Get Tickets to 2024 Excellence in Journalism Gala

Join us for the Orange County Press Club’s annual Excellence in Journalism Gala at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 13 at the Anaheim Hills Golf Course, 6501 E. Nohl Ranch Road in Anaheim.

Parking is free and we’ll have a cash bar. Suggested attire is cocktail or business formal.

Please use our Paypal account to purchase tickets at the prices below.

Beef: $55 per person

Chicken: $55 per person

Vegetarian Pasta: $50 per person

In addition to our awards presentations, the Press Club will recognize our scholarship winners and a brief In Memoriam segment for former Orange County journalists.

An Open Letter to Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do

Dear Supervisor Andrew Do, 

We are writing to express our disappointment in using your position as a public official on Wednesday, Dec. 20 to call for the firing of LAist reporter Nick Gerda, over his reporting on your  approval of awarding public dollars to a nonprofit run by your daughter.

As the OC Register Editorial Board has now shown, your statement uses a minor technical glitch in one of the nonprofit filings to falsely claim that Gerda forged the document.

Journalists would not be doing their job if they did not constantly call attention to suspect public contractor relationships such as yours.

Your comments are a disservice to not only the journalists who watch dog the county, but also to the public you were elected to serve. 

We expect more from our public officials, and seriously urge you to apologize.

Respectfully,

The Orange County Press Club Board of Directors

 

Brandon Pho

Daniel Langhorne

Caitlin Antonios

Kathy Hobstetter

David Young

Patty Marsters

Breeana Greenberg

Jackie Moe

Clara Beard

Andrew Turner

Spencer Grant

Statement Concerning the SCNG Guild Walkout

Dear members,

Tomorrow, journalists from 11 newspapers across Southern California are walking out of their newsrooms in protest of stagnant wages, while their corporate owners spend money to acquire more newsrooms. Alden Global clearly has capital; they’re choosing not to invest it in the employees who make their products possible.

The workers’ message has been clear: Their cost of living has gone up while waiting as much as 20 years for a raise – and they cannot afford to wait much longer.

The Orange County Press Club’s Board of Directors stands with these journalists and their labor union, Southern California News Group (SCNG) Guild, in their efforts to secure the fair contract they deserve.

We urge SCNG executives to come to the table with a proposal that is fair for everyone.

In the meantime, SCNG Guild has been raising funds for workers who may be financially impacted by the walkout.

We encourage you to make a contribution to help our fellow corps members in a time of need. Click here to donate.

Best Regards,

The 2023-24 Orange County Press Club Board of Directors

OC photographer Richard Koehler dies at 82

Photojournalist Richard Koehler died at home surrounded by his family on Oct. 12, Costa Mesa police said in a Facebook post. He was 82.
Koehler was a breaking news photographer since the early 1970s, freelancing for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times and AP.
He was often the first news photographer at crashes and crime scenes in Costa Mesa or Newport Beach, day or night. He attended high school in Newport Beach and graduated from Orange Coast College.
The Orange County Press Club Board of Directors is mourning our long-time colleague Koehler who worked tirelessly to get the “scoop.” He was a frequent recipient of OC Press Club awards, including the 2022 Best News Photo for his image of a fatal crash in Newport Beach.

Newport Beach Police Department traffic officers (MAIT) investigates fatal solo vehicle into building at 6904 West Coast Highway in Newport Beach Saturday evening, January 23, 2021. Photo by Richard Koehler, Contributing Photographer

OC Press Club Adds 5 New Board Members

The 2023-24 Orange County Press Club Board of Directors is thrilled to welcome five impressive newcomers. We deeply thank them for answering the call to serve on behalf of Orange County’s press corps.

They will join returning board members Daniel Langhorne, Brandon Pho, Patty Marsters, Caitlin Antonios, David N. Young and Kathy Hobstetter.

Lastly, the Board is extremely grateful for our departing members’ years of service. Hannah Fry had served since 2017, Sonya Quick joined in 2020, and Shawn Raymundo first ran in 2021.

A Special Note to Members on Orange Unified School District Board Meeting

Dear Members,

The Orange County Press Club Board of Directors is following claims that private security guards hired by the Orange Unified School District attempted to corral Voice of OC, Southern California News Group and freelance photographers into a press pen during a public meeting on Sept. 7.

After speaking with two photojournalists who were harassed in the course of their work, the Board feels it prudent to remind our members that state and federal case law is on their side in these types of situations involving a “designated press area” at public proceedings. We believe arming reporters and photographers with information about their rights is the best defense against this bad behavior.

From the Reporters Committee For Freedom of the Press: Cal. Gov’t Code § 54950 As stated by one court, “it is clearly the public policy of this State that the proceedings of public agencies, and the conduct of the public’s business, shall take place at open meetings, and that the deliberative process by which decisions related to the public’s business shall be conducted in full view of the public.”

Journalists are and should be treated just like members of the public. Sequestering people based on their occupation is a slippery slope.

The Board has discussed next steps to educate OUSD officials and the public that we will not tolerate further infringement of press freedoms in Orange County.

Best Regards,

The 2022-23 Orange County Press Club Board of Directors

OC Press Club Seeks 2023-24 Board Candidates

Dear Members,

It’s election season, and an opportunity to bring your voice to the Orange County Press Club Board of Directors.

Voting will happen in the last week of September, but starting now you can add your name as a candidate.

Candidates are asked to email [email protected] with their name, employer/news organization, a short bio and candidate statement (laying out your ideas, values, or anything you think might connect with voters) by Sept. 22.

All candidates must be current on membership dues: $25 for journalists and $50 for PR professionals/non-journalists.

On top of planning the Press Club’s annual awards gala, board members also host networking and informational events throughout the year for members. The volunteer board works alongside groups throughout California to advocate for press freedom and other issues important to journalists in Orange County. The Board also stewards the next generation of journalists by sponsoring scholarships and fellowships for high school and college students.

The Press Club is looking for journalists from across a variety of mediums, publications and backgrounds to help further this mission. Freelancers and journalism educators are welcome to enter.

Please send any questions about the process to [email protected].

Best Regards,

Brandon Pho
Vice President, 2022-23 Orange County Press Club Board of Directors

OC Press Club Mourns Beloved Photographer

Former Orange County Register staff photographer Bill Alkofer died in St. Paul, Minn., after a years-long fight with ALS on June 23.

Theresa Walker, a retired Register staff writer, shared the news about Alkofer on a Facebook group of the newspaper’s alumni. Her post has turned into a memorial with dozens of comments from Alkofer’s colleagues.

“Mindy Schauer and I visited Bill this past week at the assisted living center in St. Paul where he had been living. We reminisced, we laughed, we cursed, we talked about death, we drank several of the beers (Grain Belt) in Bill’s fridge and even got him to take a few sips with a straw,” Walker wrote.

Alkofer was born and raised in North Dakota. He received a degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota in 1985. Alkofer worked for 40 years as a photojournalist, including stints at Pioneer Press and the Register. He photographed popes, presidents and kings, two Olympics, a Super Bowl, a World Series and four Final Fours.

The Orange County Press Club Board of Directors extends its sincere condolences to his devoted family and friends. He was a consummate professional who went above and beyond to make the best photo possible.

Details about a memorial service haven’t been announced.

Bill Alkofer at his October 2021 “awake wake” with Mindy Schauer, Alma Fausto, Ian Wheeler, Jeff Gritchen and Greg Mellen in Minneapolis. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Gritchen)

OC Press Club Names Journalist Fred Swegles as 2023 Sky Dunlap Award Recipient

The Orange County Press Club Board of Directors is honored to posthumously recognize Fred Swegles with the 2023 Sky Dunlap Award at the 2023 Excellence in Journalism Awards at 6 p.m. on June 15 at Anaheim Hills Golf Course.

The Press Club’s highest honor will be announced in conjunction with our “In Memorium” presentation of recently deceased journalists, which also includes nationally-recognized baseball writer Jean Hastings Ardell and Los Angeles Times reporter Greg Yee.

A longtime Orange County newsman who spent his career covering San Clemente and its neighboring towns, Swegles died on Oct. 23, 2022, after suffering health complications because of a brain tumor. He was 74.

Swegles’ portfolio of work spanned more than 50 years, having previously reported for the Daily Sun-Post and Orange County Register. In 2018, Swegles launched his CoastLines column with San Clemente Times.

“Fred Swegles is an institution in Orange County journalism. His tireless efforts over five decades to cover his beloved hometown of San Clemente are a testament to the impact one journalist can have on their readers. Our board’s decision to honor Fred was unanimous and we sincerely wish it had arrived before his passing,” said Daniel Langhorne, president of Orange County Press Club.

The Sky Dunlap Award is given out at the Press Club’s annual awards gala and honors someone for lifetime achievement and community service in Orange County journalism. It is named for John William “Sky” Dunlap, 1912-68, who owned and published the Globe, an independent newspaper.

OC Press Club Joins Coalition’s Response to City of LA Lawsuit Filed Against Reporter

The following joint statement was released on April 7, 2023.

The Los Angeles Journalists Coalition opposes a lawsuit by the City of Los Angeles against journalist Ben Camacho and Stop LAPD Spying Coalition. The lawsuit seeks to ban further publication of documents the City itself released and which have already been distributed to the public.

The City’s sweeping demand for censorship defies logic as well as the First Amendment. The City Attorney’s additional threat of law enforcement seizure sends a chilling warning to any journalist or individual who would lawfully use the Public Records Act to learn about their own government.

By now, members of the public and other news organizations have seen and likely downloaded these images. The City’s demanded injunction against Camacho and a grassroots advocacy group would punish both with silence while others would retain the full power to continue to publish and disseminate these images.

If the City is truly seeking to protect the undercover police officers whose identities it released, the City is now only drawing even more attention to those officers’ identities through its aggressive and unreasonable encroachment on press freedoms. Further pursuit of this ill-considered lawsuit can only do more harm than good.

Asian American Journalists Association, Los Angeles
CCNMA Latino Journalists of California
Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
IWW Freelance Journalists Union
Los Angeles Press Club
Media Guild of the West, The NewsGuild-CWA Local 39213
National Association of Black Journalists of Los Angeles
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
National Press Photographers Association
National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, Los Angeles Chapter
Ismael Parra, as chair of the National Writers Union, SoCal Chapter
Online News Association Los Angeles
Orange County Press Club
Radio Television Digital News Association
Society of Professional Journalists