News & Events

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 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 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.

An Open Letter to Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do

We are writing to express our deep disappointment with Supervisor Andrew Do’s recent comments on the number of public records requests submitted to the county in recent months. The documents requested by news organizations, including Voice of OC, are owned by the public. County officials are obliged by hard-won state laws to produce these records for public inspection.

Journalists use public records to uncover facts that taxpayers deserve to know even when it’s uncomfortable for public officials to address. Supervisor Do’s belittling of these requests as an annoyance erodes public trust in journalists and the work we do at a time when our profession is under attack.

Supervisor Do’s comments were a disservice, not only to the journalists who cover the county, but also to the public he was elected to serve. 

We were also disturbed by the supervisor referring to the award-winning, nonprofit Voice of OC as “noise.” In the midst of a pandemic, the need for accurate and timely information has never been more critical. The men and women of Voice of OC deserve to be treated with professionalism by Orange County’s top elected officials. We expect more from our elected representatives and urge Supervisor Do to apologize.



The Orange County Press Club Board of Directors

Lillian Boyd

Ben Brazil

Hannah Fry

Alma Fausto

Kathy Hobstetter

Daniel Langhorne

Patrice Marsters

David N. Young

Bradley Zint

Note: Board Member Sonya Quick abstained from the discussion and vote on this letter as she is digital editor at Voice of OC.


[View this letter as a PDF.]

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,


Second Place: Nick Gerda, “OC Moves Millions From Health Agency to Help Cover Sheriff Overruns” (Voice of OC,


Third Place: Gabriel San Roman, “Ticket Masters: Anaheim Showers Supporters With Tickets to the Hottest Attractions in Town” (OC Weekly,


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,

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,

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,


Second Place: Susan Christian Goulding, “DNA kit reveals Tustin man’s surprise siblings and family secrets” (OC Register,


Third Place: Laura Bleiberg, “Brea’s Public Art Caretakers” (Voice of OC,


Best Round-Up or Best Of 

First Place: Christopher Trela, “Fun With Food at the OC Fair” (Newport Beach Independent,


Second Place: Jeong Park, “Your Guide to Garden Grove’s newly named Orange County Koreatown” (OC Register,


Third Place: Edwin Goei, “Discover the Next Level of Pho, Bang Mi and Bun at These Little Saigon Spots” (OC Weekly,


Best Business Story 

First Place: Jeff Collins, “Fallout from state’s rent control debate: More rent hikes” (OC Register,


Second Place: Jeff Collins, “Youths needed to fill construction jobs as openings rise” (OC Register,


Third Place: Jeff Collins, “A dynasty built on home sales: Curtain falls on Tarbell after 93 years” (OC Register,


Best Sports Story 

First Place: Joey Kaufman, “Graham Harrell Tasked With Reviving USC Offense With Some Air Raid Flair” (OC Register,

Comments: Well-written, fascinating tale


Second Place: Christopher Trela, “Newport Sailors Prepare for 50th Transpac Race” (Newport Beach Independent,

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,

Comments: An unexpected story, done well.


Best Arts/Culture Story 

First Place: Kedric Francis. “On Prints and Property” (Blue Door Magazine,

Comments: clever, beautiul, unique, well rounded


Second Place: Anthony Pignataro, “Dice Are How You Flex” (OC Weekly,

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,


Best Arts/Culture Review 

First Place: Peter Larsen, “Kanye West premieres debut opera Nebuchadnezzar at Hollywood Bowl” (OC Register,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

Comments: Fascinating story. Readers will repeatedly say to themselves, “I didn’t know that!”


Second Place: Hannah Fry, “Adulting Is Hard” (LA Times,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,

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,


Second Place: Mark D. Crantz, “The Winner Is . . .” (Laguna Beach Independent,




Best News Story

First Place: Elysse James, “Outreach, shelter beds help Anaheim police help homeless” (Behind the Badge,


Best Feature Story 

First Place: RJ Smith, “The Master” (Super Lawyers Magazine,


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,


Third Place: Lou Ponsi, “Guitarist, songwriter, athlete and DA investigator, Damon Tucker is a man of many talents” (Behind the Badge,


Best Music/Entertainment Story or Review 

First Place: Daniella Litvak, “Poor Yella Rednecks” (The Orange Curtain Revue,


Second Place: Shawn Price, “The 17th Door” (Halloween Every Night,


Third Place: Jackie Moe, “9 fun, inspiring stories from Broadway queen Betty Buckley” (Backstage SOCal,


Best Arts/Culture Story or Review  

First Place: Liz Goldner, “Yevgeniya Mikhailik: A Slow Conflict” (Art and Cake,


Second Place: Liz Goldner, “Orange County’s Aviation Heritage Lives On in Art at the Orange County Great Park” (KCET Artbound,


Best Food/Restaurant Story or Review  

First Place: Brad A. Johnson, “Where to Eat in Mexico City, part 2” (Brad A. Johnson, Food & Travel,


Second Place: Bradley Zint, “Westside Slice: Trenta Pizza and Cucina” (I Heart Costa Mesa,




Best Broadcast 

First Place: Shawn Price, “King Kong video” (Halloween Every Night,

Comments: Fun, interesting presentation.


Second Place: Shawn Price. “Alien 40th anniversary filmmakers” (Halloween Every Night,


Best Use of Multimedia 

First Place: Shawn Price, “Plan 9 review” (Halloween Every Night,

Comments: Good stuff, made me want to see the show.


Second Place: Shawn Price, “Sleepy Hollow” (Halloween Every Night,


Third Place: Joe Vargas, Henderson Police Shooting (Behind the Badge,


Best Podcast 

First Place: Keith Sharon, Mom Vs. Murderer (

Comments: Well done, compelling story.


Second Place: Joe Vargas, Behind the Badge (




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 (


Third Place: Brett Hillyard and Jonny Fuego, August 2019 cover of Blue Door Magazine (


Best Page Design 

First Place: Jonny Fuego, “Guo Wow!” for Blue Door Magazine (

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 (


Third Place: Jonny Fuego, “On Prints and Property” for Blue Door Magazine (


Best Graphic 

First Place: Nick Gerda and Sonya Quick, “OC Sheriff vs. Health & Social Services” (Voice of OC,

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,


Second Place: Dustin Snipes, “Phillip K. Wang, the Master” (Super Lawyers Magazine)


Third Place: Brett Hillyard, Kedric Francis (Blue Door Magazine,


Best Photo Essay 

First Place: Brett Hillyard, “Palms of the Californias” (Blue Door Magazine,

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,

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,

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,

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,

Comments: Beautifully written and researched profile. The accompanying photos really helped enhance the storytelling.


OC Press Club Accepting Entries for 2020 Awards Contest

The Orange County Press Club is now accepting awards contest entries for work published during the 2019 calendar year.

The annual awards contest is a great opportunity for professional journalists in Orange County to submit work for evaluation against other journalists in the region.

The awards gala where the award finalists are announced is also a unique moment each year for Orange County journalists to gather, network, relax and recognize the important role media plays in the community.

CLICK HERE for the awards contest categories and rules on submitting work for consideration.