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

OC Press Club Board Adds 2 Members

Orange County Press Club members have elected two new board members in addition to re-electing the vast majority of the Board of Directors.

Caitlin Antonios, dining reporter for the Southern California News Group, and Jeremy Shermak, journalism instructor and faculty adviser to Coast Report at Orange Coast College, have joined following the election.

“Caitlin and Jeremy are exceptional additions to the Board of Directors,” Board President Daniel Langhorne said. “Their unique experiences will help us amplify the voices of Orange County journalists and continue defending a free press.”

Re-elected to the board are:

Hannah Fry

Kathy Hobstetter

Daniel Langhorne

Patty Marsters

Brandon Pho

Sonya Quick

Shawn Raymundo

David N. Young

OC Press Club Opens Voting for 2022-23 Board of Directors

The Orange County Press Club named a slate of highly-qualified candidates to serve on its 2022-23 Board of Directors on November 14.

OC Press Club members are invited to cast their votes for candidates until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 18. Click here to access the ballot.

The Board of Directors would like to thank departing board members Benjamin Brazil and Bradley Zint for their leadership and dedication to the region’s journalism community.

OC Press Club joins journalists standing with Alene Tchekmedyian

The following statement is from more than a dozen organizations representing thousands of working journalists and First Amendment advocates. Orange County Press Club’s Board of Directors agreed to join our colleagues in standing up for a free press.

Journalism is not a crime. Our community of journalism associations, media unions and First Amendment advocates stands in solidarity with Los Angeles Times reporter Alene Tchekmedyian and all journalists who are threatened or harassed by law enforcement.

Today, the Los Angeles County Sheriff suggested that Alene is a subject in a criminal investigation into a leaked video showing a deputy kneeling on an inmate’s head. In recent weeks, Alene has reported on claims alleging that the Sheriff obstructed justice and retaliated against whistleblowers who raised concerns about the incident. This escalation comes after a years-long history of the Sheriff harshly criticizing many local journalists just for doing their jobs, including Cerise Castle, Josie Huang, Maya Lau and others.

For over 50 years, the Supreme Court has upheld the First Amendment right to publish information of public concern received by members of the press or public. For the Sheriff to suggest otherwise is an unconscionable attempt to deter the press from exercising its long-established right to report on abuses of power.

We condemn these outrageous attacks on newsgathering, and we remain committed to supporting journalism that reports on the facts without fear or favor.

Media Guild of the West, The NewsGuild-CWA Local 39213

Los Angeles Times Guild

Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

First Amendment Coalition

Radio Television Digital News Association

Asian American Journalists Association, Los Angeles

Online News Association Los Angeles

CCNMA Latino Journalists of California

Los Angeles Press Club

National Association of Black Journalists of Los Angeles

National Association of Hispanic Journalists

National Press Photographers Association

Open Vallejo / Informed California Foundation


SPJ San Diego

SPJ Northern California

ACLU of Southern California

Susan E. Seager, Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law, Press Freedom clinic at the University of California, Irvine School of Law

Orange County Press Club

Californians Aware

Media Alliance

OC Press Club mourns veteran copy editor

The Orange County Press Club is saddened to learn that our colleague Dennis Brosterhous has died.

Since 2015, Brosterhous had served as a copy editor for Los Angeles Times Community News in Fountain Valley, helping publish The Daily Pilot and Times OC. Working the night shift, Brosterhous answered calls from feverish reporters needing an eleventh-hour edit on a story.

“I can’t tell you how lucky the younger people at the Daily Pilot were to have their work edited by a journeyman like Dennis. He was never judgmental; he took pride in pointing out our errors but did so in the manner of a teacher, not a critic,” Los Angles Times assistant managing editor John Canalis said.

Brosterhous worked hard all his life and never retired.

“I wish he had, but this is a hard line of work to give up once it’s in your blood,” Canalis added.

A Sun City resident, Brosterhous worked as a copy editor and designer for The Press-Enterprise in Riverside from 1998 to 2009.

Before that, he served as managing editor of The Sun City News and its sister community newspapers (Menifee News and Perris Valley News), according to his resume.

Brosterhous earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California and an associate’s degree in English/Journalism from Long Beach City College.

Colleagues also described him as decent, funny, and smart. Brosterhous was an avid Dodgers fan and looked forward to attending games with his children for his birthday or on Fathers’ Day.

“He was so kind to us cub reporters and always willing to help out on a tight deadline,” Los Angeles Times reporter Faith E. Pinho said.

OC Press Club to Host Virtual Panel on Upgrading PRA Requests

An Orange County Press Club panel will discuss local government transparency in the Covid-19 era from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on March 17. The Zoom panel participants are:

David Burke – Cypress resident and president and founder of Citizens Take Action
Nick Gerda – investigative reporter, Voice of OC
Teri Sforza – investigative reporter, Southern California News Group

The event will be broadcasted live from the Press Club’s Facebook page and moderated by Daniel Langhorne, president of the Orange County Press Club. We’ll focus on common mistakes reporters make when filing public records requests and how they can craft more successful requests via the California Public Records Act or Freedom of Information Act. Expect success stories in overcoming stubborn agencies in Orange County and elsewhere.

Attendees are invited to come with their own questions for panelists. Send questions or comments to [email protected].

CLICK HERE to watch the live video on Facebook.

OC Press Club joins California journalism coalition to oppose SB 98

The Orange County Press Club Board of Directors agreed to join the following open letter distributed June 1. 


We, the undersigned organizations, which collectively represent thousands of California journalists, strongly oppose a recent amendment made to SB 98, a bill originally intended to protect journalists covering protests, demonstrations and civil unrest. This amendment may actually restrict existing press freedoms rather than expand them, turning this bill on its head and into something that hurts the very people it was written to help.


Many of our organizations an unprecedented coalition of press associations, labor unions, and journalism advocacy groups had endorsed SB 98 prior to this amendment, and others were actively considering doing so. But as now amended, we must withhold any endorsement and are prepared to actively oppose SB 98 until its intent to protect journalists is restored. 


We do not enter this political debate lightly. During the past two years, working conditions for California journalists have steadily deteriorated as many of our newspaper, television, radio, digital, freelance and student media colleagues covering protests have been arrested, detained or assaulted by law enforcement while on the job, including while covering the March 25 protest at Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles. Throughout California in the past 12 months alone, we have documented at least 36 incidents where police have injured, detained, arrested and violated the constitutional rights of clearly identifiable journalists.


SB 98, as originally introduced by Sen. Mike McGuire, would have modestly extended existing state protections for journalists working in disaster areas to also apply to journalists covering civil disturbances. But an amendment added by the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 20, 2021, would require journalists to seek permission of a police commander to enter closed areas around protests — a hurdle that doesn’t currently exist under state law. This is a clear attempt to hobble this bill. Journalists should not need permission from a police commander to cover protests, just as law enforcement-issued press credentials should not be required in order for journalists to exercise their First Amendment rights in a public forum. 


We are aware that law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, have been lobbying on SB 98 in recent months. We would point out that the Sheriff’s mishandling of press freedoms the department’s deputies tackled and arrested KPCC’s Josie Huang last fall and have injured others is one of the reasons our coalition formed in the first place.


We urge all First Amendment supporters in the California legislature to remove the amended language or strengthen SB 98 in a way that protects the vital activities of the press and the people’s right to receive information regarding matters of public concern. We encourage Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign a genuinely strengthened version into law.



Asian American Journalists Association, Los Angeles chapter

Californians Aware

CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California

IBEW Local 45

Journalism and Women Symposium, Southern California (JAWS SoCal)

Los Angeles Press Club

Media Alliance

Media Guild of the West, NewsGuild-CWA Local 39213

National Association of Black Journalists of Los Angeles

National Association of Hispanic Journalists

National Press Photographers Association

National Writers Union

Online News Association Local Los Angeles

Orange County Press Club

Pacific Media Workers Guild, The NewsGuild-CWA Local 39521

Radio Television Digital News Association

Society of Professional Journalists, Greater Los Angeles chapter

Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California Chapter


OC Press Club Opens Election for 2020-21 Board of Directors

The Orange County Press Club has opened the election for the 2020-21 Board of Directors. Read on to learn more about this year’s candidates. Click the link to vote for your preferred candidates via SurveyMonkey.


Lillian Boyd

Lillian Boyd is the senior editor for Picket Fence Media and city editor for Dana Point Times. She grew up in Aliso Viejo, graduating from Aliso Niguel High School before earning a degree in journalism from Humboldt State University, where she reported and edited for her campus publication The Lumberjack. Early on in her career, she secured an internship at the Pentagon covering U.S. Army news. She also interned for the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) chapter in Los Angeles, interviewing incarcerated individuals in the LA County jails and drafting legal declarations. In Roanoke, Virginia, Lillian reported and anchored for WFIR, a local news radio station. She made her way back to Orange County in the fall of 2018 and has since been with Picket Fence Media.

Ben Brazil

As an experienced journalist for Los Angeles Times OC, I’ve covered everything Orange County—social issues, culture, technology, business, public safety and courts. I’ve covered council meetings that go long after midnight. I’ve covered the county’s struggle against homelessness and corruption in the district attorney’s office. I know Orange County. I grew up here and care deeply about the health of O.C. journalism.

As a board member for the Orange County Press Club, I would seek to continue advocating for the local journalism industry. At a time when journalists face ridicule and even violence for just doing their jobs, it’s vitally important that the OC Press Club continues to advocate for local journalists and provide a network for media professionals. The club’s voice has never been more important.

Alma Fausto

I have served as a board member for five years and am asking for a vote to continue to serve. During my time I have helped organize various events namely the annual Journalism Awards Gala and have helped award scholarships to high school and college students. I’ve been a reporter for the Orange County Register for the last seven years. Most of that time I’ve covered crime and public safety.

I’d like to continue being a part of the board because I believe young journalists and students are still very passionate about our mission despite the obstacles produced by the ever-changing industry. I would like to keep trying to motivate young journalists to join the club so they can connect and learn from industry professionals who have been through many more ups and downs. As a member of the Orange County Press Club I have been connected to reporters, editors, communications professionals, professors and others who I may not have otherwise known; I’d like to help more people do the same.


Hannah Fry

I have served as an Orange County Press Club board member for four years, most recently as president, and would love to continue to serve. During my years on the board I have helped our team organize events like the annual Journalism Awards Gala, facilitated the redesign of our website and have selected deserving high school and college students for scholarships. I’d like to continue to serve as a board member because I believe the future of journalism and those who are passionate about it remains strong despite the industry’s challenges.

I grew up in Orange County and started my journalism career at the Orange County Register as an intern before I was hired at the Daily Pilot in 2013. In 2018, I was promoted to the Los Angeles Times to cover breaking news across California. In January, I will begin covering Orange County for the Times. I approach my reporting with a focus on accountability and a passion for shedding light on issues that make Orange County such a unique place in California.


Kathy Hobstetter

I am an international journalist and have been a Board member for five years on the OC Press Club. I have really have enjoyed being a part of it.
I have a publication, The iJump Sports Business Journal, that has always been based here in the OC and covers the international show jumping horse business, which has a financial impact of millions on the economy and the people and businesses who “play” in that sport. I have lived in Orange County since 1965.

I truly love promoting or writing about just about anything and did extensive freelance writing before I opened my own magazine. I believe I bring to the OC Press Club an energy and enthusiasm for journalism that will be fun and exciting.

PS…Violette Murphy was my mother and I lived through her being one of the first journalists in the world who went to jail in 1961 for refusing to reveal a news source, groundbreaking at the time.


Patty Marsters

Patty Marsters has served on the board of the Orange County Press Club since 1998, acting in many roles, including president and secretary. For the past few years, she has focused her organizational skills on putting together the annual Excellence In Journalism contest. She previously was associate editor of OC Weekly, a publication she joined as an intern in 1995. Ms. Marsters also mentors aspiring writers and editors at Newport Harbor High School and co-leads a multilevel Girl Scout troop. In her spare time, Ms. Marsters reads for fun, creates baked goods, and rants at inanimate objects (such as her computer) about her grammatical and writing pet peeves. She prefers writing in the first person, but uses third person for these sorts of biographies. Ms. Marsters lives in Orange with her two daughters, two cats, and a very old goldfish named George.


Daniel Langhorne

I moved to Orange County from my hometown of Santa Barbara in 2008 to attend Chapman University. I wrote for the college newspaper, The Panther, for nearly four years before obtaining my B.A. in Political Science and English with an emphasis in Journalism. While attending Chapman, I started interning for the Orange County Register as a community blogger in Orange. In October 2012, I was hired as a staff writer covering Orange and Villa Park. I went on to cover the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum as well as housing, development, education, water and local politics in other Orange County cities.

Since leaving the Register in 2015, I have written for Law360, the Foothills Sentry, the Newport Beach Independent, the Laguna Beach Independent, Los Angeles Times Community News, and the California Business Journal. I’m currently managing editor for the Laguna Beach Independent and engagement editor for the nonprofit newsroom, The War Horse.

As an Orange County Press Club scholarship winner, I believe the press club plays an important role in fostering the next generation of journalists. The world needs journalists more than ever and I’d like the opportunity to help keep the press club strong.


Sonya Quick

I believe in the power of journalism. I see power in the act of impartial observers who seek the truth and report it. I see the critical value of an independent press that acts as the fourth estate. I see the difference in communities where reporting illuminates underserved populations. I see hope in opportunities for divided people to come together and engage in civil discourse.

I would like the opportunity to serve on the Orange County Press Club board in a time when journalism needs passionate defenders more than ever. I have seen firsthand the value journalism organizations, such as the Society of Professional Journalists and Online News Association, to serve and protect journalists. I have been an OC Press Club member for much of my time as a professional journalist and I recently redesigned the club’s website.

I have more than a decade of experience in leading efforts to create more connected journalism across devices, social platforms and communities. I am digital editor at Voice of OC where I manage online fundraising, marketing, engagement, digital storytelling and user experience. I am also an adjunct professor of digital journalism at Chapman University. Previously I was an editor, digital journalist and reporter at the Orange County Register for nearly a decade and I have freelanced for multiple platforms including OC Family magazine. My personal career goal is to continue finding ways to build sustainable news organizations that enable communities to be informed and engaged around local issues.


David Young

David N. Young is a working journalist and internationally recognized public affairs strategist who has worked in a variety of public capacities throughout his career. Currently, he is an editor with Community Media Corporation and has formerly served as editor of the Catalina Islander,
the Seal Beach Sun and other publications. Based for many years in Washington, D.C., he now lives and works in Southern California.

As a strategist, David has counseled local, state, and federal agencies, Fortune 500 companies, public officials and non-profit organizations. He was awarded the journalism award in high school, the telecasting innovation award in college and was first named to Who’s Who in America in 1994. He attended the LSU School of Journalism and studied broadcasting at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. His work has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Information Agency and others.

Bradley Zint

My name is Bradley Zint and I am a freelance journalist based in Orange County. Most of my full-time newspaper career was spent writing and editing at the Daily Pilot, part of the Los Angeles Times Community News division, here in O.C. But I also worked at newspapers based in Long Beach, Massachusetts and Alaska, covering every topic possible (even fishing) that wasn’t sports. Now I keep a busy freelance schedule while pursuing other opportunities. If elected to the Orange County Press Club board, I would work to make the annual awards dinner affordable and organize events that working journalists would find interesting. Thank you for your consideration.


Vote for your preferred candidates via SurveyMonkey

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.