OC Press Club Gala Awards 2024 Winners list

Best Arts/Culture Story 

First Place: Paul Hodgins 

How Has the Pandemic Hangover Affected O.C.’s Arts Scene?Culture OC

Comments: The breadth of this article is great and it answers a question people will
be curious to read about. Good info, quotes, etc. Well done.

Second Place: Eric Marchese 

Stage Door Closes Its Doors, For Now,” Voice of OC 

Third Place: Paul Hodgins 

“Behaving Badly and Other Lamentable Public Trends: Is It Happening in OC Too?Culture OC 

Honorable Mention: Christopher Trela 

Maestro for a Day: My Conducting Debut with Pacific Symphony,” Newport Beach Independent 

Best Arts/Culture Review 

First Place: Timothy Mangan 

Alexander Shelley Vies for Pacific Symphony Conducting Job,” Culture OC

Comments: While many of us may be fatigued by horse-race coverage of
presidential campaigns, I”m fascinated by the way Mangan uses it to demystify the
esoteric process of hiring a new orchestral conductor. Mangan’s wide range of
insights bring the lay audience close to the action. Excellent example of criticism
and review used for a higher purpose.

Second Place: Eric Marchese 

SCR’s ‘Quixote Nuevo’ is an Enjoyable Feast Marred Only by Too Many Thematic Ingredients,” Culture OC

Third Place: Simone Goldstone 

NBFF Review: ‘Immediate Family’ Spotlights Studio Musicians,” Newport Beach Independent

Honorable Mention: Paul Hodgins 

Orange County Gets a Big Dose of Muti Magic,” Voice of OC

Best Music/Entertainment Story 

First Place: Andrew Turner 

’Musical Meltdown Moments’: Art of Music Experience at O.C. Fair prompts visceral reactions,” Daily Pilot

Comments: His excellent description and interviews place the reader in the middle
of the event. A fun spin on the usual county fair feature story.

Second Place: Sarah Mosqueda 

Santa Ana marks Chicano Heritage Month with a festival and new mural,” Daily Pilot

Third Place: David N. Young 

Oscar nominated actress returns to limelight in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’” Event-NewsEnterprise

Best Music/Entertainment Review 

First Place: Timothy Mangan 

Kluxen’s Debut Impresses, Launching Pacific Symphony’s Conductor Tryouts,” Culture OC

Comments: A fun, easy read.

Second Place: Daniella Litvak 

La Havana Madrid @ South Coast Repertory at Mission San Juan Capistrano – Review,” The Orange Curtain Review

Third Place: Simone Goldstone 

‘Ain’t Too Proud’ at Segerstrom Center Tells the Musical Tale of the Temptations,” Newport Beach Independent

Best Food/Restaurant Story 

First Place: Yusra Farzan 

During Ramadan, OC restaurants offer buffets for patrons to break their fast,” Orange County Register

Comments: An atypical entry for this type of category, the writer sheds light on a
practice that may not be well-known to a wide audience.

Second Place: Anne Valdespino 

CBD Power Lunch at Knife Pleat,” Culture OC

Third Place: Anne Marie Panoringan 

Panoringan: Santa Ana’s Culinary Scene Is Trending,” Voice of OC

Best Food/Restaurant Review 

First Place: Brad A. Johnson 

Squid Game,” OLTRE

Comments: “It takes like fresh cried tears. Not the sad kind, but the happy ones.”
That’s just brilliant. Loved this review, really brought me there.

Second Place: Edwin Goei 

Birria, done that: the champion ingredient filling tacos in Santa Ana,” Daily Pilot

Third Place: Brad A. Johnson 

One Day in Bangkok, Two Worlds Apart,” OLTRE

Honorable Mention: Edwin Goei 

Where to hu tieu: Introducing a dish that might become your new favorite,“ Daily Pilot

Best Travel Story 

First Place: Christopher Trela 

California’s Central Coast Offers Wonderful Wines and Unique Experiences,” Newport Beach Independent

Comments: Delved into California’s Central Coast with depth, humor and what felt
like a really thorough understanding of what makes it special. Lots of reference
points and suggestions. If I was travelling there, this article would be an enormous
help. Well done.

Second Place: Brad A. Johnson 

Review: Casona Los Cedros, Yucatán,” Brad A. Johnson, Food & Travel

Third Place: Edwin Goei 

12 glorious spots to take in the crisp 70-degree air on a Central Coast road trip,” Los Angeles Times

Honorable Mention: Brad A. Johnson 

Review: Lao Poet Hotel, Vientiane, Laos,” Brad A. Johnson, Food & Travel

Best Round-Up or Best Of 

First Place: Anne Valedespino 

Great Places for Cocktails in Orange County,” Culture OC

Comments: The writer brought the drinks to life with clear and crisp writing and
vivid details. The writing made me want to immediately try each cocktail and visit
each location.

Second Place: Christopher Trela 

Favorite Dining Experiences of 2023,” Newport Beach Independent

Third Place: Richard Chang, Kristina Garcia, Timothy Mangan, Eric Marchese, Anne Marie Panoringan & Kaitlin Wright 

What’s Coming Up in Arts & Culture for 2023?Voice of OC

Best Health/Wellness Story 

First Place: Hannah Fry 

A ‘failure to launch’: Why young people are having less sex,” Los Angeles Times 

Comments: Super interesting. The story draws the reader in immediately and keeps
them interested. Excellent work.

Second Place: Samantha Dunn 

Why it’s time to face up to your hearing loss,” Orange County Register

Third Place: Julie Leopo 

‘Becoming a Civilian Again,’ Veterans Use Equine Training to Combat Mental Stress,” Voice of OC

Honorable Mention: Richard Simon 

Laurie’s Final Dream: Higher Education for Wheelchair Occupants,” Newport Beach Independent

Best Business Story 

First Place: Jeff Collins 

Fannie’s secret ‘blacklist’ wreaks havoc for condo buyers and sellers,” Orange County Register 

Comments: Excellent feature writing that takes a broad-scope controversy and
zeroes in on the consequences for an average family working through multiple
major life milestones at once. These characters show why readers should care
about a spreadsheet created by a far-away financial group.

Second Place: Andre Mouchard 

Old age and new tech are about to become BFFs,” Orange County Register

Third Place: Jeff Collins 

Goodbye starter home: First-time buyers struggle with Southern California prices, lack of inventory,” Orange County Register

Best Illustration 

First Place: Deanna Lim 

The Crucible, Halloween Every Night 

Comments: Delightful style. Easily portrays the subject but gives it an even more
surreal feeling.

Second Place: Leslie Rodriguez 

Tim Burton, Halloween Every Night

Third Place: Deanna Lim 

The Amityville Horror, Halloween Every Night

Honorable Mention: Eiloh Virgo 

Malcolm McDowell, Halloween Every Night

Best Audience Engagement/Use of Social Media 

First Place: Edwin Goei 

Monster Munching OC: “The Parlor at Stafford Prime

Comments: The numbers make it easy to identify the leading entry in terms of

David McQuay Award for Best Columnist 

First Place: Teri Sforza 

Orange County Register

Comments: Terrific treatment of taking a serious, hard-news investigation and
giving it a column treatment by writing it as a conversation directly with the
governor. Clever and impactful.

Second Place: Norberto Santana Jr. 

Voice of OC

Third Place: David N. Young 


Best Arts/Culture Story or Review, Sponsored Content 

First Place: Richard Chang 

Rarely seen Lee Krasner paintings underscore Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum’s value to the community,” Cal State Long Beach 

Comments: Nice profile of a great American artist.

Second Place: Patrice Marsters 

Costa Mesa Students Create Special Artwork for Young Ukrainian Refugees,” Newport-Mesa Unified School District

Third Place: Greg Mellen 

Science lab and visit by artist make for an epic day at Marblehead,” CUSD Insider

Honorable Mention: Richard Chang 

More than Just a Phase: L.A. Gallery Helps UCI Art Students and Alumni,” UC Irvine

Best Feature Story, Sponsored Content 

First Place: Greg Mellen 

In her despair, school counselor is lifted up by her students,CUSD Insider 

Comments: Sweet story. Stands out among other stories in this category because of
the emotional content. Nicely done.

Second Place: Greg Mellen 

Sept. 11 attacks inspire officer to ‘make sure it never happens again,’” Behind the Badge

Third Place: Patrice Marsters 

High School Students Gain Real-World Experience Through Careers With Children Internship,” Newport-Mesa Unified School District

Honorable Mention: Richard Chang 

Formerly incarcerated women find a second chance through Project Rebound,” Cal State Long Beach

Best News Feature Story, Sponsored Content 

First Place: Richard Chang 

CSULB students aim to help alleviate housing crisis with sustainable tiny house, Cal State Long Beach

Comments: The tiny house topic was well-explored and super interesting.

Second Place: Greg Mellen 

Efforts underway at Clarence Lobo Elementary to create playground for all, CUSD Insider

Third Place: Cathi Douglas 

Tustin Field Training Officer’s hunch proves correct – 78 times,Behind the Badge

Honorable Mention: Greg Mellen 

Baker to Vegas endurance run concludes with a flourish for rookie team,Behind the Badge

Best Feature Photo, Sponsored Content

First Place: Paul Rodriguez 

CUSD Insider

Comments: Beautifully captures joy.

Second Place: Paul Rodriguez

CUSD Insider

Third Place: Spencer Grant

Orange County Catholic

Honorable Mention: Paul Rodriguez

CUSD Insider

Best Video 

First Place: Vanessa Vela 

Viva La Vida 2023 — Dia De Los Muertos Festival,” Halloween Every Night 

Comments: A nice slice of life look at this festival.

Second Place: Mica Medina 

Maverick Theater’s King Kong 2023,” Halloween Every Night

Third Place: Mica Medina 

Plan 9 From Outer Space 2023,” Halloween Every Night

Best Use of Multimedia 

First Place: Jessica Peralta, Emily Reyes, George O’ Connor & Shawn Price

Creepmas Is Trending,” Halloween Every Night 

Comments: A total package with the written words, enbedded YouTube videos and
countless photos. The multimedia brings the package to life!

Second Place: Edwin Goei 

California’s Best Filipino Restaurant,” Monster Munching OC

Third Place: Jessica Peralta, Kitae (Thomas) Kim & Shawn Price

The Hotel Who? Returns for Spring with ‘A Love Story,’Halloween Every Night

Best Feature Story 

First Place: Erika Ritchie 

Camp Pendleton Marine deploys back home to Micronesia as a changed man,” Orange County Register 

Comments: Robust reporting, captivating storytelling, quality journalism.

Second Place: Julie Leopo 

Battling to Survive Santa Ana’s Street Car,” Voice of OC

Third Place: Richard Simon 

Newport Beach Police Department Dispatchers are Anonymous First Responders,” Newport Beach Independent

Honorable Mention: Breeana Greenberg 

Inclusive Innovator: Blind Entrepreneur Converts Menus to Braille, Improving Accessibility in Local Restaurants,” Dana Point Times

Best Long-Form Feature Story or Series

First Place: Brooke Staggs 

Why are women more concerned about climate change than men?Orange County Register

Comments: This piece began a compelling hook and then steadily built on the
premise, weaving in data and quotes that led effortlessly to the conclusion. *SO*
much great writing and analysis in here. Really well done.

Best Political Story 

First Place: Beau Yarbrough 

See what Orange County’s congressional delegation got done last term,” Orange County Register 

Comments: Useful, balanced presentation that informs voters of politicians’

Second Place: Hanna Kang 

What U.S. Senate candidate Katie Porter’s opposition to earmarks would mean if elected,” Orange County Register

Third Place: David N. Young 

Cypress Council votes in secret to potentially settle CVRA lawsuit,” Event-NewsEnterprise

Honorable Mention: Matt Szabo 

Huntington Beach’s 27-year-old declaration on human dignity could be in jeopardy,” Daily Pilot

Best Education Story 

First Place: Brooke Staggs & Roxana Kopetman 

Are Southern California students and teachers breathing clean air?Orange County Register

Comments: Excellent accountability reporting that gives public school patrons the
tools to ensure state and local leaders are following through on their effort to
improve air quality for kids. Deep reporting sheds light on the considerable public
resources spent on the initiative and holds officials to account for results.

Second Place: Gabriel San Roman 

Whose stories do we tell? Israeli-Palestinian tensions polarize an Orange County school district,” Los Angeles Times

Third Place: Noah Biesiada & Carrie Graham 

These Community College Retirees Say Bad District Leadership Put Their Healthcare in Peril,” Voice of OC

Best Sports Story 

First Place: Christopher Luu 

Madison Hammond Is Making Soccer History, InStyle

Comments: Well-written, pleasure to read.

Second Place: Andrew Turner 

Brayden Belden ‘on top of the world’ with Brooks Street surfing success, Daily Pilot

Third Place: Joseph Pimental 

After World Cup glory, the Philippines looks to recruit Filipino American volleyball players, Spectrum News

Honorable Mention: Yusra Farzan 

Irvine may get Southern California’s first cricket stadium as interest in sport grows“, Orange County Register

Best Profile 

First Place: Anne Valdespino 

Feliz Navidad! It’s Bilingual Santa’s Busiest Time of Year,” Culture OC 

Comments: I teared up several times reading this story. Touching and important.
Good quotes. Well done.

Second Place: Shawn Price 

I Hiked With Julian Sands. I’m Not Writing His Obituary,” Halloween Every Night

Third Place: Eric Marchese 

Jazz Legend Monty Alexander Brings His Swingin’ Musical Talents to the Barclay,” Culture OC

Honorable Mention: Christopher Luu 

Sherry Cola Is Not Your Model Minority,” InStyle

Best Public Affairs Story 

First Place: Brooke Staggs 

Hundreds of deserted oil and gas wells in Southern California could soon get plugged,” Orange County Register

Comments: Great lead, highly informative story. 

Second Place: Roxana Kopetman & Tony Saavedra 

Attorney Elliot Blair’s death in Baja raises troubling questions for American citizens abroad,” Orange County Register

Third Place: Hannah Fry 

Newport Beach battles a new breed of luxury party houses: fractional ownership,” Los Angeles Times

Honorable Mention: Andre Mouchard 

Social Security in danger in 2033? America’s aging population a significant factor,” Orange County Register

Best Public Health Story 

First Place: Destiny Torres 

CalOptima’s street medicine program seeing success in action,” Orange County Register

Comments: Fascinating subject. I especially liked the ‘grittiness’ of the quotes; they
helped bring the story to life and made it more impactful.

Second Place: Noah Biesiada, Vivienne Ayres & Sara Bass 

Homes Atop Former Tustin Air Base May Have Toxic Groundwater,” Voice of OC

Third Place: Brooke Staggs 

Big stink, little progress; Hinkley residents claim health risks from composter, Orange County Register

Honorable Mention: John Fredricks 

A Day in the Life: Southern California’s Fentanyl Crisis,” The Epoch Times

Best Environmental News Story 

First Place: Noah Biesiada 

Something’s In the Air: Irvine Residents’ Yearslong Battle For Breathable Air, Voice of OC 

Comments: Shows impact of persistent investigative journalism over time, with
good background history and data.

Second Place: Brooke Staggs 

Climate-friendlier flights are taking off from Southern California, Orange County Register

Third Place: Gabriel San Roman 

Amid crumbling cliffs, Orange County considers moving its famously scenic rail line inland“, Los Angeles Times

Honorable Mention: Sara Cardine 

O.C. Sanitation to demo tech that kills ‘forever chemicals,’ turning waste into water, clean energy“, Daily Pilot

Best News Feature Story 

First Place: Brandon Pho, Hosam Elattar 

Fear and Loathing at Anaheim City Hall: Working Under the Gun of Retribution, Voice of OC

Comments: Compelling writing, crisp story.

Second Place: Gabriel San Roman 

La Habra condo owners see a gaping chasm where their greenbelt used to be“, Los Angeles Times

Third Place: Erika Ritchie 

Marine veterans find new mission as firefighters helping people “having worst day”, Orange County Register

Honorable Mention: Destiny Torres 

As people who fled Cook’s Corner return for their belongings memories of mass shooting are fresh“, Orange County Register

Best Beat Reporting 

First Place: Brooke Staggs 

Climate and Environment Coverage, Orange County

Comments: Brooke Staggs uses an innovative approach to produce well-written,
localized stories on a topic of supreme importance and global scale. Her work
should be emulated by other local news outlets attempting to cover such a broad

Second Place: Jeff Collins 

Housing and Real Estate, Orange County Register

Third Place: Hannah Fry 

Orange County News & Enterprise, Los Angeles Times

Honorable Mention: Scott Schwebke 

VA Loma Linda Coverage, Redlands Daily Facts

Best Feature Photo 

First Place: Mark Rightmire 

Orange County Register

Comments: Striking, depth, clarity.

Second Place: Mitch Ridder

Laguna Beach Independent

Third Place: Jeff Gritchen

Orange County Register

Best Portrait 

First Place: Mark Rightmire 

Orange County Register

Comments: The colors explode off the screen, the composition is perfect. Super
fun picture.

Second Place: Mindy Schauer

Orange County Register

Third Place: Paul Bersebach

Orange County Register

Honorable Mention: Jeff Gritchen

Best News Photo 

First Place: John Fredricks 

The Epoch Times 

Comments: Great composition that leads your eye from the man in the foreground
to the people running away in the background.

Second Place: Mindy Schauer 

Orange County Register

Third Place: Paul Bersebach 

Orange County Register

Honorable Mention: Paul Rodriguez 

Orange County Register

Best Sports Photo 

First Place: Keith Birmingham 

Orange County Register 

Comments: What a great moment to capture. Sharp, good composition, fantastic
tension with the football looking like it’s balanced on his hand.

Second Place: Paul Rodriguez

Orange County Register

Third Place: Mark Rightmire 

Orange County Register

Honorable Mention: Keith Birmingham 

San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Best Photo Essay or Slideshow 

First Place: Mark Rightmire 

Orange County Register 

Comments: So funny and so interesting. The dogs faces said it all. Wonderful

Second Place: Mark Rightmire 

Orange County Register

Third Place: Jeff Gritchen 

Orange County Register

Honorable Mention: Erika Taylor 

 Voice of OC

Best Breaking News Story 

First Place: Orange County Register Staff 

At least 9 shot at biker bar in Orange County’s Trabuco Canyon; 4 confirmed dead,” Orange County Register 

Comments: The depth and quickness of the reporting stood out among all entries.
The staff at Orange County Register showed wny local journalism is important to
communities in a time of horific mass shootings. The local press owned the story.

Second Place: Staff of the Los Angeles Times 

Ex-cop was gunning for estranged wife, then shot randomly, killing 3 and wounding 6 at O.C. bar , Los Angeles Times

Third Place: Orange County Register Staff 

Fire destroys massive, historic north hangar at shuttered Tustin airfield, Orange County Register

Best Investigative Story or Series 

First Place: Nick Gerda 

Orange County Supervisors: Tracking Taxpayer Money, LAist

Comments: Love and needed the excellent summary. Glad you are monitoring
funds in Orange County because the county definitely isn’t. Great job which
should bring about important change and consequences to the wrong doers.

Second Place: Noah Biesiada, Hosam Elattar 

Anaheim’s Ticket to Ride, Voice of OC

Third Place: Scott Schwebke, Joe Nelson 

Southern California law enforcement agencies still stuck in a staffing crisis, Orange County Register

Honorable Mention: Scott Schwebke 

Harbor-UCLA placed on probation as sexual misconduct allegations swirl over orthopedics chief, Daily Breeze

Best Religion Story 

First Place: Brooke Staggs 

Christians and climate change: Southern California churches preach very different messages,” Orange County Register

Comments: Well-balanced and developed article that sought understanding from all
sides. Kudos!

Second Place: Yusra Farzan 

Muslim women-run markets help families prepare for Ramadan in Orange County,” Orange County Register

Third Place: Hosam Elattar & Erika Taylor 

OC Jewish Community Celebrates Hanukkah – a Festival of Lights,” Voice of OC

Best News Story 

First Place: Meghann Cuniff 

2 Trials, 2 Fates: Inside the Dana Point Harbor Murder Case, Dana Point Times

Comments: It’s not easy to make legalese understandable to the masses. Meghann

Second Place: Noah Biesiada 

Orange County’s 911 Dispatchers Are Chronically Overworked; Can They Handle the Next Disaster?“, Voice of OC

Third Place: Scott Schwebke 

Suspect confesses in jailhouse interview to killing bicycling doctor in Dana Point , Orange County Register

Honorable Mention: Yusra Farzan 

OC Turkish and Syrian communities left heartbroken by deadly earthquake, Orange County Register

The Real O.C. Award 

First Place: Gabriel San Roman 

He’s the first Black council member of a former Orange County ‘sundown town,’” Los Angeles Times

Comments: This is an extremely well-written story and a good read. The reporter
did a great job of incorporating the historical context in the community with what
an achievement it was for Rodney “Blair” Stewart to become the first, Black
council member. The quotes were excellent, and the reporter did a great job of
reporting his story. A good use of sources and statistical information.

Second Place: Hosam Elattar 

The Happiest Place on Earth is Surrounded by Some of Orange County’s Poorest,” Voice of OC

Third Place: Anne Valdespino 

CBD Power Lunch at Knife Pleat,” Culture OC

Journalist of the Year

Teri Sforza 

Comments: Great blend of old-fashioned newsroom legwork, detail, and balanced
advocacy that doesn’t just inform but also pushes for change.

Sky Dunlap Award

Susan Christian Goulding

Here is the complete list of the 2023 OC Press Club Award winners

Each year thousands of stories, photos, social media posts and more are generated by reporters around Orange County seeking to inform the public and hold officials accountable.

The Orange County Press Club is pleased to announce the complete list of winners and finalists for the 2023 OC Press Club Awards.

Best News Story

First place: Spencer Custodio and Hosam Elattar

FBI Reveals What Many Anaheim Residents Felt For Years, City Hall is Run By The Chamber of Commerce,” Voice of OC

Second place: Roxana Kopetman

Ukrainians arriving in U.S. through Tijuana,” OC Register

Third place: Scott Schwebke

Torrance woman recounts harrowing rape by alleged attacker hours after his release from jail,” Daily Breeze


Best News Feature Story

First place: Todd Harmonson

If the story of Super Bowl LVI was a movie plot, you wouldn’t believe it,” OC Register

Second place: Tony Saavedra

What Happened to Jack? Mystery over Texas boating death of OC teen finally unravels years later,” OC Register

Third place: Hannah Fry

After a Black student faced racist slurs, some wonder: Will O.C. ever change?” LA Times

Honorable Mention: Brandon Pho

Fallout From the FBI Corruption Probe Triggers a New Kind of Open Mic Night in Anaheim,” Voice of OC


Best Breaking News Story

First place: Staff of The Los Angeles Times

(Hannah Fry, Richard Winton, Laura Newberry, Jeong Park, Anh Do and Andrew J. Campa)

Churchgoers tackled, hogtied gunman after deadly Laguna Woods church shooting,” LA Times

Second place: Noah Biesiada and Angelina Hicks

Mission Viejo Appoints City Manager to Run the Town After Judge Boots Council Majority,” Voice of OC

Third place: Spencer Custodio

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu Resigns After FBI Reveals Anaheim Corruption Probe,” Voice of OC


Best Investigative Story or Series 

First place: Scott M. Reid

UC Berkeley swimmers allegations against coach Teri McKeever,” OC Register

Second place: Brandon Pho and Hosam Elattar

What Made Anaheim’s Chamber Tick,” Voice of OC

Third place: Jeffrey Collins

Southern California housing plans contain ‘fake sites,’ lack analysis, critics say,” OC Register

Honorable Mention: Connor Sheets, Hannah Fry and Laura J. Nelson

Mater Dei football players allegedly sexually assaulted teammate, police record says,” LA Times


Best Beat Reporting 

First place: Brooke Staggs

Climate/environment coverage, OC Register

Second place: Noah Biesiada

OC Power Authority, Voice of OC

Third place: Hosam Elattar, Nick Gerda, Angelina Hicks and Brandon Pho

Hate on the Rise in OC, Voice of OC


Best Public Affairs Story

First place: Hannah Fry

Amid housing crunch, officials want Orange County to stay the way it is,” LA Times

Second place: Brooke Staggs

Lead spews from some Southern California airports; cleaner fuel is coming,” OC Register

Third place: Brandon Pho

Bladder Infections, Padded Underwear ‘Just Part of the Job’ for Some OC Bus Drivers, Say Those Decrying Bathroom Break Policies,” Voice of OC

Honorable Mention: Hosam Elattar and Angelina Hicks

Car Wrecks, Flooding and a Possible Sewage Leak: Life in a Westminster Mobile Home Park,” Voice of OC


Best Feature Story

First place: Roxana Kopetman

An Orange County couple and their newborn daughter escape Ukraine, one step at a time,” OC Register

Second place: Richard Simon

Newport Beach Lifeguards are Dedicated to Keeping Beachgoers Safe,” Newport Beach Independent

Third place: Anne Marie Panoringan

Panoringan: Finding New Foods by Living the Buy Nothing Lifestyle,” Voice of OC

Honorable Mention: Andrew Turner

Orange Coast College honors late coach, renames facility John Altobelli Park,” Daily Pilot


Best Long-Form Feature Story or Series

First place: Jeffrey Collins and Andre Mouchard

OC Register, Southern California aging boom

Second place: Priscella Vega

Inside one O.C. Mexican Catholic family, abortion still divides generations,” LA Times

Third place: Hosam Elattar

Little Arabia, Voice of OC

Honorable Mention: Tony Saavedra

Eroding beaches, OC Register


Best Political Story

First place: Spencer Custodio and Hosam Elattar

Disney’s PAC Continues Spending Big To Sway Voters in Anaheim,” Voice of OC

Second place: Andrew Turner

Ongoing rancor on Laguna Beach City Council turns uglier this election season,” LA Times


Best Round-Up or Best Of

First place: Richard Chang and Jessica Choi

A Vibrant Korean Community is Thriving in North O.C.,” Voice of OC

Second place: Edwin Goei

Chopstick-lickin’ good: Where to find Asian takes on fried chicken in Orange County,” Daily Pilot

Third place: Brad A. Johnson

Brad A. Johnson’s 75 Best Places to Eat in Orange County, 2022,” OC Register


Best Business Story

First place: Jeffrey Collins

Microgrid will let these Menifee homes keep lights on during outages,” OC Register

Second place: Breeana Greenberg

Monster Wave Puzzles Making a Splash at Local Surf Shops,” San Clemente Times

Third place: Christopher Trela

Newport Beach Entrepreneur Named Among Top 10 Fastest Growing Woman-Owned/Led Companies,” Newport Beach Independent


Best Arts/Culture Story

First place: Paul Hodgins 

Hodgins: O.C. Arts Groups Emerge From Pandemic With New Ideas and Strengthened Resolve,” Voice of OC

Second place: Richard Chang and Kim Pham 

“‘Yellow Submarine Rising’ Gives Asian American Artists a Platform to Speak and Shine,” Voice of OC

Third place: Ashley Ryan 

Cultivating Community Through Creativity,” Laguna Beach Magazine


Best Arts/Culture Review

First place: Timothy Mangan

London Symphony Orchestra Performs Blockbuster Program at Segerstrom with Mixed Results,” Voice of OC

Second place: Paul Hodgins

A Conductor on the Rise Reveals Her Gifts,” Voice of OC

Third place: Timothy Mangan

Pianists Team for an Evening of Music for Two Pianos at Soka,” Voice of OC

Honorable Mention: Richard Chang

Review: OC Museum of Art’s Opening Exhibitions Delight, Confound, Engage,” Voice of OC


Best Music/Entertainment Story

First place: Andrew Turner

Carnival carnage: Demolition derbies are a shattering spectacle at the O.C. Fair,” Daily Pilot

Second place: Sarah Mosqueda

Wine labels to record labels,” Daily Pilot

Third place: Richard Chang

Danny Elfman Percussion Concerto Makes Its North American Premiere in Orange County,” Voice of OC

Honorable Mention: Simone Goldstone

The Relaunched CREEM is the Cream of the Crop for Rock Journalism,” Newport Beach Independent


Best Music/Entertainment Review

First place: Simone Goldstone

Paul McCartney Finally ‘Got Back’ on Tour,” Newport Beach Independent

Second place: Ashley Littlefield

Parallel Voices Has Us ‘Running’ on New EP,” EDM Identity

Third place: Ashley Littlefield

Jamie Jones and Darius Syrossian Dispatch Poolside Vibes on New EP,” EDM Identity


Best Health/Wellness Story

First place: Roxana Kopetman

Pregnant with COVID, she survived a nightmare,” OC Register

Second place: Anne Marie Panoringan

Panoringan: Food As Medicine – Cooking With MaxLove Project’s Fierce Foods Academy,” Voice of OC

Third place: Cathi Douglas

Hospital chaplains steward spiritual healing for end-of-life patients and their families,” San Diego Union-Tribune

Honorable Mention: Noah Biesiada

OC Spends a Third of Mental Health Outreach Money on Sports Teams: Is It Working?” Voice of OC


Best Environmental News Story

First place: Erika Ritchie

Young mountain lion roams 100 miles between beach and Santa Ana mountains,” OC Register

Second place: Richard Simon

The Trashy Side of Newport Beach,” Newport Beach Independent

Third place: Angelina Hicks

Are Community Gardens Becoming Orange County’s Next Town Squares,” Voice of OC

Honorable Mention: Angelina Hicks

Grand Jury: OC Residents Lose Millions Each Year in Unclaimed Recycling Funds,” Voice of OC


Best Education Story

First place: Roxana Kopetman

Lockdown alarm failed 3 preschool classes for deaf students in Santa Ana during intruder evacuation, teachers say,” OC Register

Second place: Shawn Price 

Camp, Sweet Camp,” Parenting OC

Third place: Roxana Kopetman

New Irvine charter school under scrutiny for alleged mismanagement,” OC Register


Best Food/Restaurant Story

First place: Gabriel San Román

In Anaheim, taco vendors and officials play a game of cat-and-mouse,” LA Times

Second place: Simone Goldstone

Brother’s Bond Bourbon is Founded by ‘Vampire Diaries’ Actors and Helps the Environment,” Newport Beach Independent

Third place: Sarah Mosqueda

Orange County’s diverse vegan Mexican food movement gains momentum,” Daily Pilot


Best Food/Restaurant Review

First place: Brad A. Johnson

South Coast Plaza’s Populaire rewrites the French bistro playbook,” OC Register

Second place: Brad A. Johnson

Finally, a proper cheese enchilada,” OC Register

Third place: Edwin Goei

At the Disneyland Resort, it’s a small world of food after all,” Daily Pilot


Best Travel Story

First place: Brooke Staggs

How a trip to Tanzania restored one writer’s faith in humanity,” OC Register

Second place: Anh Do

Taiwanese, Koreans and Hong Kongers can finally travel home. But others are out of luck,” LA Times

Third place: Richard Simon

Crossing the Northwest Passage: A Voyage of Ice, Wind and Polar Bears,” Newport Beach Independent


Best Profile

First place: Joe Mullich

Serving the Underserved,” Super Lawyers

Second place: Joe Mullich

The Difference Maker,” Super Lawyers

Third place: Sara Cardine

Newport Beach retiree Stan Ross, aka the Metal Detector Man, finds O.C.’s lost riches,” Daily Pilot


Best Religion Story

First place: Hosam Elattar

OC Muslims Hope For a More ‘Normal’ Ramadan as They Gear Up for the Third Celebration Since COVID,” Voice of OC

Second place: Lilly Nguyen

Faith leaders gather in Newport Beach to pray for Ukraine, world on National Day of Prayer,” Daily Pilot

Third place: Cathi Douglas

Why a first-responder chaplain’s work is so important,” San Diego Union-Tribune

Honorable Mention: Yusra Farzan

Muslims are fast becoming a powerful voting bloc in Orange County,” OC Register


David McQuay Award for Best Columnist 

First place: Norberto Santana Jr.

Voice of OC

Second place: Patrice Apodaca

Daily Pilot

Third place: Jim Alexander

OC Register


Best Video

First place: Joone Kim-Lopez

From Hate to Healing,” OC World

Second place: Scott Hays

Hope Dies Last,” OC World

Third place: Manuel Gómez 

To Live for the Harvest,” OC World

Honorable Mention: Shawn Price, Jessica Peralta and Aylin Ruiz

A Conversation with Ann & Kong,” Halloween Every Night


Best Use of Multimedia

First place: Jessica Peralta, Shawn Price, Aylin Ruiz and Lindsay Schiro

“‘Spook Show 17’ Offers a Look Behind The 17th Door,” Halloween Every Night

Second place: Samantha Dunn

These 10 Noteworthy books by Southern California authors made an impact in 2021,” OC Register

Third place: Jessica Peralta, Shawn Price and Hannah Nguyen

Twisted Christmas Brings Immersive Scares to The Frida Cinema,” Halloween Every Night


Best Use of Data

First place: Brooke Staggs and Nikie Johnson

Analysis: What are Orange County House members tweeting about?” OC Register

Second place: Brooke Staggs

“Orange County more likely than most to elect women to office, but gaps persist,” OC Register


Best Use of Social Media

First place: Meghann Cuniff 

Law & Crime News, covering Cardi Bi’s federal civil trial in Orange County

Second place: Meghann Cuniff

Law.com/The Recorder, covering John Eastman’s speech at the California Republican Assembly meeting

Third place: Brad A. Johnson

Instagram (@bradajohnson)


Best Graphic

First place: Jennifer Coats and Shawn Price

Salem Witch Trials, Halloween Every Night


Best Illustration

First place: Dominic Ho

Stephen King, Halloween Every Night

Second place: Jeffrey Goertzen

Angels, OC Register

Third place: Dominic Ho

“Psycho,” Halloween Every Night

Honorable Mention: Dexter Urias

Bluebeard, Halloween Every Night


Best News Photo

First place: Mitch Ridder

Emerald Bay fire, Laguna Beach Independent

Second place: Paul Bersebach

coastal day, OC Register

Third place: Leonard Ortiz

Smiling couple, OC Register


Best Sports Photo

First place: Keith Birmingham 

broken bat, OC Register

Second place: Mark Rightmire 

surfing victory, OC Register

Third place: Paul Rodriguez

dejection, OC Register

Honorable Mention: Mark Rightmire

girls soccer, OC Register


Best Feature Photo

First place: Paul Bersebach

Sunrise, OC Register

Second place: Leonard Ortiz

Surfer, OC Register

Third place: Mark Rightmire

Gliders, OC Register

Honorable Mention: Brad A. Johnson

Heritage BBQ, OC Register


Best Portrait

First place: Dustin Snipes

Natalie Weatherford, Super Lawyers

Second place: Dustin Snipes

Irene Y. Lee, Super Lawyers


Third place: Leonard Ortiz

Planned Parenthood technician, OC Register



The Real O.C. Award

First place: Mike Moodian

Coastal Crisis: California’s Vanishing Beaches,” OC World

Second place: Hosam Elattar

““Enough is Enough”: Anaheim’s Edison Community Demands Safer Streets,” Voice of OC

Third place: Tony Saavedra and Laylan Connelly

Southern California coastal towns are losing valuable sand, putting some beaches at risk,” OC Register

Honorable Mention: Brooke Staggs

Afghan refugees find generosity, chaos as they settle in Orange County,” OC Register


Journalist of the Year 

Scott M. Reid




Best News Feature Story

First place: Patrice Marsters

“Business Management Pathway Develops Students’ Entrepreneurial Savvy,” Newport-Mesa Unified School District

Second place: Greg Mellen

CUSD representatives learn about how to combat dangers to students during School Safety Summit,” CUSD Insider

Third place: Jessica Peralta

“In Memoriam: The life of Santa Ana Police K9 Puskas,” Behind the Badge


Best Feature Story

First place: Greg Mellen

Tesoro student turns her pain into anti-racism movement,” CUSD Insider

Second place: Greg Mellen

Nothing can stop San Juan Hills High basketball coach Jason Efstathiou,” CUSD Insider

Third place: Greg Hardesty

One Hundred Years of Gratitude: The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange celebrate the centennial anniversary of the order’s relocation to Batavia Street from Northern California,” Orange County Catholic

Honorable Mention: Jessica Peralta

Post-retirement, Westminster Police Department’s K9 Pako candle shines bright,” Behind the Badge


Best Arts/Culture Story or Review

First place: Greg Hardesty

Hazel Wright Organ: It took a small army of people and nearly a decade to restore world-famous Hazel Wright Organ to her glory,” Orange County Catholic

Second place: Greg Mellen

Santa Ana homicide detective runs youth mariachi nonprofit, providing life-enriching outlet for kids,” Behind the Badge

Third place: Richard Chang

Forging a Common Bond,” UCI Arts

Honorable Mention: Patrice Marsters

“Recess Enhanced with Creative Art Programs,” Newport-Mesa Unified School District 



Best Photo

First place: Jeff Antenore

High school graduation surprise, CUSD Insider


Best Video

First place: Tauli Anderson

Westminster Police Department shuts down alleged slaphouse,” Behind the Badge