Full list of 2018 San Diego SPJ award winners

The SPJ San Diego Pro Chapter is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 SPJ San Diego Area Journalism Awards Contest.

Click here for the list of first place, second place and honorable mention awards.

You’ll have to wait until the banquet to find out who won what!

We’re also proud to honor the 2018 Journalist of the Year: Andrew Keatts, assistant editor and senior investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego.

Please join us to celebrate Keatts and all of this year’s award winners at our annual banquet on Tuesday, July 17, at Kona Kai.

What: SD-SPJ 2018 awards banquet

When: Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Reception at 5:30 p.m., program starts at 7 p.m.

Where: The Kona Kai Resort & Spa, 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106. Cocktail hour on the Point Loma Terrace, banquet in the Ballroom.

Cost: $60 per person, $50 for students, $480 for reserved tables of eight

Registration: Please register and pay here: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07efg6vplwbaf14c02&oseq=&c=&ch=

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SD-SPJ 2018 Journalist of the Year announced

The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is thrilled to announce our 2018 Journalist of the Year: Andrew Keatts, assistant editor and senior investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego.

Local journalists produced lots of important work this past year, but our board believes Keatts’ work stands out for its depth, diligence and impact. His investigation into a 2016 tax measure pushed by SANDAG, the region’s planning agency, led to a staff shakeup and a state law overhauling the agency’s governance, oversight and auditing practices.

Keatts’ months-long investigation kicked off with a bombshell story two weeks before the 2016 election revealing that SANDAG officials’ $18 billion ballot measure relied on the assumption that San Diegans would spend far more than they had historically, meaning the agency’s projections would be off and that its long list of projects might never get done. Keatt’s tenacious reporting was just beginning.

He later reported that SANDAG staff had discovered the issue a year before the November election but never notified the public or the agency’s board.

Then Keatts reported that SANDAG had also failed to divulge major details about increasing project costs and changes in its revenue projections for a past tax measure, posing more problems for the list of projects it promised to complete.

Keatts’ stories spurred the SANDAG board to order an outside investigation that confirmed what he had reported — and led to the departure of the agency’s powerful longtime head executive and the passage of legislation meant to improve the agency’s accountability. Keatts’ dogged reporting reshaped one of the region’s most powerful public agencies and we are honored to recognize him as the 2018 Journalist of the Year.

Please join us to celebrate Keatts and all of this year’s award winners at our annual banquet on Tuesday, July 17, at Kona Kai. The full list of winners will be announced next week.

What: SD-SPJ 2018 awards banquet

When: Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Reception at 5:30 p.m., program starts at 7 p.m.

Where: The Kona Kai Resort & Spa, 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106. Cocktail hour on the Point Loma Terrace, banquet in the Ballroom.

Cost: $60 per person, $50 for students, $480 for reserved tables of eight

Registration: Please register and pay here.

SD-SPJ concerned about June 1 San Diego Unified email purge

On June 1, the San Diego Unified School District will delete thousands of emails from its server as part of a new policy enacted, the district says, to save money on data storage costs (the district hasn’t provided backup on financial reasons for the change). The only emails that won’t be deleted are those employees manually archive. Going forward, the district plans to delete all emails after one year.

The San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is concerned that important public records will be deleted in the email purge.

The new policy was introduced a year ago and approved by the district’s board of trustees, though it didn’t take effect immediately. At the time, we expressed concern about the policy’s lack of specifics, including whether employees would be properly trained on which emails to archive. We noted that other large California school districts retain emails for at least two years.

Since last July, we’ve regularly asked when the policy would take effect and what guidance and training staff was being given. We learned earlier this month that the policy would take effect June 1.

We continue to have concerns about the new policy. Despite repeated requests to the district over the last two weeks, we have yet to see any evidence that staff was adequately trained on which emails should be archived.

Californians Aware, a statewide group that advocates for government transparency, is also troubled by the change. Former San Diego City Councilwoman and longtime CalAware board member Donna Frye said the group believes the change may violate state law.

“The state law governing retention of school district disposable records, in effect, requires at least a three-year preservation period,” Frye said.

Additionally, attorney Cory Briggs says that he intends to sue the district for adopting the new policy.

San Diego SPJ urges the San Diego Unified School District to reconsider the serious concerns we and others have raised about the new policy — and to provide more detail on how it will be implemented — before deleting tens of thousands of public records from its server.

SD-SPJ Asks Mayor, City Council to Prioritize Public Records Ahead of Upcoming Fiscal Budget

On Thursday, the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists sent a letter to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and members of the City Council, asking staff to prioritize access to public records and information when allocating resources for the city’s upcoming fiscal year.

To read the letter, click here.

As stated in the letter, SPJ President Lisa Halverstadt and Advocacy Chair Tom Jones met with the city’s public records staff to discuss the results of a survey conducted on the city’s NextRequest public records system. More than 175 people took the survey, and many mentioned a need for additional city staff to process public-records requests and answer questions about them.  Of those surveyed, 46 percent said records were not released within the timelines initially offered by city staff.

SD-SPJ hopes the city will ensure it has adequate resources, both within the department managing the NextRequest system and within other individual departments, to respond to public-records requests.

The Board feels a more transparent government and access to information will result in a more informed San Diego community.