The Orange County Press Club hosts an annual awards contest to recognize outstanding Orange County journalism.

Entries are due each spring for work published or posted the previous calendar year. An annual awards gala is held each year to announce and honor the finalists.

Contest Archives

Finalists for previous annual awards contests. Each year's awards are for the previous calendar year (for example the 2019 year is for stories published during 2018).

20232021 20202019201820172016

2024 Awards Contest

The 2024 awards contest is for work published or posted between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2023.

Award Entry Payment

Entries submitted by 11:59 p.m. on April 14, 2024, will enjoy an "Early Bird" rate of  $5 per entry. Afterward, the regular entry price is $10 per entry. The FINAL DEADLINE for entries is 11:59 p.m. on April 21, 2024. The deadline will not be extended.

Please make your payment using this link: PAY FOR CONTEST ENTRIES



Applies to publications with a print and/or digital presence.

  • Best News Story
  • Best News Feature Story
  • Best Breaking News Story
  • Best Investigative Story or Series (may submit up to five related examples)
  • Best Beat Reporting (may submit up to five related examples)
  • Best Public Affairs Story
  • Best Feature Story
  • Best Long-Form Feature Story or Series (may submit up to five related examples)
  • Best Public Health Story
  • Best Political Story
  • Best Coverage of Hate or Extremism (may submit up to five related examples)
  • Best Round-Up or Best Of
  • Best Business Story
  • Best Sports Story
  • Best Arts/Culture Story
  • Best Arts/Culture Review
  • Best Music/Entertainment Story
  • Best Music/Entertainment Review
  • Best Health/Wellness Story
  • Best Environmental News Story
  • Best Education Story
  • Best Food/Restaurant Story
  • Best Food/Restaurant Review
  • Best Travel Story
  • Best Profile
  • Best Religion Story
  • David McQuay Award for Best Columnist (may submit up to five related examples)
  • Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story
  • Best Video
  • Best Use of Multimedia
  • Best Use of Data
  • Best Audience Engagement/Use of Social Media
  • Best Audio Storytelling
  • Best Cover
  • Best Page Design
  • Best Graphic
  • Best Illustration
  • Best News Photo
  • Best Sports Photo
  • Best Feature Photo
  • Best Portrait
  • Best Photo Essay or Slideshow
  • The Real O.C. Award (For the story, review, feature, column, photo or broadcast/video that best captures something special, surprising, telling or essential about Orange County)
  • Journalist of the Year (must submit a nomination letter from a person other than the named journalist, plus up to five examples of that journalist’s work. Shared bylines will not be accepted.)


Applies to content paid for by a sponsoring agency or internal communications.

  • Best News Feature Story
  • Best Feature Story
  • Best Music/Entertainment Story or Review
  • Best Arts/Culture Story or Review
  • Best Food/Restaurant Story or Review
  • Best News Photo
  • Best Feature Photo


  • All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, 2024. Entries received by 11:59 p.m. on April 14, 2024 are eligible for an "early bird" rate of $5 per entry. All entries received between April 15 and 21 will be charged $10 per entry. No entries will be accepted after April 21.
  • All entries are to have been published or posted between Jan. 1, 2023, and Dec. 31, 2023.
  • Entries should be submitted by individuals, not companies.
  • No works without a byline, artist credit, etc. will be accepted unless accompanied by an official statement from an editor or publisher verifying that the work is that of the entrant(s).
  • Entries are requested to be via link to an online source, except in the photography categories. PDFs will be accepted if no online source is available. Photo entries should be in jpg or PDF format, with one image per entry, unless it is in the Photo Essay category.
  • Any photographs/artwork/videos/etc. submitted via link must clearly indicate via the accompanying email which specific piece is being submitted. For example, if there is more than one photo on the page, the entrant must clearly indicate which specific image is being entered for Best News Photo, etc.
  • Any entry submitted via published layout with more than one story on the page must clearly indicate which story is being submitted for a single-story category.
  • Please do not alter entries from how the story/video/post/photo originally ran. The press club reserves the option to review all entries to ensure compliance.
  • Entrants must be current members of the Orange County Press Club. Applicable membership dues (journalist, $25; public relations, $50) must be up to date and are payable at the time of entry.
  • Email entries to [email protected]. Please include OC PRESS CLUB AWARDS ENTRY in the subject line. The body of the email should contain: entrant's name; address, phone number and personal email (in case the committee needs to contact entrant directly); category title; date(s) entry appeared; link to entry. Entrants must acknowledge in email that they have read and agree to these Rules and Procedures.
  • If multiple authors hold the byline for an article, series, etc., all authors must be Press Club members OR the submitting member MUST be a bylined author AND have obtained written permission from all other authors listed. ALL bylined names must be listed in the email accompanying the entry. Evidence of permission must be included with the entry.
  • Editors cannot submit stories/photos/videos/art/etc. on behalf of authors, photographers, artists, etc. unless author/photographer/artist/etc. is a paid member AND the editor has obtained written permission for those specific entries. Evidence of such permission must be included with the entry.
  • Graphics, illustrations, photographs, etc. are not considered co-bylined with an attached story.
  • There is no limit on the number of entries per journalist, but please submit a particular story in only one award category (the only exceptions are The Real O.C., Journalist of the Year, Best Beat Reporting, and Best Columnist). Entrants are limited to five singular entries per category. For those categories requiring multiple examples (i.e., columnist, beat or coverage), one fee is charged per overall entry in that particular category. Other than those categories, please submit only one story/post/video/photo per entry. For example, a Best Feature entry should include only ONE story, not multiple stories and/or posts on the same subject. Any excess submissions, as determined by the contest coordinator, will not be passed on to judges.
  • Entrants who submit more than the allotted amount of entries per category will have excess submissions, as determined by the contest coordinator based on order of receipt, deleted from those entries sent to judges. No refunds will be issued.
  • If combining entries via email, please send separate emails for each entrant. For example, one email for Candidate A's entries, then a second email for Candidate B's entries.
  • Categories requiring more than one example (i.e., columnist, beat or coverage) must include clear links to those particular stories/posts being entered. The Press Club reserves the right to exclude those entries without clear examples if the entrant does not respond to a clarification request within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Do not submit résumés and/or biographies for entrants. These will not be passed on to the judges.
  • The Press Club reserves the right to not award a winner in any category with fewer than five entries, or at the discretion of the judges.
  • Fees paid via PayPal are preferred. Go to for instructions on payments for entries and for membership dues payable via PayPal.
  • If fees must be paid by check, contact the press club via [email protected] for instructions. If fees are not received by the time the entries are sent to judges (expected date: May 2), the press club reserves the right to disqualify the applicable entries.
  • The Press Club will make every attempt to notify entrants if they are among the awards finalists (placing first, second, third or honorable mention, where applicable).
  • Details of the announcement of winners and distribution of trophies/certificates will be released at a later date.