Buy Tickets Today for the OC Press Club 2023 Awards Gala

The Orange County Press Club annual awards celebration is back.

The gala will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 15 at the Clubhouse at Anaheim Hills, 6501 E. Nohl Ranch Road in Anaheim.

Parking is free and we’ll have a cash bar.

As of June 12, we are at capacity for the 2023 Awards Gala!

We are keeping costs at previous levels for the gala tickets. But our costs have increased. Please consider an extra tax-deductible donation (we are a 501c3) below to support the gala and our work (supporting student scholarships and other similar work).

OC Press Club Joins Journalism Organizations in Calling on CA High School Principal to Drop Disciplinary Action Against NAHJ Academic Officer

The Orange County Press Club has signed on to the following joint action letter:


The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) in solidarity with a coalition of Southern California and national journalism organizations are calling on a California high school principal to immediately drop disciplinary action taken against teacher Adriana Chavira, a respected journalism mentor and NAHJ’s Academic At-Large Officer, for refusing to censor her students’ reporting.

The students at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School in the San Fernando Valley wrote a story published last fall about mandatory vaccinations for public school teachers. They named a teacher-librarian at their school who didn’t want to be vaccinated and didn’t show up for work.

The librarian asked Chavira to remove her name from the story. Chavira declined.  Students aren’t bound by federal HIPAA or by confidentiality/privacy laws to remove the librarian’s name. The story is factual, and Chavira has supported the students and their First Amendment right to name the teacher-librarian. California’s education code also upholds their right to exercise their freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

In response, Pearl High Principal Armen Petrossian notified Chavira last Thursday that she will be subject to a three-day, unpaid suspension. Chavira is appealing the action. The issue of censorship isn’t unique to Daniel Pearl High School. Over the years, attempts to censor student newspapers and punish educators who serve as news advisors have become far too common, mirroring the challenges facing journalists nationwide.

“The fear of repercussions from authorities can often cause emerging journalists to self-censor, producing a media landscape dominated by commentary and social media feeds rather than news stories that hold those in power to account,” said Yvette Cabrera, NAHJ President.  “Adriana Chavira has years of experience working with students to create journalism that matters. She is an invaluable resource to our next generation of journalists and a vital member of the NAHJ Board. She has our full support.”

High school is a foundational period in a student’s educational development. Attitudes toward democracy and how to engage in civil disagreement are forged within a school’s walls, and students should be nurtured and encouraged to  become active, engaged and responsible citizens. Principal Petrossian’s actions work contrary to this by attempting to silence the voices of student journalists and obstruct them from freely reporting a matter of public concern to their school community.

A 2022 Knight Foundation report on the First Amendment revealed that nearly 40% of high school students have not taken a single class on the First Amendment, despite its importance to all citizens, not just journalists. The report also found that while a majority of high school students believe that the First Amendment protects them personally, “they are far less likely to feel the protection of these rights than are college students, teachers and adults in America.”

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists also expressed its support for Chavira, and condemned Petrossian’s handling of the matter.

“SPJ/LA stands with our colleagues in the professional journalism community in protesting Daniel Pearl Magnet High School’s treatment of student newspaper adviser Adriana Chavira,” said Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, president of SPJ/LA. “The administration’s conduct dishonors the man for whom the school is named, a journalist who literally gave his life to the cause of informing his readers and reporting the truth. We urge them to reconsider their actions, and instead reaffirm their support for their faculty member and for robust, independent student journalism.”

Other Southern California and national journalism organizations also spoke up in defense of Chavira.

“High school journalism advisors train the next generation of journalists, and they should not be penalized for defending their students’ First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of the press,” said journalism professor Sharyn Obsatz, co-organizer of the Online News Association Los Angeles group.

Our organizations applaud Chavira’s commitment to the First Amendment and her students, and urge Principal Petrossian to do the right thing: rescind the suspension. We also call on the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is the second largest public school district in the country, to ensure that its administrators abide by the state education code and the Constitution to guarantee the rights of student journalists are protected.


Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists

National Press Photographers Association

Online News Association Los Angeles

Orange County Press Club

Radio Television Digital News Association

OC Press Club Mourns Courts Reporter

Jeanne Wright, who covered courts at the Register in the 1980s, passed away this year after a long battle with early Alzheimer’s. Colleagues remember Jeanne as a smart, beautiful, loving woman and great journalist with an infectious laugh. She is survived by her husband, Ralph Vartabedian, and their two adult children.

RSVP Now: OC Press Club Awards Gala

The Orange County Press Club annual awards celebration is back.

The gala will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 30 at the Clubhouse at Anaheim Hills, 6501 E. Nohl Ranch Road in Anaheim.

Gustavo Arellano of Los Angeles Times will be the guest emcee for the event along with Kedric Francis, editor-in-chief of Blue Door Magazine.

RSVP today. Purchase your tickets using the PayPal link below.


OC Press Club Opens 2022 Award Submissions

The OC Press Club is opening this year’s award submissions and looks forward to recognizing the county’s best journalism produced in 2021.

In addition to a continuing pandemic, 2021 was the year local journalists covered the siege of our nation’s capital, the effects of massive shipping delays, the tensions surrounding the gubernatorial recall election and more. Orange County journalists faced all these reporting challenges despite COVID protocols and an ever-shifting media landscape.

The OC Press Club is dedicated to shining a light on Orange County’s strong journalism community, and with the help of journalist judges across the country, it will recognize the great writing, photography, designing, illustrations, broadcasts and more from its members. New this year is the Journalist of the Year award, a nominated category which recognizes a journalist whose work stood out last year in the eyes of their peers.

View the full list of award categories and how to enter submissions HEREBe sure to review the rules and categories carefully, as some have been updated.

People who submit by April 24 will get the “early bird” rate of $5 per entry (rather than the full price of $10 per entry).

May 1 is the FINAL deadline and there will be no chance of the deadline being extended.

Orange County Press Club Welcomes 2021-22 Board of Directors

The new year’s Orange County Press Club Board of Directors welcomes two new members and a new president.

Daniel Langhorne will serve as the press club’s new president, new board member Brandon Pho will serve as vice president, and Shawn Raymundo joins the board for the first time.

“I’m humbled by my fellow board members’ confidence in me to lead the Press Club as its next president,” Langhorne said by email shortly after his election by the board Thursday.

“We’re committed to defending the First Amendment, mentoring the next generation of journalists, and diversifying our ranks to reflect the communities we cover.”

Langhorne has served on the Board of Directors since 2018. He is currently executive editor for the Laguna Beach Independent and engagement editor for a nonprofit newsroom, The War Horse. As an Orange County Press Club scholarship winner, he believes the Press Club plays an important role in fostering the skill and talent of young journalists, who are needed more than ever.

Incoming vice president Pho is a reporter for Voice of OC covering North Central Orange County. Pho was the senior editor for his college newspaper, The Daily Titan at Cal State Fullerton, where his work garnered first place honors at the Los Angeles Press Club and the College Media Association.

“It’s an honor to join the OC Press Club Board of Directors — and as Vice President, at that,” Pho said.

“I’m encouraged by the support I’ve gotten from the rest of the board and am chomping at the bit to outreach and expand our local press corps to include younger, Gen-Z journalists such as myself, as well as newsmakers with something new to say about our fast-changing region.

Patty Marsters continues as the board’s treasurer and administrator of the annual awards contest. She has served on the board of the Orange County Press Club since 1998, acting in many roles. For the past several years, she has focused her organizational skills on putting together the annual Excellence In Journalism contest. After 24 years at OC Weekly, she moved on to the similarly LW Weekly, the newspaper for Leisure World Seal Beach. She also mentors aspiring writers at Newport Harbor High School and co-leads a multilevel Girl Scout troop.

Bradley Zint will continue as board secretary. He is the assistant director of communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. Prior to joining the Diocese, he worked in newspapers, marketing and for B2B publications. Much of his newspapering career was spent at the Daily Pilot, part of the Los Angeles Times Community News division based in Orange County. In his role at the press club, he focuses on the annual awards dinner and organizing events for working journalists.

The other 2021-22 board members include:


Shawn Raymundo is a city editor for the San Clemente Times and is running for a seat on the Press Club Board for the first time. Here is his candidate statement:

I’m an Arizona State University alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. During my time at ASU, I worked for the school’s newspaper The State Press, where I held various positions including reporter, photographer and news desk editor.

Prior to living in South Orange County, I spent three years in the U.S. territory of Guam, working as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News. There, I covered the island’s legislature and governor’s office.

Now, with Picket Fence Media, I’m reporting on the city of San Clemente while also managing the production of the newspaper. My time here has allowed me to cover a range of issues such as nuclear waste and utilities, transportation and mobility, coastal environment, and the never boring subject of local government.

I believe I can be a great fit for the Press Club, and would enjoy the opportunity of collaborating with a group of talented journalists from the area.


Ben Brazil is a features writer for TimesOC. He previously covered Huntington Beach for the Daily Pilot. Before joining the Daily Pilot in September 2016, he was a reporter for City News Service, a Southern California-based news service.


Hannah has served as an OC Press Club board member for five years and most recently served as club President. She has advocated for press freedom both locally and statewide and has helped organize events such as the annual Journalism Awards Gala. Hannah is a Metro reporter covering Orange County for the Los Angeles Times. She joined the newspaper eight years ago as a reporter for the Daily Pilot, a Times Community News publication. Hannah covered breaking news for The Times for two years and was part of the team that was a 2020 Pulitzer finalist for its coverage of a boat fire that killed 34 people off the coast of Santa Barbara.


Kathy is an international journalist and has been an OC Press Club board member for five years. Her publication, the iJump Sports Business Journal, has always been based in Orange County. The journal covers the international show jumping horse business, which has a financial impact of millions on the economy and the people and businesses who are in the sport. She has lived in Orange County since 1965. She enjoyed promoting and writing about a wide variety of subjects and she wrote extensively as a freelance journalist before opening her own magazine.


Sonya Quick is a digital editor, reporter and educator with more than 15 years of experience in news. She is digital editor at Voice of OC where she manages online fundraising, marketing, engagement, digital storytelling and user experience. In addition to working at Voice of OC, she teaches digital journalism at Chapman University. Previously, she worked for eight years at the Orange County Register as a digital and engagement editor, reporter, infographics storyteller and as the Register’s first mobile editor. She has more than decade of experience in leading efforts to create more connected journalism across devices, social platforms and audience types. Her career of work includes editing, reporting, designing infographics, researching data, developing mobile apps, refining user experiences, managing fundraising efforts, engagement on social media, guiding newsroom groups towards transformation and designing complete marketing roll-outs.


David 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, has counseled local, state, and federal agencies, Fortune 500 companies, public officials and nonprofits. 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.

Orange County Press Club Seeking Journalists Across Mediums, Backgrounds to Step Up to Serve on Board

The Orange County Press Club is looking for journalists to apply for open seats on its board of directors.
In addition to planning the Press Club’s annual awards gala and contest, the board of directors also hosts 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 Press Club is looking for journalists from across a variety of mediums, publications and backgrounds to help fulfill this mission. Applicants for the board should send a short candidate statement by Oct. 15 to [email protected].
One of the goals of the current administration has been to expand the diversity of the board of directors to ensure that every journalist has a voice in Orange County.
“The Press Club is striving to better represent the broad diversity of Orange County both in demographics and across journalism mediums,” says Press Club President and LA Times Reporter Hannah Fry. “We’re not just looking for full-time reporters. We want our board to include freelancers, photographers, designers, audience engagement professionals and everyone in between. I’m optimistic this election will attract candidates who show how much Orange County journalism has to offer.”
Press Club members will vote to elect board members this fall.

2021 Orange County Press Club Awards: Video Announcement, In Memoriam and Winners List

The Orange County Press Club welcomes members to view a virtual presentation of the 2021 Excellence in Journalism award recipients. An in-person awards gala is scheduled to return in 2022.

Announcement Video

In Memoriam Video

Full Winners List


Best News Story

First place: Scott Schwebke

¨Even in the #MeToo age, this woman got nowhere trying to fight back against harassment,¨ Daily Breeze


Second place: Meghann Cuniff

¨Amid an increasing homeless population, Santa Ana fights with Orange County over jail releases,¨ Daily Pilot


Third place: Erika Ritchie

¨Two investigations underway to find cause of Marine Corps’ deadliest AAV training accident,¨ OC Register


Best News Feature Story

First place: Brandon Pho

“In South OC’s Wealthy, Mostly White School District, Students of Color Tell Stories of Racism, Harassment and Inaction,” Voice of OC


Second place: Erika Ritchie

“A year after Marine disappears on High Sierra hike, family still unsure of what happened,” OC Register


Third place: Scott Schwebke

“After 36 years and a troubled life, transgender veteran finally wins honorable discharge,” LA Daily News


Honorable Mention: Roxana Kopetman

“Vietnamese refugee convicted of murder is free after 23 years, faces possible deportation,” OC Register


Best Breaking News Story

First place: Noah Beisiada, Nick Gerda

¨Silverado Canyon Burns Again As Bond Fire Erupts Under High Winds,¨ Voice of OC


Second place: Andrew Turner

¨Baseball community mourns the death of Orange Coast College coach John Altobelli,¨ Daily Pilot 


Third place: Nick Gerda

¨OC to Ban all Public and Private Gatherings Under Emergency Health Order,¨ Voice of OC


Best Investigative Story

First place: Joe Nelson and Scott Schwebke

“Embattled Rialto Water District awards contracts to friends of new president,” San Bernardino Sun


Second place: Noah Biesiada

“The Great Park Tax: How Irvine Homeowners are Paying for the City’s Big Dream,” Voice of OC


Third place: Hannah Fry

“Kobe Bryant’s pilot had been disciplined by FAA,” LA Times


Best Series 

First place: Keith Sharon

“Loud in the Silence” series, OC Register


Second place: Joe Nelson and Scott Schwebke 

Series on the Rialto Water District, San Bernardino Sun


Third place: Norberto Santana Jr.

Series on the unemployed during the pandemic, Voice of OC


Best Beat Reporting 

First place: Jeff Collins

Housing and real estate, OC Register


Second place: Spencer Custodio

Angel Stadium sale, Voice of OC


Third place: Scott Schwebke

Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, LA Daily News


Honorable Mention: Deepa Bharath

Religion, OC Register


Best Public Affairs Story

First place: Beau Yarbrough

“Is a minimum 664 training hours enough to become a California police officer?” OC Register


Second place: Daniel Langhorne

“After swimmer deaths, OC Parks studies new gate for Table Rock Beach Access,” Laguna Beach Independent


Third place: Tony Saavedra

“Spate of deputy misconduct cases casts harsh spotlight on OC Sheriff’s Department,” OC Register

Judges’ Comments: “A very good explanation of an important concern.”


Best Feature Story

First place: Jonah Valdez and Ruby Gonzales

“First robbed of freedom by enslavement, then robbed of life by coronavirus,” OC Register


Second place: Sara Cardine

“Goat herd helps clear up a hillside headache at OC fairgrounds amphitheater,” Daily Pilot


Third place: Shawn Price

“Dialogue on Diversity and Racism with Multiracial Families,” Parenting OC


Honorable Mention: Gabriel San Román

“He was one of the first black cops in O.C. His memoir reveals struggles with racism and why he was forced out,” Daily Pilot


Best COVID-19 Feature Story

TIE: First place: Peter Lefevre

“What Do Local Performing Artists Do While They Wait to Get Back Onstage?” Voice of OC


TIE: First place: Norberto Santana Jr.

“Santana: Latinos in Santa Ana and Anaheim Confront a Day of The Dead Unlike Any Other,” Voice of OC


Second place: Deepa Bharath

“Hospital chaplains fill role of surrogate family members during times of isolation, depression, death,” OC Register


Best COVID-19 Fallout Story

First place: Jessica Peralta

“Can Pets Get COVID-19?” Parenting OC


Second place: Christopher Trela

Executive Dining, OC Business Journal


Third place: Shawn Price

“Mom Power— Giving Birth to Premature Twins During the Pandemic,” Parenting OC


Honorable Mention: Susan Christian Goulding

“Voiceless victims of coronavirus: Quarantined nursing homes plagued by stress and loneliness,” OC Register


Best COVID-19 Investigative Story or Series 

First place: Spencer Custodio, Nick Gerda and Noah Biesiada

“The Downplaying of Orange County’s Coronavirus Numbers”


Second place: Spencer Custodio and Brandon Pho

“Hospital Workers Ring Alarm Bells, Say Fountain Valley Hospital Could be Coronavirus Hotspot”


Third place: Ian Wheeler

“Lapses in state coronavirus data cause false plunge in Orange County case rates”


Best Election Coverage 

First place: Collin Breaux and Lillian Boyd

The Capistrano Dispatch/Dana Point Times 


Best Public Demonstration Story

First place: Brandon Pho and Julie Leopo

“Orange County Coastal Enclave Becomes Ground Zero of Police Violence Controversy and Protests,” Voice of OC


Best Round-Up or Best Of

First place: Brad A. Johnson

“Where to eat in Orange County in 2020: A map of the best places,” OC Register


Second place: Edwin Goei

“How an O.C. food critic navigates takeout and drive-throughs during the pandemic,” Daily Pilot


Third place: Anne Valdespino

“Perfect gift for the pandemic holidays? California’s fanciest chocolates,” OC Register


Best Business Story

First place: Jeff Collins

“Untethered from the office, urban tenants are flocking to the Inland Empire,” OC Register


Best Sports Story

First place: Kyle Goon

“For Lakers support staff, the bubble has been a frantic, collaborative effort,” OC Register


Second place: Andrew Turner

“Tony Ciarelli left his mark on high school track and field,” Daily Pilot


Third place: Richard Dunn

“Neither COVID-19 nor brain cancer can stop Jay Hewitt from completing an Ironman Triathlon,” OC Register 


Best Arts/Culture Story

First place: Joel Beers

“Stages Theatre, a Mainstay for 28 Years on the Local Theater Scene, Closes Its Doors,” Voice of OC


Second place: Roxana Kopetman

“When a Christmas tip leads to a story about family, work and music,” OC Register


Third place: Kristina Garcia

“Black Student Union Members from Garden Grove High Find Their Voice and Purpose,” Voice of OC


Best Arts/Culture Review

First place: Paul Hodgins

“Hodgins: ‘She Loves Me’ Serves as a Fine Directorial Debut,” Voice of OC


Second place: Liz Goldner

“New Exhibit Dirty Elements Subverts Classic Art Tropes,” Irvine Weekly


Third place: Laura Bleiberg

“American Ballet Theatre Takes Us to Ancient Greece in ‘Of Love and Rage’,” Voice of OC


Best Music/Entertainment Story

First place: Peter Larsen

“Jimmy Angel’s an 85-year-old teen idol with tales to tell of Pat Boone, a lucky teddy bear and the mob,” OC Register


Second place: Kelli Skye Fadroski

“No Doubt talks ‘Tragic Kingdom’ at 25: The tears, tours and triumphs behind the classic album,” OC Register


Third place: Kelli Skye Fadroski

“Tom Morello talks Chris Cornell, Rage Against the Machine’s first gig ahead of new release,” OC Register


Best Music/Entertainment Review

First place: Peter Larsen

“Patti Smith brings passion and poetry to the LA Phil’s Power To The People! festival,” OC Register


Second place: Kelli Skye Fadroski

“What it was like to see Andrew McMahon perform a concert to socially distanced fans at Drive-In OC,” OC Register


Third place: Simone Goldstone

“Soundcheck: Queen Tribute Band Reigns Supreme at OC Fairgrounds,” Newport Beach Independent


Best Health/Wellness Story

First place: Susan Christian Goulding

“COVID survivors already fight stigma and worry Trump’s diagnosis will make it worse,” OC Register


Second place: Deepa Bharath

“Have coronavirus shutdowns, restrictions spawned a mental health crisis?” OC Register


Best Environmental News Story

First place: Brandon Pho

“Annual High Tide Spurs Concerns About Future Safety of San Onofre Nuclear Waste Stock Near South OC,” Voice of OC


Second place: Sara Cardine

“Costa Mesa’s Fairview Park Wetlands, once seen as a boon, bogged down by deficiencies,” Daily Pilot


Third place: Brandon Pho

“Conservationists Split Over Poseidon Desal Project’s Potential to Help Bolsa Chica Wetlands,” Voice of OC


Best Education Story

First place: Sara Cardine

“Push for reopening Orange County schools without masks has pro-charter school links,” Daily Pilot


Second place: Andrew Turner

“‘You can’t see through the masks the smiles’: Students return to class in Laguna Beach,” Daily Pilot


Best Food/Restaurant Story

First place: Bradley Zint

“Any way you slice it, a cheesemonger’s profession is serious business,” Daily Pilot


Second place: Roy Rivenburg

“Will the pandemic hurt the candy-industrial complex?” LA Times


Third place: Anne Valdespino

“Local chefs are turning to Instagram to sell directly to consumers,” OC Register


Best Food/Restaurant Review

First place: Brad A. Johnson

OC’s Best Places to Eat 2020: And the Restaurant of the Year is…” OC Register


Second place: Edwin Goei

“Review: As restaurants pivot to delivery, this food reviewer tests out local delivery-only ‘ghost kitchens,’” Daily Pilot


Third place: Edwin Goei

“Review: La Farola Empanadas moves from the back of a Tustin liquor store to its own restaurant in Costa Mesa,” Daily Pilot


Best Travel Story

First place: Jessica Kwong

“Travel: Downtown Miami comes alive for Super Bowl LIV,” OC Register


Second place: Erika Ritchie

“Travel: Mammoth Mountain opens up after coronavirus shutdown,” OC Register


Best Profile

First place: Deepa Bharath 

“Pastor builds huge TikTok following by sharing passion for chai and spiritual conversation,” OC Register


Second place: Peter Larsen

“Nearly 98, this man shook President Truman’s hand, befriended Dr. Seuss and Stan Lee and hasn’t stopped dancing,” OC Register


Third place: Susan Christian Goulding 

“Los Alamitos councilman slammed for racist email in 2009 faces Black colleague in reelection bid,” OC Register


David McQuay Award for Best Columnist 

First place: Patrice Apodaca

Daily Pilot


Second place: Norberto Santana Jr.

Voice of OC


Third place: Brad A. Johnson

OC Register


Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story

First place: Susan Christian Goulding

“Chad and JT’s excellent adventure: Comics make viral video about Surf City’s ‘mask shortage,’” OC Register


Second place: Gabriel San Román

“‘You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time:’ ‘Combating Coronavirus’ comedy provides much-needed levity,” Daily Pilot


Third place: Mark Crantz

“Applesauced,” Laguna Beach Independent




Best News Story

First place: Greg Mellen

“Tustin’s police recruits remain dedicated to agency’s community policing, public safety mission,” Behind the Badge


Best Feature Story

First place: Greg Mellen

“CUSD student was finalist for Boys and Girls Clubs national award,” CUSD Insider


Second place: Elysse James

“Capo Valley High counselor recognized as High School Counselor of the Year,” CUSD Insider


Third place: Greg Mellen

“Aviation student set to soar at Tesoro High,” CUSD Insider 


Best COVID-19 Coverage 

First place: Elysse James

CUSD Insider


Second place: Cindy Arora

Behind the Badge


Best Music/Entertainment Story or Review

First place: Jessica Peralta

“Candle House Collective Creates Connections, One Creepy Call at a Time,” Halloween Every Night


Second place: Richard Chang

“UCI Music Professor Uses Technology to Build Bridges,” UC Irvine


Third place: Daniella Litvak

“Fireflies @ South Coast Repertory – Review,” the Orange Curtain Review 


Best Arts/Culture Story or Review

First place: Brad A. Johnson

“Hotel Review: Cara, Los Angeles,” Brad A. Johnson, Food & Travel


Second place: Gabriel San Román

“Santa Ana Artist Reflects on Día de los Muertos with ‘And Still I Rise’ Installation,” Libromobile 


Third place: Patty Marsters

“ICT streams performance of ‘Daisy,’ starting Oct. 24,” LW Weekly 


Best Food/Restaurant Story or Review

First place: Brad A. Johnson

“The Disappearing Art & Rhythm of Chinese Tea in Hong Kong,” Brad A. Johnson, Food & Travel




Best Video

First place: Jose Hernandez

“May 30, 2020, Orange County Protests,” Voice of OC


Second place: Jose Hernandez
“Annual High Tide Spurs Concerns About Future Safety of San Onofre Nuclear Waste Stock Near South OC,” Voice of OC


Third place: Shawn Price

“Summoning the Ghost of Jacob Marley,” Halloween Every Night


Best Use of Multimedia

First place: Jessica Peralta

“Maverick Theater’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’: These Zombies Really Can’t Be Killed,” Halloween Every Night


Best Use of Data

First place: Brooke Staggs, Ian Wheeler and Alicia Robinson

“How Did Your Neighbor Vote?” OC Register

at illustrated the data were clear, colorful and useful. The graphics told the story of the data.”  


Best Audience Engagement/Use of Social Media

First place: Norberto Santana Jr., Spencer Custodio and Sonya Quick

Voice of OC


Second place: Brad A. Johnson 


Third place: Jessica Peralta

Halloween Every Night 




Best Graphic

First place: Sonya Quick

Hate Crimes, Voice of OC


Second place: Nicole Lavanier

Escape the Overlook, Halloween Every Night


Third place: Sonya Quick (with James Gordon and Jacob LaGesse)

Live Election Results, Voice of OC


Best COVID-19 Graphics

First place: Jeff Goertzen, Kurt Snibbe and Nikie Johnson

Evolution of a Pandemic, OC Register


Second place: Sonya Quick, Caitlin Bartusick and Nick Gerda

Orange County CA Coronavirus Tracker (among several submitted), Voice of OC


Third place: Kaz Fantone

“This Is a Public Service Announcement—With Ghouls,” Halloween Every Night


Best Illustration

First place: Justin Pakneshan

Thriller, Halloween Every Night


Second place: Justin Pakneshan

Millicent Patrick, Halloween Every Night


Third place: Jenna Red

Edward Scissorhands, Halloween Every Night


Honorable Mention: Ashley Oliman

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, Halloween Every Night




Best News Photo

First place: Julie Leopo

Photo of Elsa Hernandez, Voice of OC


Second place: Lillian Boyd

Photo from BLM protest, Dana Point Times


Third place: Richard Koehler

Photo of pedestrian killed in hit and run, OC Register


Best Feature Photo

First place: John Fredricks

Photo of the Bond Fire, Epoch Times 


Second place: Brad A. Johnson

Photo of tom yum with fresh water lobster, OC Register


Third place: John Fredricks

Photo of Kwami Adzitso, Epoch Times


Best COVID-19 Coverage

First place: Steven Georges

Behind the Badge


Best Portrait

First place: Omar Sanchez

Photo of Reyna and Nina Gonzalas, Voice of OC


Second place: Julie Leopo

Photo of Joyce Perry, Voice of OC


Third place: Brad A. Johnson

Photo of Chef Susumu li at Sushi li, OC Register


Best Photo Essay or Slideshow

First place: Steven Georges

First Responder Gratitude Tour, Behind the Badge


Second place: Julie Leopo

Photos of a grocery truck, Voice of OC


Third place: Brad A. Johnson

Photos of best donuts, OC Register



The Real O.C. Award is given to the story, review, feature, column, photo or broadcast/video that best captures something special, surprising, telling or essential about Orange County. 


First place: Gabriel San Román

“The Fantasies of Ole Hanson, San Clemente’s Founding Father,” Gustavo Arellano’s Weekly


Second place: Brad A. Johnson

“Critic’s Notebook: Why I’m rating restaurants for their COVID-19 response,” OC Register


Third place: Brandon Pho, Julie Leopo

“In Wake of Raucous Protests, Santa Ana Residents Rally Around Clean Up,” Voice of OC

OC Press Club Opens Award Submissions for 2020’s Record Year

The OC Press Club is opening this year’s award submissions and looks forward to recognizing the county’s best journalism produced in extremely uncertain times.

The year of 2020 was filled with huge obstacles for local media: a pandemic, economic strife, wildfires and a national election. Orange County journalists faced all these reporting challenges while staffing continues to decline in the media landscape and while trying to maintain safe distancing protocols.

This year’s awards will be a bright spot in the media world as we gather together (later in 2021 in person or virtually) to celebrate how strong journalism informs, empowers and enlightens the community.

This year’s awards include new categories devoted to recognizing important work on topics such as COVID-19, natural disasters, demonstrations and the election.

> View the full list of award categories and how to enter submissions HERE.

> Work must be received by end of day Sunday, April 18.

Please reach out to [email protected] with any questions.

Live, Virtual Discussion: “The State of Transparency in Orange County: The Public, The Press and Local Government”

The Orange County Press Club is proud to present a live virtual discussion for the 2021 Sunshine Week.

This discussion will center around the current state of seeking public records and accessing local government open meetings amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, March 18 and will be streamed publicly on the Press Club Facebook page.

The virtual discussion is timed with Sunshine Week, the 16th annual nonpartisan and nationwide effort to bring to light the state of reporters and the public in accessing public documents and meetings. Accessing such information is vital to journalists and the public being informed and engaged with quality of life debates and decisions.

The debate will be moderated by OC Press Club Board Member Daniel Langhorne. He is managing editor for the Laguna Beach Independent and engagement editor for The War Horse, a nonprofit newsroom.

Panel guests include:

Norberto Santana, Jr. who is publisher and editor-in-chief of nonprofit newsroom Voice of OC and president of CalAware.

Shawn Raymundo who is city editor for the San Clemente Times.

Ian Wheeler who is a reporter with the Orange County Register.

The Press Club encourages the public, professional journalists and students to submit questions ahead of time by emailing [email protected]. Questions may also be asked live on Facebook during the discussion.