OC Press Club Names 2020 Excellence in Journalism Award Winners



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/)




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)




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)




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)




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)




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.


Posted in Awards.