)

 

Third Place: Gabriel San Roman, “Ticket Masters: Anaheim Showers Supporters With Tickets to the Hottest Attractions in Town” (OC Weekly, https://www.ocweekly.com/ticket-masters-anaheim-city-council-showers-supporters-with-tickets-to-the-hottest-attractions-in-town/)

 

Best Series 

First Place: Jeff Collins, Nikie Johson, Alicia Robinson and Jeff Goertzen, Housing in CA for the OC Register 

Comments: This is an excellent display of editorial, design and graphic elements to tell the story of housing throughout the cities and counties that surround one of the largest states in the country. The creative team did a great job at incorporating warranted design elements such as use of charts, graphs, maps and the overall grading system which clearly show the reader how each area ranks across multiple grading criteria. This team knows how to tell a story and did an exceptional job helping the reader determine if their home jurisdiction “made the grade.” Well done! 

 

Best Beat Reporting 

First Place (TIE): Alicia Robinson, coverage of Angels Stadium (OC Register)

First Place (TIE): Scott Schwebke, coverage of the VA (OC Register)

Second place: Meghan Cuniff, Michael Avenatti’s judicial odyssey (Daily Journal)

Third place: Martin Wisckol, environmental news (OC Register)

 

Best Public Affairs Story 

First Place: Gabriel San Roman, “Trump’s Travel Ban Keeps an Iranian Woman Away From Her OC Husband” (OC Weekly, https://www.ocweekly.com/trumps-travel-ban-keeps-an-iranian-woman-from-her-oc-husband/)

Comments: The reporter provided a moving and emotional story that brings to life the real impact of public policy decisions on the people most affected. As a reader, you can’t help but walk away understanding the plight of the young couple impacted, and wondering how many more people are there whose lives have been shaken up by the travel ban. Exceptional public affairs reporting!

 

Second Place: Jeong Park, “Rancho Santa Margarita could lose nearly half its affordable housing supply” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/06/27/rancho-santa-margarita-could-lose-nearly-half-its-affordable-housing-supply/)

Comments: Great analysis on the looming dearth of available affordable housing in the community. The writer shines a bright spotlight on the problem–and leaves those involved in creating it with nowhere to hide. Well done!

 

Best Feature Story 

First Place: Keith Sharon, “Former LAPD cop rushes home to find man from iconic 1992 riot picture on his porch after LA marathon mix-up” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/03/27/former-lapd-cop-rushes-home-to-find-man-from-iconic-1992-riot-picture-on-his-porch-after-la-marathon-mix-up/)

 

Second Place: Susan Christian Goulding, “DNA kit reveals Tustin man’s surprise siblings and family secrets” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/10/23/dna-kit-reveals-tustin-mans-surprise-siblings-and-family-secrets/)

 

Third Place: Laura Bleiberg, “Brea’s Public Art Caretakers” (Voice of OC, http://bit.ly/2JRNmjw)

 

Best Round-Up or Best Of 

First Place: Christopher Trela, “Fun With Food at the OC Fair” (Newport Beach Independent, https://www.newportbeachindy.com/fun-with-food-at-the-oc-fair/)

 

Second Place: Jeong Park, “Your Guide to Garden Grove’s newly named Orange County Koreatown” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/02/18/your-guide-to-garden-groves-newly-named-orange-county-koreatown/)

 

Third Place: Edwin Goei, “Discover the Next Level of Pho, Bang Mi and Bun at These Little Saigon Spots” (OC Weekly, https://www.ocweekly.com/discover-the-next-level-of-pho-banh-mi-and-bun-at-these-little-saigon-spots/)

 

Best Business Story 

First Place: Jeff Collins, “Fallout from state’s rent control debate: More rent hikes” (OC Register, https://bit.ly/2Srutcm)

 

Second Place: Jeff Collins, “Youths needed to fill construction jobs as openings rise” (OC Register, https://bit.ly/2KSI0Wo)

 

Third Place: Jeff Collins, “A dynasty built on home sales: Curtain falls on Tarbell after 93 years” (OC Register, https://bit.ly/35mmIJY)

 

Best Sports Story 

First Place: Joey Kaufman, “Graham Harrell Tasked With Reviving USC Offense With Some Air Raid Flair” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/03/03/graham-harrell-tasked-with-reviving-usc-offense-with-some-air-raid-flair/)

Comments: Well-written, fascinating tale

 

Second Place: Christopher Trela, “Newport Sailors Prepare for 50th Transpac Race” (Newport Beach Independent, https://www.newportbeachindy.com/newport-sailors-prepare-for-50th-transpac-race/)

Comments: Good use of history to place in context this significant and long-lived sporting event.

 

Third Place: Susan Christian Goulding, “Seal Beach residents ask who’s responsible for car damage caused by flying golf balls” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/03/18/seal-beach-residents-ask-whos-responsible-for-car-damage-caused-by-flying-golf-balls/)

Comments: An unexpected story, done well.

 

Best Arts/Culture Story 

First Place: Kedric Francis. “On Prints and Property” (Blue Door Magazine, https://issuu.com/bluedoormagazine/docs/bdm_aug19/50)

Comments: clever, beautiul, unique, well rounded

 

Second Place: Anthony Pignataro, “Dice Are How You Flex” (OC Weekly, https://www.ocweekly.com/dice-are-how-you-flex-welcome-to-dungeons-dragons-in-orange-county/)

Comments: unique story, lots of interesting layers, loved the CPR, “Medicine” skill as well as the dice tid bit and tie in to the title

 

Third Place: Kedric Francis, “10 Cool Things about New Christ Cathedral” (Blue Door Magazine, https://issuu.com/bluedoormagazine/docs/bdm_volume7/124)

 

Best Arts/Culture Review 

First Place: Peter Larsen, “Kanye West premieres debut opera Nebuchadnezzar at Hollywood Bowl” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/11/24/kanye-west-premieres-debut-opera-nebuchadnezzar-at-hollywood-bowl-heres-what-it-was-like/)

Comments: A fun, evocative read. Informal style pairs well with subject matter. The reader can’t help but come away with an opinion!

 

Second Place: Paul Hodgins, “‘90s Classic ‘Skylight’ Finds New Relevance at Chance Theater” (Voice of OC, https://bit.ly/2YlHEiL)

Comments: Exellent review. Author obviously knows his stuff. Good backgrounding on author and play.  Made me want to see it!

 

Third Place: Liz Goldner, “Works on Paper: the Collection of Cheech Marin at the Muzeo” (Irvine Weekly, https://irvineweekly.com/works-on-paper-the-collection-of-cheech-marin-at-the-muzeo/)

Comments: I want to see this exhibit! More background and context and fewer two-sentence desciptions would have helped the flow. But well and knowledgably written.

 

Best Music/Entertainment Story 

First Place: Kelli Skye Fadroski, “Social Distortion’s Mike Ness Talks About Sobriety, New Music and Bruce Springsteen Before the Band Celebrates its 40th Anniversary in Irvine” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/10/17/social-distortions-mike-ness-talks-about-sobriety-new-music-and-bruce-springsteen-before-the-band-celebrates-its-40th-anniversary-in-irvine/

Comments: What a poignant, wonderful story of beating the odds, following your passion, and making a difference in the world through music! Excellent storytelling and weaving in all the intricacies of drug addiction and achieving sobriety. 

 

Second Place: Christopher Trela, “A Righteous Life” (Newport Beach Magazine, https://trendmag2.trendoffset.com/publication/?m=&i=569503&p=32)

Comments: I really enjoyed this bird’s eye view of Bill Medley’s life. He is a legend and this was an interesting, colorful read!

 

Third Place: Kelli Skye Fadroski, “Producer Linda Perry Says Her Grammy Nomination is Already a Win” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/02/08/producer-linda-perry-says-her-grammy-nomination-is-really-already-a-win/)

Comments: This is an edgy, captivating story. Linda shows women that anything is possible! Excellent writing. 

 

Best Music/Entertainment Review 

First Place: Peter Larsen, “Paul McCartney Reunites With Ringo Starr at Dodger Stadium During Career Spanning Show” (OCounty Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/07/14/paul-mccartney-reunites-with-ringo-starr-at-dodger-stadium-during-career-spanning-show/)

Comments: I actually felt as if I were there. Interesting topic, wonderful descriptions and a wonderful tribute to two of the best musicians of all time! I was riveted. 

 

Second Place: Eric Marchese, “Solid Performances and Production Values Elevate Stage Version of Grumpy Old Men: The Musical” (Voice of OC, https://bit.ly/2KGvUPY)

Comments: This piece is so entertaining! I loved the vivid descriptions and colorful characters described by the journalist. Excellent job!

 

Third Place: Timothy Mangan, “Third Coast Percussion Lays Down a Virtuosic Set at Samueli” (Voice of OC, http://bit.ly/2GbO8Y8)

Comments: This was a clever, tightly-written piece about an unusual genre of music. 

 

Best Environmental News Story 

First Place: Martin Wisckol, “Your recyclables are going to the dump and here’s why” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/05/17/your-recyclables-are-going-to-the-dump-heres-why/)

Comments: This is a well-handled look at a disruption in recycling because of a breakdown in foreign markets. Details about consumer costs and possible legislative solutions help inform the public. Excellent work amid other noteworthy environmental reports in this category.

 

Second Place: Erika Ritchie, ““California Dungeness crab industry to stop fishing three months early in legal settlement to help end whale, turtle entanglements”” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/03/26/california-dungeness-crab-industry-to-stop-fishing-3-months-early-this-season-in-legal-settlement-to-slow-whale-turtle-entanglements/)

Comments: Producers and consumers are impacted by a three-month shutdown of the crab industry as covered in this report that outlines why — protecting whales and turtles — and how the solution was achieved. Well done.

 

Third Place: Anthony Pignataro, “How Sea Level Rise Will Change Orange County” (OC Weeky, https://www.ocweekly.com/how-sea-level-rise-will-change-orange-county/)

Comments: Sea-level rise seems inevitable and this report delves into why and the decisions under consideration now for a problem that may not fully hit Orange County residents for decades. Solid work about a long-term menace, with personal recollections helping provide perspective.

 

Best Education Story 

First Place: Susan Gill Vardon, “CSUF Clinic Helps Transgender Clients Find Their Voice, Confidence” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/08/07/csuf-clinic-helps-transgender-clients-find-their-voice-confidence/)

Comments: Fascinating story. Readers will repeatedly say to themselves, “I didn’t know that!”

 

Second Place: Hannah Fry, “Adulting Is Hard” (LA Times, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-12-10/adulting-is-hard-uc-berkeley-has-a-class-for-that)

Comments: An eye-opener that shows what kids aren’t learning in school. Well reported.

 

Third Place: Gabriel San Roman, “The Fight Over a School Named for a Brea Pioneer Who Happened to be a Klansman” (OC Weekly, https://www.ocweekly.com/the-fight-over-a-school-named-for-a-brea-pioneer-who-happened-to-be-a-klansman/)

Comments: Solid reporting, great sourcing. An in-depth look at a topic many would want to avoid.

 

Best Food/Restaurant Story 

First Place: Bradley Zint, “After 40 years of running Antonello Ristorante, Antonio Cagnolo still delivers food ‘from sea to table’” (LA Times, https://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/entertainment/story/2019-11-07/restaurateur-antonio-cagnolo-works-with-fisherman-in-huntington-harbour-to-deliver-food-from-sea-to-table)

Comments: The smooth narrative is seamless, quick-witted and rounded out with good background information. It made me want to join Antonio Cagnolo on his next fishing trip.

 

Second Place: Anne Valdespino, “How Friendships Inspired Legendary Restaurateurs Ron Salisbury and Piero Selvaggio to Open Louie’s By the Bay in Newport Beach” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/01/24/how-friendships-inspired-legendary-restaurateurs-ron-salisbury-and-piero-selvaggio-to-open-louies-by-the-bay-in-newport-beach/)

Comments: The tale of two business partners’ friendship has descriptive details and meaningful quotes, making it an interesting feature.

 

Third Place: Anne Valdespino, “Why Hot Sauce Addicts Are Willing to Pay Through the Nose for Sinus-Clearing Premium Sauces” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/02/05/why-hot-sauce-addicts-are-willing-to-pay-through-the-nose-for-sinus-clearing-premium-sauces-from-tabasco-gringo-bandito-and-truff/)

Comments: The lead gets you right into the story about why hot sauces are trending. The sidebar on the three luxury hot sauces is a useful extra layer to the story.

Best Food/Restaurant Review 

First Place: Brad A. Johnson, “Knife Pleat teeters on the verge of greatness but isn’t quite there” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/12/05/review-knife-pleat-teeters-on-the-verge-of-greatness-but-isnt-quite-there-yet/)

Comments: From start to finish, this review is delightful. The flavors of the dishes come through with the writer’s detailed descriptions — I could almost taste the caviar. I also liked how the background information was woven in.

 

Second Place: Edwin Goei, “The Omelet at the New Delice Breton in San Juan Capistrano Is Oeuf-ing Good” (OC Weekly, https://www.ocweekly.com/the-omelet-at-the-new-delice-breton-in-san-juan-capistrano-is-oeuf-ing-good/)

Comments: The writer’s ode to a fluffy omelet is wonderfully descriptive and I could have kept reading more about it. It is a good example of how a review can be written tightly and yet be effective.

 

Third Place: Brad A. Johnson, “Have you made your reservation? CdM is a scene” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/05/30/review-have-you-made-your-reservation-cdm-is-a-scene/)

Comments: You get a clear taste of the dishes through the writer’s effortless descriptions. It’s good read especially if you didn’t make a reservation and have a long wait for a table to open up.

 

Best Travel Story 

First Place: Cindy Carcamo, “On a trip to Guatemala with my toddler, her grandparents’ fears give way to fun” (LA Times, https://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-travel-guatemala-antigua-201900526-story.html)

Comments: Cindy Carcamo gifts readers with a stereotype-busting trip to Guatemala. As seen not just through her eyes but through the eyes of her 3-year-old daughter, this is a well-written story recounting experiences both past and present. Her writing is descriptive but not verbose, and the personal revelations elevate what otherwise might be a run-of-the-mill travel story into something truly eye-opening. Well done!

 

Second Place: Gabriel San Roman, “The Earth is Sacred. Chimayo Proves It” (OC Weekly, https://www.ocweekly.com/chimayo-new-mexico-summer-travel-2019/)

Comments: Gabriel San Roman revisits a childhood destination with a trip to a centuries-old Roman Catholic Church in northern New Mexico. This is a fascinating look at an area said to have healing dirt. Congratulations on a story that is part compelling history but wholly intriguing.

 

Third Place: Jessica Kwong, “Experiencing Italy’s Coast Requires Some Footwork” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/09/21/travel-experiencing-italys-coast-requires-some-footwork/)

Comments: This is a nicely detailed pre-pandemic look at one of the most beautiful coastlines in Europe, much of it traversed on foot. Kudos to writer Jessica Kwong for artfully capturing the sights in jealousy-inducing fashion.

 

Best Profile 

First Place: Anthony Pignataro, “A Night In The Life Of An Overnight TV-News Stringer” (OC Weekly, https://www.ocweekly.com/a-night-in-the-life-of-an-overnight-tv-news-stringer/)

Comments: Pignataro’s well-written portrait of a TV-news stringer was truly gripping. He ably revealed many facets of his subject and a job many people may not know about. His vivid descriptions brought the reader into the scene, a setting that almost felt like film noir.

 

Second Place: Jim Washburn, “Dick Dale’s California” (Blue Door Magazine, https://issuu.com/bluedoormagazine/docs/bdm_june2019/58)

Comments: Washburn’s fun-to-read piece went far beyond Dick Dale the icon. It uncovered other aspects of the musician/artist and with wonderful turns of phrase also captured the time and place Dale defined in his music.

 

Third Place: Theresa Walker, “A decade after Great Recession chewed him up, homeless DJ feels almost back” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/08/16/a-decade-after-great-recession-chewed-him-up-homeless-dj-feels-almost-back/)

Comments: Walker put a lot of time and commitment into this story of Jim Henry, and it shows. She let the facts speak for themselves, without editorializing. And in doing so, she created a sympathetic portrait of an inspiring man who became homeless yet never seemed to lose hope. 

 

Best Religion Story 

First Place: Deepa Bharath, “Southern California United Methodist Congregations on the Brink of Schism Over National Church’s Stance on Homosexuality” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/05/26/southern-california-united-methodist-congregations-on-the-brink-of-schism-over-national-churchs-stance-on-homosexuality/)

Comments: A well-written and balanced account of a church divided over fundamental teachings. It made me want to follow up to see if the two sides were able to reach some common ground or if the schism was inevitable.

 

Second Place: Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, “Inspired in part by the teachings of Malcolm X, Orange County Muslims travel to distant prisons to minister to inmates” (LA Times, https://www.latimes.com/local/orangecounty/tn-dpt-me-me-mosque-prison-lancaster-orange-county-20190415-story.html)

Comments: Kandil brings to readers’ attention a group that doesn’t just help inmates find their faith but also the means to live their faith once they are outside of prison walls.

 

Third Place: Deepa Bharath, “After Swastika Photo With Students Went Viral, the Local Jewish Community Embraced and Educated Them” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/03/15/after-swastika-photo-with-students-went-viral-the-local-jewish-community-embraced-and-educated-them/)

Comments: We’ve become too used to hearing of instances of anti-Semetic or racial incidents, intentional and otherwise. The “twist” here was the offended community chose to look at what happened and make it an opportunity to forgive and teach and be inclusive.

 

David McQuay Award for Best Columnist 

First Place: Patrice Apodaca, Daily Pilot

Comments: This columnist takes the “news of the day” and from it extrapolates deeper meanings and broader implications, helping the reader see beyond the surface and understand the deeper issues at play. She makes strong and persuasive arguments based on facts, she articulates her positions clearly, and her distinctive and powerful voice and writing style make her columns a pleasure to read. If I lived in the OC, I would make it a point to read her columns regularly to stay informed about important issues and expose myself to points of view that I may not have thought of or otherwise considered.

 

Second Place: Jonathan Lansner, OC Register

Comments: Entertaining and original writing style that draws the reader in. Uses math and other data in an accessible and non-intimidating way to put things in perspective and deepen the reader’s understanding of the situation. He combines analytical thinking with great writing, which makes it easy for readers to see beyond the hype and the headlines and understand what’s really going on. He seems like a columnist you can trust to tell it to you straight.

 

Third Place: David Jerome, OC Register

Comments: It’s a sign of a good writer when even if you aren’t particularly interested in a topic, you find yourself engrossed in the stories, caring about the characters, and leaving feeling somehow enriched, and that’s the experience one has reading David’s columns. He’s an engaging writer who digs up interesting tales and tells them with flair that really puts the reader there.

 

Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story 

First Place: Susan Christian Goulding, “The Loud Crowd” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/04/05/the-loud-crowd-four-men-muted-by-parkinsons-disease-find-their-voices-and-laughter-in-speech-therapy-classes/)

 

Second Place: Mark D. Crantz, “The Winner Is . . .” (Laguna Beach Independent, https://www.lagunabeachindy.com/pet-peeves-269/)

 

NON-TRADITIONAL (ADVOCACY JOURNALISM or SPECIALTY PUBLICATION)

 

Best News Story

First Place: Elysse James, “Outreach, shelter beds help Anaheim police help homeless” (Behind the Badge, https://behindthebadge.com/outreach-shelter-beds-help-anaheim-police-help-homeless/)

 

Best Feature Story 

First Place: RJ Smith, “The Master” (Super Lawyers Magazine, https://digital.superlawyers.com/superlawyers/lxrs19/MobilePagedReplica.action?pm=2&folio=8#pg8)

 

Second Place: Lou Ponsi, “As she becomes Pasadena PD’s first African American deputy chief, Cheryl Moody adds to a long list of achievements” (Behind the Badge, https://behindthebadge.com/as-she-becomes-pasadena-pds-first-african-american-deputy-chief-cheryl-moody-adds-to-a-long-list-of-achievements/)

 

Third Place: Lou Ponsi, “Guitarist, songwriter, athlete and DA investigator, Damon Tucker is a man of many talents” (Behind the Badge, https://behindthebadge.com/guitarist-songwriter-athlete-and-da-investigator-damon-tucker-is-a-man-of-many-talents/

 

Best Music/Entertainment Story or Review 

First Place: Daniella Litvak, “Poor Yella Rednecks” (The Orange Curtain Revue, http://theorangecurtainrev.com/poor-yella-rednecks-south-coast-repertory-review/)

 

Second Place: Shawn Price, “The 17th Door” (Halloween Every Night, https://halloweeneverynight.com/the-17th-door-2019-video-and-photos/)

 

Third Place: Jackie Moe, “9 fun, inspiring stories from Broadway queen Betty Buckley” (Backstage SOCal, https://backstagesocal.com/9-facts-betty-buckley/)

 

Best Arts/Culture Story or Review  

First Place: Liz Goldner, “Yevgeniya Mikhailik: A Slow Conflict” (Art and Cake, https://artandcakela.com/2019/03/25/yevgeniya-mikhailik-at-grand-central-art-center/)

 

Second Place: Liz Goldner, “Orange County’s Aviation Heritage Lives On in Art at the Orange County Great Park” (KCET Artbound, https://www.kcet.org/summer-of-space/orange-countys-aviation-heritage-lives-on-in-art-at-orange-county-great-park)

 

Best Food/Restaurant Story or Review  

First Place: Brad A. Johnson, “Where to Eat in Mexico City, part 2” (Brad A. Johnson, Food & Travel, https://bradajohnson.net/2019/09/06/where-to-eat-in-mexico-city-part-2/)

 

Second Place: Bradley Zint, “Westside Slice: Trenta Pizza and Cucina” (I Heart Costa Mesa, https://www.iheartcostamesa.com/eat/trenta-pizza-and-cucina)

 

MULTIMEDIA

 

Best Broadcast 

First Place: Shawn Price, “King Kong video” (Halloween Every Night, https://halloweeneverynight.com/theater-review-king-kong-konquers-in-klever-kavalcade-of-kicks-and-kitsch%EF%BB%BF/)

Comments: Fun, interesting presentation.

 

Second Place: Shawn Price. “Alien 40th anniversary filmmakers” (Halloween Every Night, https://halloweeneverynight.com/alien-40th-anniversary-female-filmmakers-talk-about-what-ripley-means-today/

 

Best Use of Multimedia 

First Place: Shawn Price, “Plan 9 review” (Halloween Every Night, https://halloweeneverynight.com/plan-9-fails-again-wonderfully-at-the-maverick/)

Comments: Good stuff, made me want to see the show.

 

Second Place: Shawn Price, “Sleepy Hollow” (Halloween Every Night, https://halloweeneverynight.com/legends-live-on-in-sleepy-hollow-at-the-maverick/)

 

Third Place: Joe Vargas, Henderson Police Shooting (Behind the Badge, https://www.facebook.com/BehindTheBadgeNews/videos/461804738021956/)

 

Best Podcast 

First Place: Keith Sharon, Mom Vs. Murderer (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/s2-ep-1-across-the-street/id1450314783?i=1000453002575)

Comments: Well done, compelling story.

 

Second Place: Joe Vargas, Behind the Badge (https://www.spreaker.com/show/behind-the-badge-podcasts-2019)

 

DESIGN/GRAPHICS

 

Best Cover 

First Place: Dustn Snipes, Super Lawyers Magazine cover of Phillip K. Wang

Comments: The winner is a ‘master’ of design, making use of a great photograph, foreground and background to compel the reader to want to know this man’s story.

 

Second Place: Brett Hillyard and Jonny Fuego, April 2019 cover of Blue Door Magazine (https://issuu.com/bluedoormagazine/docs/bdm_april_2019)

 

Third Place: Brett Hillyard and Jonny Fuego, August 2019 cover of Blue Door Magazine (https://issuu.com/bluedoormagazine/docs/bdm_aug19)

 

Best Page Design 

First Place: Jonny Fuego, “Guo Wow!” for Blue Door Magazine (https://issuu.com/bluedoormagazine/docs/bdm_march_2019/120)

Comments: ‘Guo Wow!’ showcases the photos and stories in a way that gives the reader the experience of a fashion show. Variety of size and color and great use of white space help propel the piece along page to page. Simple but sleek.

 

Second Place: Jonny Fuego, “Rudi Rules” for Blue Door Magazine (https://issuu.com/bluedoormagazine/docs/bdm_june2019/130)

 

Third Place: Jonny Fuego, “On Prints and Property” for Blue Door Magazine (https://issuu.com/bluedoormagazine/docs/bdm_aug19/50)

 

Best Graphic 

First Place: Nick Gerda and Sonya Quick, “OC Sheriff vs. Health & Social Services” (Voice of OC, http://bit.ly/2nuLshF)

Comments: The winner ultimately delivers a simple, straightforward explanation for how healthcare and social services were very gradually de-prioritized by public officials as police expenses shot up. Complements the story and helps the reader understand it better.

 

Second Place: Jeff Goertzen, “Deadly Stakes” (OC Register)

 

Third Place: Scarlett Kim, “Carnival of Souls” (Halloween Every Night)

 

Best Illustration 

First Place: Zarah Prater, “The Undying Monster” (Halloween Every Night)

Comments: The winner is somehow a clean and crisp but filthy thing to look at. Nice new take on an old classic.

 

Second Place: Zarah Prater, “The Invisible Man” (Halloween Every Night)

 

Third Place: Zarah Prater, “Alien: Resurrection” (Halloween Every Night)

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Best News Photo 

First Place: Richard Koehler, SUV hits light pole, overturns (OC Register)

 

Second Place: Julie Leopo, Wagner (Voice of OC)

 

Third Place: Richard Koehler, driver missed parking spot (OC Register)

 

Best Feature Photo 

First Place: Steven Georges, swearing in little girl (Behind the Badge)

 

Second Place: Steven Georges, graduation ceremony (Behind the Badge)

 

Best Portrait 

First Place: Brett Hillyard, Elizabeth Turk (Blue Door Magazine, https://issuu.com/bluedoormagazine/docs/bdm_volume6_2019/130)

 

Second Place: Dustin Snipes, “Phillip K. Wang, the Master” (Super Lawyers Magazine)

 

Third Place: Brett Hillyard, Kedric Francis (Blue Door Magazine, https://issuu.com/bluedoormagazine/docs/bdm_june2019/14)

 

Best Photo Essay 

First Place: Brett Hillyard, “Palms of the Californias” (Blue Door Magazine, https://issuu.com/bluedoormagazine/docs/bdm_april_2019/126)

Comments: Striking pictures that last in the reader’s mind.  Nice job.

 

Best Slideshow 

First Place: Julie Leopo, Santa Ana and Michoacán (Voice of OC, http://bit.ly/2TTf9UA)

Comments:  A very interesting study of two places, how much they are different and how much they are alike.  Really gave the readers something to think about.

 

Second Place: Steven Georges, paper football competition (OC Register)

 

Third Place: Christopher Trela, Lobster Fest (Newport Beach Independent)

 

SPECIAL

 

The Real O.C. Award  

First Place: Hayley Munguia, “A Long Beach Pilot Made History 55 Years Ago, But She and Her Beloved Plane Faded From Memory Until Now” (OC Register, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/12/16/a-long-beach-pilot-made-history-55-years-ago-but-she-and-her-beloved-plane-faded-from-memory-until-now/)

Comments: Beautifully researched and well-written piece of history tying past and present together. Supplemental photos were key to this writer’s successful retelling of this story.

 

Second Place: Anh Do, “In Little Saigon, this newspaper has been giving a community a voice for 40 years” (LA Times, https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-col1-viet-newspaper-20190321-htmlstory.html)

Comments: A beautiful, well-written tribute by the author on the personal and professional impact of the subject. Photos and placement enhanced the storytelling.

 

Third Place: Gabriel San Roman, “Gloria Lopez’s Legendary Activism Began with the Integration of an Anaheim Mexican School” (OC Weekly, https://www.ocweekly.com/gloria-lopezs-legendary-activism-began-with-the-integration-of-an-anaheim-mexican-school/)

Comments: Beautifully written and researched profile. The accompanying photos really helped enhance the storytelling.

 

2019 OC Press Club Award Finalists

Award winners for the 2019 annual contest for work produced during 2018.

TRADITIONAL (PRINT)

Best Breaking News Story
First Place: Orange County Register staff, Thousand Oaks shooting
Comments: It’s clear the Orange County Register’s comprehensive coverage of the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks was the result of a herculean effort by the OCR’s reporters, editors and other staffers. From police audio to survivor accounts to the heartbreaking stories of the victims, the newspaper brought understanding and compassion to readers alongside its thorough coverage of a rapidly evolving breaking news event. A real public service in the face of tragedy – well done.
Second Place: Spencer Custodio, Voice of OC, “Irvine, H.B. and Laguna Niguel to Sue County Over Homeless Shelters”
Third Place: Spencer Custodio, Nick Gerda, Voice of OC, DA Files Campaign Sign Theft Charges Against Former Fullerton Candidate”

Best Cannabis Coverage
First Place: Amy DePaul, Voice of OC
Comments: Excellent research, descriptive writing, interesting content!
Second Place: Brooke Edwards Staggs, Orange County Register
“Marijuana Stinks”
Third Place: Mark D. Crantz, Laguna Beach Independent
“Holy Smokes”

Best News Feature Story
First Place: Cindy Carcamo, LA Times, “In Mountain of Guatemala, searching for parents deported from U.S. without children”
Comments: Gripping and extremely well-written, this story provides a close-up look at the monumental task of tracking down parents from Central America who were deported without the young children from whom the U.S. government separated them at the border. A truly enterprising piece of reporting in which tremendous effort paid off with real insights.
Second Place: Keith Sharon, Orange County Register, “Death of a Unicorn”
Third Place: Susan Christian Goulding, Orange County Register, “This Man Proposed a Law Banning Assault Weapons in Huntington Beach, Then the City Sued Him”

Best Business Story
First Place: Jeff Collins, Orange County Register, “The new American dream: Leasing your house”
Comments: A fresh angle on the housing crisis and the rent control debate. Well researched, clear, with a breadth of perspectives.
Second Place: Jeff Collins, Orange County Register, “Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher says it’s OK not to sell homes to gays; loses support of Realtors”
Third Place: Nancy Luna, Nation’s Restaurant News, “Restaurants face shortage of teen labor”

Best Public Affairs Story
First Place: Erika Ritchie, Orange County Register, “This police officer was told to pay $40,000 to Department of Defense because of an 8-year payroll glitch”
Comments: A superb example of watchdog reporting. The story would have been outrageous based on the facts alone, but telling us how the debt was affecting the officers made it much more powerful.
Second Place: Nick Gerda, Voice of OC, “County Won’t Name Everyone Who Broke Campaign Money Laws”
Third Place: Hannah Fry, LA Times
“Some Californians are hiring private fire crews to save their homes. Regular firefighters aren’t happy about it”

Best Series
First Place: Martin Wiskol, Orange County Register, The Real Cougars of Orange County
Comments: Absolutely great journalism—tackles a complex issue with excellent supporting visuals, well-researched data, compelling copy and headline with a hook. Tells a complete story of a complicated and controversial topic, backed with facts and insight into what is being done to create solutions. A must-read.
Second Place: Teri Sforza, Tony Saavedra and Scott Schwebke, Orange County Register, Born on Drugs
Third Place: Hannah Fry, Daily Pilot, Losing Sunny

Best Sports Story

First Place: Mirin Fader, Bleacher Report, “Did One Hit Lead to a 13-Year-Old’s Suicide?”
Comments: This was far and away the best entry in the category. It’s a gripping, well-paced story.
Second Place: Greg Hardesty, Blue Door Magazine, “Chakra Canyon”
Third Place: David Jerome, Orange County Register, “This Fullerton Columnist Took in Five Local Baseball Games in One Day”

Best Feature Story
First Place: Gabriel San Román, OC Weekly, “Disneyland Resort Workers Are the True Magic-Makers, But a Survey Shows Many Toil in Poverty”
Comments: Eye-opening look at the people behind the Disney resort industry, and the struggles they face. Well-written, and showcases an array of workers and experiences. Great work.
Second Place: Keith Sharon, Orange County Register, “He Watched His Friends Die in Vietnam”
Third Place: Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, “Once-spindly tree flourishes at gravesite under a widow’s care”

Best Round-Up or Best Of
First Place: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register, “Brad A. Johnson’s 75 Best Places to Eat, 2018″
Comments: Useful, well researched and detailed information, written in crisp, clear copy. Generates excitement about the local food possibilities!
Second Place: Cynthia Rebolledo, OC Weekly, “Viva Los Tacos”
Third Place: Christopher Trela, Newport Beach Independent, “Summer Fun: Free Your Inner Farmer and Foodie at OC Fair”

Best Arts/Culture Story
First Place: Gabriel San Román, OC Weekly, “What Happened to Downtown Santa Ana’s Cinco de Mayo Festival?”
Comments: A well-handled report about the loss of a popular local event in a clash between culture and commerce. Writing with a light touch helps carry the message about the financial reasons for the loss and the cultural relevance and history of Cinco de Mayo.
TIE for Second Place: Liz Goldner, Los Angeles Times, “‘First Glimpse’ peers into UC Irvine’s treasure trove of California art, the ‘largest collection of art that no one has ever seen'”
TIE for Second Place: Richard Chang, Voice of OC, “Ann Phong Turns Discarded Objects Into Art”
Third Place: Taylor Hamby, OC Weekly, “Paul Frank Is Still Orange County’s Friend”

Best Music/Entertainment Story
First Place: Taylor Hamby, OC Weekly, “A Longtime Employee of the Legendary Golden Bear Recalls the Huntington Beach Club’s Heyday”
Comments: Great opening. Nothing like telling a story. You are drawn into the story and want to know more. Long headline though (smile).
Second Place: Richard Chang, Daily Pilot, “Lido Theater in Newport Bech celebrates 80 years”
Third Place: David Jerome, Orange County Register, “Mr. Bucketlist: Still Making Queen Memories”

Best Food/Restaurant Story

First Place: Nancy Luna, Orange County Register, “One year later: Bruno Serato reflects as he prepares to reopen fire-damaged Anaheim White House”
Comments: Nicely done combination news-feature on this longtime restaurateur.
Second Place: Taylor Hamby, OC Weekly, “Orange County’s Tiki Bars of the Past and Present Help You to Forget About Your Boring Life”
Third Place: Cynthia Rebolledo, Remezcla, “Thanks to This Restaurant, Flour Tortillas Are Cool Again in Southern California”

Best Environmental News Story
First Place: Martin Wisckol , Orange County Register, “The Real Cougars of Orange County Pt. 2: Mountain lions’ survival might depend on wildlife crossing near Temecula”
Comments: This is a well-researched and really interesting read. Good job of balancing sides of the issue and putting it into a larger perspective of development vs. conservation needs.
Second Place: Erika Ritchie, Orange County Register , “Whale entanglements on the West Coast rise again in 2018, is this the new normal?”

Best Profile
First Place: Anh Do, LA Times, “Driven from an Anaheim tent city, a couple struggles with addiction and the realities of Orange County’s homeless”
Comments: Well-written. Compassionate and honest look at one couple’s struggles with homelessness.
Second Place: Theresa Walker, Orange County Register, “Judge David O. Carter and Attorney Brooke Weitzman Force Orange County to Address Homelessness”
Third Place: Deepa Bharath, Orange County Register, “Meet CHOC’s ‘Dancing Doc’ who livens up hospital rooms for kids who haven’t smiled in days”

Best Education Story
First Place: Deepa Bharath, Orange County Register, “Orange County school districts are resisting a California sex ed law passed more than two years ago”
Comments: The reporter did an excellent job communicating the impact of school districts ignoring a state law. People care about people not concepts and this story certainly drilled down the people on both sides of the story. The reporter gathered excellent quotes that conveyed the true pain felt by those impassioned by the issue.
Second Place: Daniel Langhorne, Daily Pilot, Nordic Star
Third Place: Emily Rasmussen, Orange County Register, “Fraternity Cuts Ties With CSULB Amid Sexual Misconduct Investigations”

Best Music/Entertainment Review
First Place: Paul Hodgins, Voice of OC, “South Coast Rep’s Season Opener Plays With a Classic and Gets Mixed Results”
Comments: Even though I have not seen this play, nor am I a fan of Jane Austin, Hodgins’ critique helped me understand the play and reasoning behind the critique he offers. Hodgins is obviously well versed in the subject and delivers an educated, fair review without being heavy handed or insensitive.
Second Place: Timothy Mangan, Voice of OC, “Living Composers Reign During Choral Arts Initiative Concert”
Third Place: Peter Lefevre, Voice of OC, “The Chorale Brings ‘The Creation’ to Segerstrom . . . Finally!”

Best Arts/Culture Review
First Place: Dave Barton, OC Weekly, “OCC’s ‘Jim DeFrance: A Retrospective’ Is a Graceful Ode to Life’s Release”
Comments: Descriptive and eloquent, Dave reels the reader in and is a captivating writer. Outstanding job!
Second Place: Richard Chang, LA Weekly, “The Broad’s Jasper Johns Exhibit Is a Must-See Survey”
Third Place: Dave Barton, OC Weekly, “Female Victimization and Childhood Trauma Inform a Muddled Show at Grand Central Art Center”

Best Food/Restaurant Review
First Place: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register, “Journeyman’s Food & Drink”
Comments: Brad does a wonderful job of giving the reader a sense of place and you can tell he really does his homework on the background of the restaurants. This review engaged me from the first graph to the very end. He’s entertaining and someone I would follow consistently because of the smooth writing skills.
Second Place: Edwin Goei, OC Weekly, “Mr. Taco Nice in Anaheim Does Tacos and Pizzas and Taco Pizzas”
Third Place: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register, “Oliver’s Osteria”

Best Travel Story
First Place: Anne Marie Panoringan, OC Weekly, “A Trip Through the Santa Ynez Backroads”
Comments: Finding treasure: Isn’t that what we all want from our travel writers? Panoringan’s guide through the Santa Ynez backroads is a map to buried treasure that just happens to be in the reader’s own backyard. Panoringan writes colorfully and clearly, slipping a full itinerary so smoothly into the story that it doesn’t bog down the prose or get in the way of her insider tips. Truly a travel story worth daydreaming about.
Second Place: Jessica Kwong, Orange County Register, “Is It Too Soon for Tourists to Return to Puerto Rico?”
Third Place: Patrice Marsters, OC Weekly
“Size Matters: Feel As Tall As a Giant, As Small As an Ant in Tucson”

Best Religion Story
First Place: Gabriel San Román, OC Weekly, “Karen Estremo’s the Dragon and the Rose Is the Hub for OC Pagans”
Comments: This was an engaging story. The author avoided the all too easy trap of stereotyping non-mainstream religion and its practitioners and gave us a compelling and meaningful look at these individuals’ lives. It was a well-constructed story and well edited. Very good job!
Second Place: Deepa Bharath, Orange County Register, “Her brothers were molested by a priest as kids. Now, she’s trying to reconcile with the Catholic Church”
Third Place: Susan Christian Goulding, Orange County Register, “For Christ Cathedral, Heat-Deflecting Quatrefoils Prove to be a Blessing”

David McQuay Award for Best Columnist
First Place: Norberto Santana Jr., Voice of OC
Comments: More than his ability to deliver well-written and well-thought out prose, the reporting Santana does is deep, targeted and human. The issues he tackles are not easy and he lets no one off the hook. It’s what columnists are supposed to do. And great columnists do over and over and over.
Second Place: Jonathan Lansner, The Orange County Register

Best News Story
First Place: Scott Schwebke with Beau Yarbrough, Orange County Register, “Victorville Prison Where Immigrant Detainees Held Built Atop Toxic Superfund Site“
Comments: Deeply reported story concerning public health, social justice and government transparency. Includes public document research as well as first-person anecdotal accounts of those affected now living in other parts of the country. An important story speaking for the disenfranchised.
Second Place: Priscella Vega and Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, “Arrests of white power leaders are a reminder of Huntington Beach’s painful past”
Third Place: Spencer Custodio, Voice of OC, “OC Sheriff’s Deputies Begin Evicting Hundreds of Homeless People from Santa Ana River Bank”

Best Investigative Story
First Place: Nick Gerda, Voice of OC, “Millions in ‘Dark Money’ Flowing to OC Congressional Races”
Comments: The reporter reviewed federal data to build this story — a story that would not have been told if not for his efforts. He then tracked the money to see how it could affect “high-stakes” elections. He also made national comparisons. Campaign finance stories are difficult. In this case, the reporter went to great lengths to collect data and put it into perspective for the reader. He made a story about a complicated money trail intriguing. The graphic was super helpful, too. The reporter, in expert fashion, put into perspective the national impact on a local election. Very well done and deserving of recognition.
Second Place: Gustavo Arellano, LA Taco, “Priest Accused of Abusing Boys in OC in the 80s Turns Up in Peru”

Best Beat Reporting
First Place: Cindy Carcamo, LA Times
Comments: Of all of the coverage of what’s going on at our southern border, your reporting more than anyone else’s made me feel like I was there. You write with such detail, with such keen observations. You humanized this issue and helped me connect with it in a new way. My heart ached when I read about the mother who stopped breastfeeding her infant in case they were separated. You being present and in the moment with people, and then reporting back what you saw and heard, was such valuable work.
Second Place: Deepa Bharath, Orange County Register
Third Place: Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot
Honorable Mention: Theresa Walker, Orange County Register

Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story

First Place: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register, “Worst thing I ate: A crime against barbecue in Irvine”
Comments: The clear winner in a very competitive category. So many great lines, but possibly the best was your afterthought that a pickle was a highlight of the meal.
Second Place: Kedric Francis, OC Family, “Fears of Being a Bad Dad”
Third Place: Anne Marie Panoringan, OC Weekly, “Del Frisco’s Grille’s Updated Brunch Is a John Hughes Movie”

NONTRADITIONAL (ADVOCACY JOURNALISM OR SPECIALTY PUBLICATION)

Best Music/Entertainment Story or Review
First Place: Daniella Litvak, The Orange Curtain Revue, “Shrew! At South Coast Repertory”
Comments: Daniella’s review was the only entry in this category that seriously critiqued how a production succeeded and could have improved. It was a fair opinion, giving plenty of context for a twist on one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays.
Second Place: Jessica Peralta, Halloween Every Night, “The 17th Door Is More Traumatic Than Ever – In a Good Way”

Best News Feature Story
First Place: Bradley Zint, Behind the Badge, “DUI death in La Habra underscores importance of safe driving”
Comments: This powerful, poignant story really stood out amongst the pack because it married both the importance of the police work described and the personal story of a victim of DUI. The article was very well done from start to finish, with many emotional moments and depth. Some details, like the family members coming across the crash scene, gave me chills – a testament to how well written and paced the article was.
Second Place: Elysse James, Behind the Badge, “Anaheim Police use unconventional methods to clean up problem houses”
Third Place: Greg Hardesty, Behind the Badge, “Mental Health Day is a daily reality for members of Anaheim PD’s PERT”

Best Arts/Culture Story or Review
First Place: James Reed, Blue Door Magazine, “Singer Superlative”
Comments: Beautiful, crisp, descriptive writing really takes the reader to this property using all five senses. A captivating read up until the end.
Second Place: Erin Huffstutter, I Heart Costa Mesa, “Gabrielle’s Gift of Play”
Third Place: Shawn Price, Halloween Every Night, “‘Frankenstein’ Turns 200”

Best Feature Story
First Place: Erin Huffstutter, I Heart Costa Mesa, “Metal Fab & Etch A Sketch”
Comments: A really interesting, well-written story about an influential, creative family. Tackles some complex issues of neighborhood changes while profiling talented people. Only suggestion is to cut to the meat of the story a little more quickly with a lede focused more on the subjects of the article.
Second Place: Greg Hardesty, Behind the Badge, “An OCSD patrol deputy’s day can go from routine to horror in a flash, as he can attest”
Third Place: Bradley Zint, I Heart Costa Mesa, “Jumping Sheep”

Best News Story
First Place: Greg Hardesty, Behind the Badge, “APD targets illegal pot dispensaries, but they keep popping up like mushrooms”
Comments: This story stood out for the unique glimpse it offered readers inside a law enforcement investigation, complete with challenges, photographs and interviews with both police officers and people affected by the enforcement action. Really fascinating article.
Second Place: Greg Hardesty, Behind the Badge, “Armed neighbors detain attempted murder suspect in backyard until OCSD arrives”
Third Place: Jessica Peralta, Behind the Badge, “Westminster PD Narcan instructor first to administer life-saving nasal spray in the field”

Best Food/Restaurant Story or Review

First Place: Erin Huffstutter, I Heart Costa Mesa, “The Next Chapter for Church’s”
Comments: Erin was able to convey a story about an establishment that is uniquely Costa Mesa, but relatable and identifiable to readers everywhere. Dick Church’s epitomizes the mixing of the “two Costa Mesas,” the blending of the old and the new. A great read.
Second Place: Elysse James, Behind the Badge, “Chow Time: ‘Slammin’ Salmon’ tacos at Anaheim Fire & Rescue Station 7”
Third Place: Bradley Zint, I Heart Costa Mesa, “Go for the Green”

MULTIMEDIA

Best Blog
First Place: Jackie Moe, Backstage SoCal
Comments: An interesting and useful blog on this musical topic

Best News Broadcast or Video
First Place: Rick Reiff and Scott Hays, “Sheriff’s Battles,” Inside OC With Rick Reiff

Best Feature Broadcast or Video
First Place: Rebecca D’Auria, “Close Calls,” Behind the Badge
Second Place: Rick Reiff and Scott Hays, “Who Are the Homeless?,” Inside OC With Rick Reiff
Third Place: Shawn Price, “Eat, Drink And Celebrate Tim Burton Movies At Beetle House L.A.,” Halloween Every Night

Best Use of Multimedia

First Place: Jessica Peralta, “OCSD hosts annual helicopter training exercise for K9s,” Behind the Badge
Comments: Great use of video and high-resolution pictures. I also appreciate law enforcement becoming their own storytellers and a positive voice in the community. Plus the highlighted box on the site with their Twitter feed was terrific. Way to stay relevant with clever tweets on current topics and TV shows while not forgetting your mission.
Second Place: Norberto Santana Jr. and Susan Valot, “On OC: OC Kids on Immigration,” Voice of OC
Third Place: Erin Huffstutter, I Heart Costa Mesa

2018 OC Press Club Award Finalists

Award winners for the 2018 annual contest for work produced during 2017.

TRADITIONAL (PRINT)

Best News Story

FIRST PLACE: Roxana Kopetman, Orange County Register

“Same visa Trump uses at his hotel helps bring workers to Southern California fairs”

​SECOND PLACE: Hannah Fry, Daily Pilot

“‘It’s been a night from hell’: Homeless pushed out of Santa Ana River face uncertain futures”

THIRD PLACE: Nick Gerda, Voice of OC

“Airport controversy heats up as supervisors award contract to low-ranked firm”

Best News Feature Story

FIRST PLACE: Cindy Carcamo, LA Times

“At Napa vineyards untouched by wildfires, the grapes must still be picked”

SECOND PLACE: Margot Roosevelt, Orange County Register

“Is Social Security cheating the disabled? The wait time to get a hearing is nearly 2 years”

THIRD PLACE: Denisse Salazar, Orange County Register

“Here’s one Santa Ana family’s story of generational gang violence. Can the city’s latest efforts break the cycle?”

Best Breaking News Story

FIRST PLACE: Hannah Fry, Daily Pilot

“Man shot and killed by H.B. officer was homeless Navy veteran, mother says; new video surfaces”

SECOND PLACE: Alma Fausto, Tony Saavedra, Sean Emery, Orange County Register

“Serial killings: 5th victim identified in cases of men accused of murdering 4 women”

THIRD PLACE: Luke Money, Daily Pilot

“Costa Mesa council unseats Katrina Foley as mayor and names Sandy Genis to replace her”

Best Investigative Story

FIRST PLACE: Jordan Graham and Tony Saavedra

“Southern California jailers are injuring inmates with abusive ‘chicken winging’ holds”

SECOND PLACE: R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly

“Orange County’s informant scandal yields evidence of forensic science deception in murder trials”

THIRD PLACE: Nick Gerda, Voice of OC

“Hundreds of dollars in ‘gifts’ from contractors to Supervisor Nelson raise legal questions”

Best Series

FIRST PLACE: Teri Sforza, Orange County Register 

Twins Divided

SECOND PLACE: Denisse Salazar, Orange County Register

Gang Victims: A Program Aimed at Helping and Healing

THIRD PLACE: Barbara Venezia, Daily Pilot

Newport Beach and Costa Mesa should do background checks on commission applicants

Best Beat Reporting 

FIRST PLACE: Nick Gerda, Voice of OC

SECOND PLACE: Deepa Bharath, Orange County Register

THIRD PLACE: Meghann Cuniff, Daily Journal

Best Cannabis Coverage

Brooke Edwards Staggs, Orange County Register

Watchdog Award

Orange County Register Staff

Best Public Affairs Story

FIRST PLACE: Mary Carreon, OC Weekly

“Orange County’s first needle exchange tries to bring hope to a wretched situation” 

SECOND PLACE: Jordan Graham, Orange County Register

“Orange County homeless deaths hit all-time high”

THIRD PLACE: Jeff Collins, Orange County Register

“Eviction decline is no solace for thousands of renters losing their homes”

Best Environmental  News Story 

FIRST PLACE: Amy DePaul

“To desalinate or not to desalinate: UCI debate over controversial Huntington Beach plant”

SECOND PLACE: Mary Carreon, OC Weekly

“Activists protest plans to bury nuclear waste at San Onofre State Beach”

Best Feature Story

FIRST PLACE: Chris Haire, Orange County Register

“Is time running out on Holy Jim Canyon? Nature, feds are threatening” 

SECOND PLACE: Mary Carreon, OC Weekly

“Tree of life nursery is saving our ecosystem one seed at a time”

THIRD PLACE: Donia Moore, San Clemente Journal

“San Clemente Island got your goat?”

Best Education Story

FIRST PLACE: Roxana Kopetman, Orange County Register

“Pink slips lead to special court hearing for hundreds of local teachers facing possible layoffs”

SECOND PLACE: Roxana Kopetman, Orange County Register

“Anaheim Union denying hundreds of school transfer requests, sparking tears and appeals”

THIRD PLACE: Roxana Kopetman, Orange County Register

“What is a cultural graduation ceremony? Universities host celebrations for blacks, Latinos, gays, veterans and others”

Best Religion Story

FIRST PLACE: Gabriel San Roman, OC Weekly 

“A gay pastor leaves his Santa Ana flock, exposing the United Methodist Church’s LGBT rift”

SECOND PLACE: Deepa Bharath, Orange County Register

“A Bible and a gun? How churches, temples, mosques are rethinking security”

THIRD PLACE: Cindy Carcamo, LA Times 

“Like an invisibility cloak, Latina Muslims find the hijab hides their ethnicity–from Latinos” 

Best Round-Up or Best Of

FIRST PLACE: Edwin Goei, OC Weekly

“Korean fried chicken is becoming a thing in Orange County. Her are three new spots”

SECOND PLACE: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register

“These are Orange County’s 20 Best Mexican Restaurants”

Best Business Story

FIRST PLACE: Margot Roosevelt, Orange County Register

“Is it fair that the amount of bonding time you get with your baby hinges on the size of your employer?”

SECOND PLACE: Jeff Collins, Orange County Register

“Investor demand for SoCal apartments contributes to rising rents”

THIRD PLACE: Gabriel San Roman, OC Weekly

“Will Buena Park’s new retail center source put it on the map–or be its biggest boondoggle?”

Best Sports Story 

FIRST PLACE: Ryan Kartje, OC Register

“Inside the unregulated world of recruiting consulting services”

SECOND PLACE: Mirin Fader, OC Register

“California doesn’t regulate athletic trainers. Here’s why that’s bad for high school athletes”

THIRD PLACE: Chris Haire, OC Register

​”On Saturday, a rematch will play out in Little Saigon”

Best Arts/Culture Story

FIRST PLACE: Gabriel San Ramon

“El Centro Cultural de Mexico finally gets a home but will next generation of activists come”

SECOND PLACE: Cynthia Rebolledo

“Frederico Medina captures life and culture in the golden city”

Best Arts/Culture Review

FIRST PLACE: Dave Barton 

“William wrays seemingly straightforward building portraits”

SECOND PLACE: Christopher Trela

“Artscapes: Backhausdance premiers quartet of new works at The Barclay”

THIRD PLACE: Dave Barton

“Laguna art museum beginnings of the California School of Fine Arts”

Best Music/Entertainment Story

FIRST PLACE: Gabriel San Roman, OC Weekly

“After her mother’s death, turntables brought DJ Lala out of depression and into the spotlight”

SECOND PLACE: Nate Jackson, OC Weekly

“Meet Lorn Conner: The Happy Coachella Guy”

THIRD PLACE (TIE): Kathleen Luppi, Times OC

“Pat Boone”

THIRD PLACE (TIE): Patrice Marsters, OC Weekly

“Izabella Alvarez is only 13, but has already appeared on Westworld, Shameless–with more to come”

Best Music/Entertainment Review

FIRST PLACE: Liz Goldner

“The Monster Builder: Amy Freed’s Take on Architecture as a Metaphor for Life”

Best Food/Restaurant Story

FIRST PLACE: Caitlin Yoskiko Kandil, Times OC 

“Little Saigon”

Best Food/Restaurant Review

FIRST PLACE: Edwin Goei, OC Weekly

“Tin Vuong’s LSXO”

SECOND PLACE: Edwin Goei, OC Weekly

“New Northgate Gonzales Market”

THIRD PLACE: Brad Johnson, OC Register

“Pacific Hideaway”

Best Travel Story

FIRST PLACE: Edwin Goei, OC Weekly

“Montreal has poutine, yes, but go with the Jewish food first”

SECOND PLACE: Anne Valdespino, OC Register

“Touring Castle Country in Scotland”

THIRD PLACE: Kedric Francis

“Road trips for a realist”

Best Profile

FIRST PLACE: Ryan Kartje

“The Ballfather: Lavar Ball and his three sons intend to change basketball forever”

SECOND PLACE: Keith Sharon, OC Register

“Would you kill if ordered? Orange County resident and WWII Navy survivor of Port Chicago disaster faced that question”

THIRD PLACE: Margot Roosevelt, OC Register

“July 4th fireworks: Meet the Orange County maestro who lights the nation’s skies”

David McQuay Award for Best Columnist 

FIRST PLACE: Norberto Santana Jr, Voice of OC

SECOND PLACE: Kedric Francis, Orange County Register

THIRD PLACE: Joe Vargas, Behind the Badge

Best Political Columnist

Norberto Santana Jr., Voice of OC

Best Sports Columnist 

David Jerome

Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story

FIRST PLACE: Kedric Francis, Orange County Register

“Women of Influence”

​SECOND PLACE: Anne Valdespino, Orange County Register

“These are the worst restaurant and food trends of 2017”

THIRD PLACE: Luke Money, Daily Pilot

“Christmas is the most pun-derful time of the year for this Costa Mesa family”

HONORABLE MENTION: David Jerome, Orange County Register

“Scattered Thoughts for Your April Fool’s Day”

NONTRADITIONAL (ADVOCACY JOURNALISM OR SPECIALTY PUBLICATION)

Best News Feature Story 

FIRST PLACE: Greg Hardesty, Behind the Badge

“OCSD deputies recount terror in Las Vegas: ‘I had never felt that close to death before'”

SECOND PLACE: Jessica Peralta, Behind the Badge

“OCSD’S TSA K9s are federally trained dogs at the ready to sniff out explosives”

THIRD PLACE: Greg Hardesty, Behind the Badge

“Nearly killed by DUI suspect, Orange police officer is humbled by outpouring of support”

Best Feature Story

FIRST PLACE: Liz Goldner, KCET

“Sarah Rafael Garcia Captures Santa Ana’s History and Gentrification Through Fairy Tales”

SECOND PLACE: Shawn Price, Behind the Badge

“Anaheim Fire & Rescue strike teams: ready for the long haul”

THIRD PLACE: Jessica Peralta, Behind the Badge

​”OCSD’s human remains detection dog, Cinder, is hard at work in training” 

Best Music/Entertainment Story or Review

FIRST PLACE: Jessica Peralta

“Lavender”

Best Arts/Culture Story or Review

FIRST PLACE: Liz Goldner

“Deconstructing Liberty”

Best Food/Restaurant Story or Review

FIRST PLACE: Shawn Price, Behind the Badge

“Chow Time with Anaheim Fire & Rescue: Coq au vin”

MULTIMEDIA

Best Blog

FIRST PLACE: Bill Rams, Behind the Badge 

Best News Broadcast or Video

FIRST PLACE: Anthony Porrazzo, Spotlight Video

“Mock DUI event at Santa Margarita Catholic High School”

SECOND PLACE: Rick Reiff, Inside OC with Rick Reiff

“Campus Conflict”

Best Feature Broadcast or Video

FIRST PLACE: Antony Porrazzo, Spotlight Video

“Father Damien-JSerra High School Chaplain”

SECOND PLACE: Rick Reiff, Inside OC with Rick Reiff

“He Writes the Songs”

THIRD PLACE: Shawn Price, Halloween Every Night

“Night of the Living Dead”

Best Sports Broadcast or Video

FIRST PLACE: Rick Reiff,  Inside OC with Rick Reiff

“After the Fall” with Todd Marinovich

Best TV News Program

FIRST PLACE: Rick Reiff, Inside OC with Rick Reiff

Best Use of Multimedia

FIRST PLACE: Gabriel San Roman, OC Weekly

“OC Speakly podcast”

DESIGN/GRAPHICS

Best Cover

FIRST PLACE: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly 

“Sept. 8, 2017”

SECOND PLACE: John Cheresh

​”The Story of OCSA”

THIRD PLACE: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly

“Best of 2017”

HONORABLE MENTION: Denise Smaldino Rainey, OC Family

Best Page Design

FIRST PLACE: Denise Smaldino Rainey, OC Family

“Fairy Tale Manor”

SECOND PLACE: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly

“Away & Home Summer Guide 2017”

THIRD PLACE: Denise Smaldino Rainey, OC Family

“Make a Splash This Summer!”

Best Graphic

FIRST PLACE: Jeff Goertzen, Shark Tech

Best Illustration 

Leslie Agan

Best Political Cartoon

Leslie Agan

“Snitch Trap”

PHOTOGRAPHY

Best News Photo

FIRST PLACE: Richard Koehler

SECOND PLACE: Jeff Antenore

THIRD PLACE: Brian Feinzimer

Best Feature Photo

FIRST PLACE: Steven Georges

SECOND PLACE: Steven Georges

THIRD PLACE: Christopher Trela 

Best Photo Essay (print)

Dustin Ames, OC Weekly

“With 18 Bajillion Things to Do, See and Eat, No Single Trip to Tokyo Will Leave You Satisfied” 

Best Slideshow (online)

FIRST PLACE (TIE): Brian Feinzimer 

“Anaheim Hills Blaze”

FIRST PLACE (TIE): Steven Georges

“Homeless series”

SPECIAL

The Real O.C. Award

FIRST PLACE: Deepa Bharath, OC Register

“Most Influential 2017: Rida Hamida and Benajmin Vazquez bring halal tacos, cultural mingling, to mosques throughout Southern California”

SECOND PLACE: Brooke Edwards Staggs, OC Register

“Seniors board ‘cannabus’ for trip to medical marijuana dispensary”

THIRD PLACE: Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, Times OC 

“Latino Muslims find home at mosque led by Cambodian refugees” 

2017 OC Press Club Award Finalists

Award winners for the 2017 annual contest for work produced during 2016.

BLOGS

Best Entertainment/Culture Blog
FIRST PLACE: Nate Jackson (editor), Heard Mentality, OC Weekly

Best Lifestyle/Family Blog
FIRST PLACE: Brad A. Johnson, Brad A. Johnson: Food & Travel

BROADCAST

Best Broadcast
THIRD PLACE: Matt Kollar, OC Weekly
“The Donald Trump Rally: Orange Man Comes to Orange County”
SECOND PLACE: Matt Brown, Chapman University
“One Strong Teammate: Carter Ankeny”
FIRST PLACE: Anthony Porrazzo, Spotlight Video
“Orange Catholic Foundation’s Conference on Business and Ethics”

PHOTO

Best News Photo 
HONORABLE MENTION: Eric Hood, OC Weekly
Ku Klux Klan Rally and Counter-Protest @ Pearson Park in Anaheim
THIRD PLACE: Michael Goulding, Orange County Register
SECOND PLACE: Richard Koehler, Orange County Register
FIRST PLACE: Steven Georges, Behind the Badge

Best Sports Photo
THIRD PLACE: Matt Masin, Orange County Register
SECOND PLACE: Matt Masin, Orange County Register
FIRST PLACE: Michael Goulding, Orange County Register

Best Feature Photo
HONORABLE MENTION: Steven Georges, Behind the Badge
THIRD PLACE: Steven Georges, Behind the Badge
SECOND PLACE: Christopher Trela, Newport Beach Independent
FIRST PLACE: Matt Masin, Orange County Register

Best Portrait
THIRD PLACE: Matt Masin, Orange County Register
SECOND PLACE: Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register
FIRST PLACE: Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register

Best Photo Essay/Slideshow
SECOND PLACE: Eric Hood, OC Weekly
FIRST PLACE: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly

ADVOCACY JOURNALISM OR SPECIALTY PUBLICATION

Best News Story 
SECOND PLACE: Bill Rams, Jaimee Lynn Fletcher, Behind the Badge
BTB Special Report: 164 on-duty cops shot so far this year
FIRST PLACE: Jaimee Lynn Fletcher, Behind the Badge
VIDEO: Training, instinct save OCSD deputies from suicidal man who fired dozens of rounds from illegal automatic rifle

Best News Feature Story
SECOND PLACE: James Reed, Related California
Less traffic No sprawl Art and culture for all
FIRST PLACE: Greg Hardesty, Behind the Badge
Shot six times, this officer made sure not to let bad guy end the career he loves dearly

Best Feature Story 
THIRD PLACE: Richard Chang, THE Journal
Robotic Telepresence Device Allows Student to Attend School Virtually While Receiving Treatment
SECOND PLACE: Liz Goldner, KCET Artbound
“Healing Through Art: PTSD Survival Stories”
FIRST PLACE: Amy DePaul, Narratively
The Thrill-Seeking Bodysurfers of California’s Most Terrifying Wave

Best Music/Entertainment Story or Review 
FIRST PLACE: Jessica Peralta, Halloween Every Night
‘The Witch’ Is a New Kind of Horror Classic

Best Arts/Culture Story or Review 
FIRST PLACE: Liz Goldner, KCET Artbound
“Laguna Beach in the Sixties: A Colony for the Arts”

DESIGN/GRAPHICS

Best Cover 
THIRD PLACE: Denise Smaldino, OC Family
“What are you thankful for?”
SECOND PLACE: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly
“The Rainbow Man”
FIRST PLACE: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly
“Native Tongue”

Best Page Design
FIRST PLACE: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly
“Uncle Creepy”

Best Political Cartoon 
SECOND PLACE: Luke McGarry, OC Weekly
“Pokemon Go Meets Black Lives Matter (subtitled Middle-Class Priorities)”
FIRST PLACE: Leslie Agan, OC Weekly
“Santa Ana River Pastoral”

PRINT
Best News Story 
THIRD PLACE: Martin Wiskol, Orange County Register
“Democratic surge shrinks GOP lead”
SECOND PLACE: Anh Do, Los Angeles Times
Unlikely bond forms between O.C. jail escapee and his hostage
FIRST PLACE: R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly
Did OCDA Ignore Doctored CHP Reports to Convict Motorist of Murder?

Best News Feature Story
HONORABLE MENTION: Deepa Bharath, Orange County Register
‘Open and affirming’: Irvine church is a haven for LGBT
THIRD PLACE: Nuran Alteir, Los Angeles Times
At local community colleges, transgender students’ names are now whatever they prefer
SECOND PLACE: Erika Ritchie, Orange County Register
Veteran who died at Doheny gets “dignified end” after friends, strangers put together details of his life
FIRST PLACE: Deepa Bharath, Orange County Register
Silence about gun violence is no longer an option for New Hope pastor in Orange

Best Investigative Story
HONORABLE MENTION: R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly
Who Masterminded The Wood Chipper Plot Against A Judge, Prosecutors and FBI agents?
THIRD PLACE: Tracy Wood, Voice of OC
‘Behested Payments’ Add Another Layer of Money in Politics
SECOND PLACE: Tomoya Shimura, Orange County Register
“PAC money overtaking city elections, with $2.4 million spent in Irvine, Anaheim alone”
FIRST PLACE: Tony Saavedra, Orange County Register
Police might not know where their guns are, and the law says that’s OK

Watchdog Award
FIRST PLACE: R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly

Best Public Affairs Story 
HONORABLE MENTION: Anh Do, Los Angeles Times
“For Asians in the U.S. illegally, ‘there’s more shame and more quiet’”
THIRD PLACE: Jordan Graham and Theresa Walker, Orange County Register
“As Santa Ana Civic Center homeless population grows, so do crime, fear and disease”
SECOND PLACE: Nick Gerda, Voice of OC
“OC’s Rise in Suicides Largest Among Major U.S. Counties”
FIRST PLACE: Mary Carreon, OC Weekly
“How Irvine Became SoCal’s First Non-Toxic City”

Best Feature Story 
HONORABLE MENTION: Hannah Fry, Daily Pilot
“Balboa Island sculpture is planned to memorialize couple as a symbol of the community”
THIRD PLACE: Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil, LA Times
“Jails serve inmates and immigrants”
SECOND PLACE: Margot Roosevelt, Orange County Register
“Nonprofit law firm goes to battle for hundreds of O.C. Veterans”
FIRST PLACE: Keith Sharon, Orange County Register
“On 9/11, he was in the Pentagon and his childhood friend’s plane crashed into it”

Best Round-Up or Best Of
THIRD PLACE: Christopher Trela and Catherine Del Casale, Newport Beach Independent
Off the Menu: Memorable Dining Experiences of 2016
SECOND PLACE: Gustavo Arellano, editor, OC Weekly
Fans Remember Their Encounters in Orange County With Kobe Bryant, OC’s Most Regular Famous Guy
FIRST PLACE: Nancy Luna, Orange County Register
OC Fair: Here are the must-try foods for 2016

Best Business Story 
HONORABLE MENTION: Jeff Collins, Orange County Register
How to fix the housing crisis: Embrace high-density development or face rising prices and rent, experts say
THIRD PLACE: Margot Roosevelt, Orange County Register
How hard is exporting? Here’s how one small Irvine business went global
SECOND PLACE: Jeff Collins, Orange County Register
No voucher, no vacancy, no help: The cruel realities of Section 8 housing in Orange County
FIRST PLACE: Matt Coker, OC Weekly
Why OC Must Lose the ‘War’ On Sober-Living Homes

Best Sports Story
HONORABLE MENTION: Mirin Fader, Orange County Register
#DiegoStrong: La Habra football player is in the fight of his life – and he won’t give up
THIRD PLACE: Ryan Kartje, Orange County Register
Retiring Vin Scully, the voice of generations, says farewell to Dodger Stadium on Sunday
SECOND PLACE: Mirin Fader, Orange County Register
Queens of the court: They may be petite, but their love of basketball is huge
FIRST PLACE: Joey Kaufman, Orange County Register
Most Influential 2016: Sam Darnold helped save USC’s season

Best Arts/Culture Story 
HONORABLE MENTION: David Jerome, Orange County Register
Mr. Bucketlist: Rubbing elbows with celebrities I actually remember
THIRD PLACE: Todd Harmonson, Orange County Register
Spend a fortune on ‘Hamilton’? Worth it!
SECOND PLACE: Richard Chang, Laguna Beach Magazine
Lasting Landmarks: Laguna architect Mark Singer, who died in September, lives on in his work around town
FIRST PLACE: Nick Schou, OC Weekly
Curtis Rainbow Helped to Organize the Biggest Hippie Happening in OC History. Now, He’s Homeless

Best Arts/Culture Review
THIRD PLACE: Dave Barton, OC Weekly
‘Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty’ at OCMA Nails the Artist’s Pathology of Beauty
SECOND PLACE: Liz Goldner, ArtScene
“Helen Lundeberg”
FIRST PLACE: Liz Goldner, Art Ltd.
Report: Orange County

Best Music/Entertainment Story or Review
HONORABLE MENTION: Daniel Kohn, OC Weekly
Irvine Meadows Says Its Final Goodbyes Before Getting Demolished for Apartments
THIRD PLACE: Josh Chesler, OC Weekly
The Story of Sublime’s Iconic Sun Logo and How It’s Rising Into the Mainstream
SECOND PLACE: Nate Jackson, OC Weekly
Gabby Gaborno Tells His Fans Goodbye With a Birthday Show of a Lifetime
FIRST PLACE: Gabriel San Roman, OC Weekly
The Life and Times of Malvina Reynolds, Long Beach’s Most Legendary (and Hated) Folk Singer

Best Food/Restaurant Story
HONORABLE MENTION: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register
Brad A. Johnson’s guide to Chinese food in Orange County
THIRD PLACE: Bradley Zint, Daily Pilot
Bon Voyage, Nino – 88-year-old who started Laguna’s Ristorante Rumari at 60 is ready to retire
SECOND PLACE: Christopher Toland, OC Weekly
A History of Loquats in Orange County, and How So Many Ended Up in Santa Ana
FIRST PLACE: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register
Best of the best: Brad A. Johnson’s annual chef and restaurant awards

Best Food/Restaurant Review
THIRD PLACE: Edwin Goei, OC Weekly
Taverna in Laguna Beach Has Mastered the Art of Risotto
SECOND PLACE: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register
Review: Hana re
FIRST PLACE: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register
Review: The Ritz

Best Travel Story 
THIRD PLACE: Joseph Pimentel, Orange County Register
Hong Kong Disneyland vs. Anaheim: How does theme park differ abroad?
SECOND PLACE: Jessica Kwong, Orange County Register
Cuba: How to get there ahead of the American tourist invasion
FIRST PLACE: Susan Christian Goulding, Orange County Register
Here’s how we found bliss on a trip to Belize

Best Profile
THIRD PLACE: Meghann Cuniff, The Daily Journal
“JAMS co-founder and former justice Jack Trotter retires”
SECOND PLACE: Keith Sharon, Orange County Register
“This ‘Unsung Hero’ was a convicted murderer until Gov. Brown set him free immediately”
FIRST PLACE: Nancy Luna, Orange County Register
“How Amar Santana went from an impoverished childhood to ‘Top Chef’ contender”

David McQuay Award for Best Columnist
THIRD PLACE: David Jerome, Orange County Register
Mr. Bucketlist
SECOND PLACE: Barbara Venezia, Daily Pilot
FIRST PLACE: Norberto Santana Jr., Voice of OC
Behind the Orange Curtain

Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story 
HONORABLE MENTION: Roderick Reed, Laguna Beach Independent
To be truly tired one must experience a vacation
THIRD PLACE: Mark D. Crantz, Laguna Beach Independent
“Party Hardy”
SECOND PLACE: Kedric Francis, OC Family
Silly move puts Dad in a sticky situation
FIRST PLACE: Pamela Knudsen, Los Angeles Times
I had to ditch all the dating apps so I could find love

SPECIAL

The Real O.C. Award
THIRD PLACE: Nuran Alteir, KPCC
This Ramadan, breaking the fast while getting to know a new country
SECOND PLACE: Hannah Fry, Daily Pilot
O.C.’s iconic piers, with their colorful pasts, help define their cities
FIRST PLACE: Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly
Ah, Pachucos! Orange County’s Great Zoot Suit Panic of 1943

SKY DUNLAP AWARD

For lifetime achievement and community service

Thomas Johnson

2016 OC Press Club Award Finalists

Award winners for the 2016 annual contest for work produced during 2015.

DIGITAL/BLOGS

Best News Story
First place: Nick Gerda, Voice of OC
“Supervisors Backed Off Criticism of Jail Phones After Contributions From Vendor”
Second place: Greg Hardesty, Behind the Badge
“A young police explorer, a funeral, and the one thing he dreamed of having: a badge”
Third place: Nick Gerda, Voice of OC
“Dog Attack on Pregnant Woman Raises More Questions About County Animal Control”

Best News Feature Story
First place: Greg Hardesty, Behind the Badge
“Anatomy of a Cold Case: After 40 years, La Palma Police believe they have their killer”
Second place: Amy DePaul, Voice of OC
“Battered Lives: Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Abuse Hard for Immigrant Families”
Third place: David Washburn, Voice of the OC
“A Fighter Steps Out of the Ring”

Best News or Political Blog
First place: Norberto Santana Jr., Voice of OC

Best Public Affairs Story
First place: Adam Elmahrek, Voice of OC
“Fast Times at Rancho Santiago: College District Officials Travel in Luxury on Taxpayer’s Dime”

Second place: Thy Vo, Voice of OC
“Dick Jones’ Sweet Deal in Westminster”

Third place: Amy DePaul, Voice of OC
“Battered Lives: Santa Ana’s Ongoing Struggle With Domestic Violence”

Best Feature Story
First place: Greg Hardesty, Behind the Badge
“From the back of a Fullerton PD car, a suspect utters surprising words to arresting officer”
Second place: Jaimee Lynn Fletcher, Behind the Badge
“Crips gang member shot in face reunites with Tustin PD officers who arrested him”

Third place: Thy Vo, Voice of OC
“Struggles of Second Generation Reveal Long Shadow of War”

Best Food Blog
First place: Kristine Hoang, editor, “Stick a Fork in It,” OC Weekly

Best Entertainment or Culture Blog
First place: Nate Jackson, editor, “Heard Mentality,” OC Weekly
Second place: Matt Coker, OC Weekly

Best Music/Entertainment Story
First place: Nate Jackson, OC Weekly
“Why Should People High Five Each Other More Often at Coachella?”

Best Music/Entertainment Review
First place: Daniella Litvak, Orange Curtain Review
“VietLove or VietLust? : Vietgone @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa”

Best Arts/Culture Story
First place: Liz Goldner, KCET Artbound
“The Roots of Radical Art at University of California, Irvine”
Second place: Liz Goldner, KCET Artbound
“Sandow Birk: Re-contextualizing the California Experience”
Third place: Richard Chang, Los Angeles Times
“Young Chinese Artists Have a Lot to Say”

Best Lifestyle or Family Blog
First place: Greg Hardesty, Lori Basheda, Jaimee Lynn Fletcher, Behind the Badge

PHOTOGRAPHY

Best News Photo
First place: Steven Georges, Behind the Badge
“Photo of Buena Park Police Chief Corey Sianez”

Best Photo Essay (print)
First Place: Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register
“Shrines, prayers for Our Lady of Guadalupe”
Second Place: Michael Goulding, Orange County Register
Third Place: Leonard Ortiz, Coast

Best Sports Photo
First place: Michael Goulding, Orange County Register
Second place: Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register
Third place: Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register

Best Feature Photo
First place: Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register
“Christmas Babies”
Second place: Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register
“Military School Graduation”
Third place: Cindy Yamanaka, Orange County Register
“Virtual Reality”
Honorable mention: Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register
“The Wedge”

Best Portrait
First Place: Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register
“Photo from June 14”
Second Place: Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register
“Photo of Graduate”

Third Place: Ana Venegas, Orange County Register
“Photo of The Most Venerable Thich Quang Thanh”

Best Slideshow (online)
First Place: Julie Leopo, The Voice of OC
“Summer In The City: Innocence Lost and Found”
Second Place: Julie Leopo, The Voice of OC
“The Voice of Fourth Street”
Third Place: Steven Georges, Behind the Badge
“Garden Grove Police Help Homeless”
Honorable Mention: Brad Johnson, Orange County Register
“Where to Eat In Mexico”

BROADCAST

Best News Story
First place: Anthony Porrazzo, Orange County Catholic
“Fr. James Nieblas Receives Bishop’s Blessing Prior to Meeting Pope”

Best Sports Story
First place: Anthony Porrazzo, Orange County Catholic
“It Was Mater Dei Over Servite in Football Rivalry”

Best Feature Story
First place: Matt Kollar, OC Weekly
“What’s It Like Behind the Scenes at Medieval Times?”
Second place: LP Hastings, OC Weekly
“Real Shop Cats of OC”

DESIGN & GRAPHICS

Best Page Design (single story)
First place: John Cheresh, UCI @ 50
“A Half-Century of Superlatives”

Best Graphic or Illustration
First place: Bob Aul, OC Weekly
“Guilty”
Second place: Kurt Snibbe, UCI@50
“Aldrich Park”

Best Cover
First place: Denise Smaldino, Orange County Register
“Creativity”

Second place: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly
“Masquerade”

Third place: Denise Smaldino, Orange County Register
“Let’s Eat Out”
Honorable Mention: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly
“Stink City”

PRINT

Best News Story
First place: Erika Ritchie, Orange County Register
“Tangled in trouble: Record number of ensnared whales, may be due to warmer waters”
Second place: Scott Schwebke and Alma Fausto, Orange County Register
“‘They are going to whup me’: Carjacking, kidnapping suspect calls Register while barricaded inside Santa Ana mobile home”
Third place: Deepa Bharath, Orange County Register
“After UC Irvine grad chooses to die, ‘Death with dignity’ gains traction, but some fear dire consequences”

Best News Feature Story

First Place: R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly
“Accused Murderer Awaits Execution While OC Prosecutors Hide Exculpatory DNA”
Second Place: Anh Do, Los Angeles Times
“Vietnamese refugees began new lives in Camp Pendleton’s 1975 ‘tent city’”
Third Place:
 Margot Roosevelt, Orange County Register
“Death threats, protests and lawsuits: Little Saigon newspaper war is about ideology, not just circulation”
Honorable Mention: Susan Christian Goulding, Orange County Register
“‘It’s like something you’d see on TV’: 29 years after he held her just once, woman found her father on Facebook”

Best Profile
First Place: Jordan Graham, Orange County Register
“How an obsessive photo collector unwittingly accumulated three storage lockers full of ‘priceless’ O.C. history”
Second Place: Anne Valdespino, Orange County Register
“The Fab Five: Are these the best ‘Iron Chefs’ in Orange County?”

Third Place: Erika Ritchie, Orange County Register
“Everyday Heroes: Howdy’s Homeless Helpers and how you can get involved”

Best Feature Story, as published in a newspaper
First Place: Anh Do, Los Angeles Times
“Vietnamese refugees began new lives in Camp Pendleton’s 1975 ‘tent city’”
Second Place: Susan Christian Goulding, Orange County Register
“Being parents of suicide victim ‘a club you don’t want to be in’”
Third Place: Greg Mellen, Orange County Register
“Aaron’s heart: Man got a life-altering gift after Huntington Beach woman decides to donate her brother’s organs”

Best Feature Story, as published in a magazine
First Place: David Ferrell, Coast Magazine
“Notes on a Winery”
Second Place: David Ferrell, Coast Magazine
“Laguna artist Elizabeth McGhee finds beauty in the past”

Third Place: Richard Chang, Laguna Beach Magazine
“Capturing the Canyon: The Story of the Tell”

Best Business Story
First place: Margot Roosevelt, Orange County Register
“A push to end mandatory workplace arbitration: Will aggrieved workers get their day in court?”
Second place: Jeff Collins, Orange County Register
“In the continuing drought, can Orange County keep building?”

Third place: Nancy Luna, Orange County Register
“Stalling, disputes, evictions: What’s slowing Union Market grand openings at The District”

Honorable mention: Margot Roosevelt, Orange County Register
“Frank Jao’s story: From refugee to business mogul”

Best Sports Story
First Place: Josh Chesler, OC Weekly
“Eddie Bravo Became a Jiu Jitsu Legend with One Win. Can His Fighting Style Now Conquer MMA?”
Second Place: Mirin Fader, Orange County Register
“CSUF soccer star thrives after overcoming homelessness, personal challenges”

Third Place: Keith Sharon, Orange County Register
“How Mickey Mouse and China led to that life-sized Mike Trout bobblehead”

Best Round-up or “Best of” Feature
First place: Nancy Luna, Orange County Register
“Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market: A guide to the food hall and tips on must-try dishes”
Second place: Gustavo Arellano, Edwin Goei, Charles Lam, and Dave Lieberman, OC Weekly
“The Only Taco Guide to Orange County You’ll Ever Need”

David McQuay Award for Best Columnist
First Place: Mark D. Crantz, Laguna Beach Independent
Second Place: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register

Best Arts/Culture Story
First Place: Margot Roosevelt, Orange County Register
“Sold-out shows and thousands of DVDs sold: So why is Little Saigon’s popular ‘Paris by Night’ fighting to survive?”
Second Place (tie): Matt Coker, OC Weekly
“David Koenig has exposed the Disneyland secrets Mickey doesn’t want you to know about”
Second Place (tie): Richard Chang, Los Angeles Times
“Que pasa, Romeo?”
Third Place: Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly
“Enough’s Enough: It’s Time to Save Orange County’s Chicano Murals”

Best Arts/Culture Review
First Place: Dave Barton, OC Weekly
‘Alien She’ Brings Riot Grrrl Energy to OCMA
Second Place: Paul Hodgins, Orange County Register
“‘Of Good Stock’ captures sisterly love, rivalry”

Third Place: Liz Goldner, art ltd.
“Alien She”

Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story
First Place: Mark Crantz, Laguna Beach Independent
“Always on the Wrong Side”
Second Place: Kedric Francis, OC Family
“Gray is the way: Why old dads rule”

Third Place: Roderick Reed, Laguna Beach Independent
“Something Fishy on Valentines Day”

Best Food/Restaurant Story
First Place: Nancy Luna, Orange County Register
“Doritos born at Disneyland? Top iconic foods with O.C. roots”
Second Place: Paul Hodgins with Bo McMillan, Orange County Register
“Vodka, in flavors you can savor”
Third Place: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register
“25 Best Things to Eat in O.C.’s Little Saigon”

Best Food/Restaurant Review
First Place: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register
“Restaurant review: Twenty Eight”
Second Place: Brad A. Johnson, Orange County Register
“Restaurant review: Tra House”
Third Place: Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly
“Carnitas Uruapan in Santa Ana Is Pig Heaven”

Best Travel Story
First Place: Susan Christian Goulding, Orange County Register
“Winetasting a trail along Santa Ynez Valley’s Foxen Canyon Road”
Second Place: Nancy Luna, Orange County Register
“Quick Getaways: Shake Shack stacks up to hype in Las Vegas”
Third Place: Erika Ritchie, Orange County Register
“Quick Getaways: As spring approaches Mammoth still beckons”

Best Music/Entertainment Story
First Place: Nate Jackson, OC Weekly
“The Soul of Billy Preston is Being Fought Over in a Santa Ana Courtroom”
Second Place: Kathleen Luppi, Los Angeles Times
“Rocker Marco Mendoza’s new life with The Dead Daisies”
Third Place: Aimee Murillo, OC Weekly
Why South County is Becoming a Necessary Haven for House Shows

Honorable Mention: Joe DeLillo, Orange County Register
“Letterman’s retirement will leave emotional void”

Best Music/Entertainment Review
First Place: Joseph Pimentel, Orange County Register
“Disney’s new World of Color celebrates Walt Disney’s legacy”

Best Public Affairs Story
First Place: Kristine Hoang, OC Weekly
“OC’s Homeless Await El Niño in the Santa Ana Riverbed”

THE REAL O.C. AWARD

For the story, review, feature, blog, column, photo or broadcast/video that best captures something special, surprising, telling or essential about Orange County
Joseph Pimentel, Orange County Register
“The first two kids to walk into Disneyland”

SKY DUNLAP AWARD

For lifetime achievement and community service

Dennis Foley