2009 Excellence in Journalism Awards Winners

A total of 169 local journalists took home awards in 120 different categories at the Society of Professional Journalists San Diego Pro Chapter’s annual awards banquet Thursday, June 25, at the Bali Hai.

spjfallbrook

The San Diego Pro Chapter received 557 entries for the 2009 San Diego Area Excellence in Journalism Awards Contest, which included categories for Daily Reporting & Writing; Non-Daily Reporting & Writing; Newspaper Design, Photography & Headlines; Newspaper Special Sections; Online; Magazines; Television/Video; Radio/Audio; College Media; and five special prizes. The special prizes include the Sol Price Prize for Responsible Journalism; the First Amendment Award; the Herbert Lockwood “Woody” Award, which honors the best in humor writing; the Diversity Prize; and the James Julian Memorial Award for best community service story or series.

SPJ also partnered with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties to present the Tom Adler High School Journalism Award, a new annual award established to honor a high school newspaper that has shown, through its publication, a dedication to the cause of civil liberties.

In what may be a sign of the changes in San Diego’s evolving media landscape, this year’s most popular awards contest category was Non-Daily Reporting and Writing, which had 162 entries. The College Media category also had a strong showing with 109 entries.

“We are very pleased that we had such a terrific turnout for the awards contest, especially in these difficult times for journalists,” SPJ-San Diego chapter president Jodi Cleesattle said. “Even in the face of layoffs and budget cuts, we have a lot of truly great journalism to celebrate in San Diego.”

Media consultant Jim Brady, who resigned as executive editor of washingtonpost.com in December, gave the keynote speech at the awards banquet. Former NBC 7/39 reporter Ken Kramer and former San Diego Union-Tribune family editor Jane Clifford served as emcees for the awards presentation, and ACLU legal director David Blair-Loy presented the Tom Adler High School Journalism Award.

The winners, and judges’ comments, are attached.
SPECIAL AWARDS
Tom Adler High School Journalism Award. This new annual award was established to honor a high school newspaper that has shown, through its publication, a dedication to the cause of civil liberties. The award, which comes with a $1,000 cash prize, is named for Tom Adler, a former ACLU Legal Committee member and board member and a frequent cooperating attorney, in recognition of his legal work to stop censorship of student journalists, and is funded by the Adler Foundation.

The award goes to: The Fallbrook Unified High Schools’ Tomahawk newspaper staff and adviser Dave Evans, for their efforts in challenging the censorship by the high school principal in the fall of 2007 and May 2008 of a student article and an editorial. The article was about the school board’s buying out the former superintendent’s contract for $320,000 after several years of tumultuous relations with teachers, and the editorial expressed two students’ objections to sex education that teaches only abstinence. School newspaper adviser Dave Evans reported the censorship to the school board president, and, in retaliation, the principal removed Evans, canceled the journalism class, and eliminated the school newspaper by turning it into a campus club. The students and their adviser sued the school district in November 2008 after attempts to resolve the issues with the school district failed. The lawsuit continues, seeking reinstatement of the newspaper class and its adviser

Sol Price Prize for Responsible Journalism. This award goes to a journalist whose work not only meets ethical standards but also shows uncommon sensitivity to issues. This journalist pursued truth in the face of such obstacles as unpopularity, economic retribution or physical harm.

The award goes to: Amy Isackson and Vicente Calderon, KPBS, and Tijuanapress.com, for “Border Battle: Bringing Home the Drug War.”

Judges’ Comments: The clear winner. This is an outstanding collection of hard work, notable for its range and sustained quality. The series tackles a huge story without ever resorting to sensationalism or gloss. Well done.

First Amendment Award. This award honors the story, series or commentary that best spotlights First Amendment issues.

The award goes to: Tom Pfingsten, Gary Warth & the Staff of the North County Times, for a series of articles that ran July 19, July 23, November 11, November 14 and December 17, 2008.

Judges’ Comments: This series of stories is thorough and well-done.

Herbert Lockwood “Woody” Award. This award honors the best in local humor writing and is named for San Diego’s legendary journalist, humorist and historian, Herbert “Woody” Lockwood, who passed away in February of this year at age 91. Woody wrote and edited for the Pacific Beach Sentinel, La Mesa Scout, San Diego Independent, San Diego Daily Transcript and San Diego Metropolitan, and he also wrote several humorous books on San Diego history.

The award goes to: Gary Warth, North Country Times, for his columns “Buyout,” “Chihuahuas,” and “Tax Form.”

Judges’ Comments: Warth has a well-honed sense of humor evident in his columns. He and Irv Erdos make North County Times an enjoyable read.

Diversity Prize. This award honors either a story or series that provides outstanding coverage of communities that are not usually represented in local media, or an organization that deserves praise for its outstanding inclusion of diverse voices in everyday news coverage.

The award goes to: Leslie Berestein, San Diego Union-Tribune, for “Illegal immigrant workers drive down hard road.”

Judges’ Comments: Berestein’s story on the immigrant beach border point was both poignant and insightful and not a typical immigration story at all. She works hard to take a new look at an old story. Well done.

James Julian Memorial Award. This award is named for the late Dr. James Julian, a journalism professor at San Diego State University who taught media law. It goes to the best community service story or series in a newspaper with a circulation of less than 65,000.

The award goes to: Denis Grasska, The Southern Cross, for “Marines and Families Turn to CREDO for Spiritual Support, Interpersonal Healing.”

Judges’ Comments: Nice story.

COLLEGE MEDIA
Best Newspaper
2nd Place: The Summit
1st Place: City Times Staff, City Times

Judges’ Comments: Good use of color, clean layout.

News Story – Print/Online.
Honorable Mention: Sean Campbell & Vanessa Nevarez, Southwestern College Sun – “Board Extends Chopra’s Contract”
2nd Place: Whitney Lawrence & Alissa Wisniewski, City Times – “Face-Lift Begins for City College”
1st Place: Lauren Manary, Southwestern College Sun – “President denies plagiarism”

Judges’ Comments: Good angles to the story.

In-Depth Reporting Story – Print/Online.
2nd Place: Wendy Fry, The Daily Aztec – “Original Ballot Included Pub”
1st Place: Gabriel Orendain-Necochea, Corle Huffman and Sean Campbell, Southwestern College Sun – “Vote Green”

Judges’ Comments: Good research

Feature Story – Print/Online.
Honorable Mention: Albert H. Fulcher, Southwestern College Sun – “Awakening”
2nd Place: Ana Laura Gomez-Salcido, Southwestern College Sun – “More Respect, Less Crime is Chief’s National City Formula”
1st Place: Heidi Stenquist, City Times – “The Twilight Zone Called Craigslist”

Sports Story – Print/Online.
Honorable Mention: Mayumi Kimura, City Times – “Trial and Triumph”
2nd Place: Edward Lewis, Daily Aztec – “Tight End Won’t Quit”
1st Place: Eric Shannon, Daily Aztec – “Darren Mougey”

Judges’ Comments: Standout profile of an athlete, his motivations on and off the field

Arts/Entertainment Story – Print/Online.
Honorable Mention: Lauren Ventura, The Daily Aztec – “Up Close Q-and-A with Sexy Marisa Tomei”
2nd Place: Heather Richards, Southwestern College Sun – “Experience Yields Results on ‘42nd Street’ Set”
1st Place: Angel Huracha, Southwestern College Sun – “Exhibiting the culture of America”

Review/Criticism – Print/Online.
Honorable Mention: Anya Moberly, Daily Aztec – “Santogold brings back 80s beats”
Honorable Mention: Sonjiala Hotchkiss, City Times – “Escape themed classic selected for spring break reading”
2nd Place: Lauren Ciallella, City Times – “Urban solace brings wellness to your wallet”
1st Place: Kadhja Bonet, City Times – “Lee’s ‘City’ is a layered sucker treat”

Judges’ Comments: Well written, engaging subject

Column – Print/Online.
2nd Place: Luis Bahena, City Times – “Live & Learn”
1st Place: Albert H. Fulcher, Southwestern College Sun – “The Human Chord”

Judges’ Comments: Thought-provoking, wide topic range, I enjoyed reading each of the columns

News or Feature Series – Print/Online.
Honorable Mention: The Daily Aztec Staff, The Daily Aztec – “Last Call for On-Campus Pub”
2nd Place: Rebecca Niebla, Southwestern College Sun – “Better Angels’ Journey for Human Rights”
1st Place: Vanessa Nevarez, Southwestern College Sun – “Sealing Off America”

Judges’ Comments: This is an evocative enlightening look at a wall that divides the countries.

Headline – Print/Online.
Honorable mention: The Daily Aztec, The Daily Aztec – “Bong Ban Goes Up in Smoke”
2nd Place: Serina Duarte, Southwestern College Sun – “The Coyote Problem leaves fans howling for its music”
1st Place: Serina Duarte, Southwestern College Sun – “From Tree to Shiny Tree”

Judges’ Comments: This is a terrific headline, especially considering the subject matter and San Diego’s proximity to the ocean.

Photography – Print/Online.
Honorable Mention: Glenn Connelly, Daily Aztec – “Wade Scores”
2nd Place: Andrew Huse, Daily Aztec – “Tight Squeeze”
1st Place: David J Olender, Daily Aztec – “Female diver – Aquaplex”

Judges’ Comments: Nice detail, good action.

Layout and Design – Print/Online.
Honorable Mention: Terri Pargas, The Daily Aztec – “The Subways: All or nothing”
2nd Place: Andres Juarez, The Daily Aztec – “Don’t Vote*”
1st Place: Terri Pargas, The Daily Aztec – “Local Bands”

Judges’ Comments: This is a reader-friendly page that packs in a lot of information in a modern accessible format.

NEWSPAPER DESIGN, PHOTOGRAPHY & HEADLINES
KEN: News Design – Single Page, Daily.
2nd Place: Gabriel Orendain-Necochea, Southwestern College Sun
1st Place: Aimee Lastrella, Southwestern College Sun – “Issue 2”

Judges’ Comments: An attractive page with poor art – to the designer’s credit.

Feature Design – Single Page, Daily.
2nd Place: Esmeralda Ramirez, Southwestern College Sun – “Awakening”
1st Place: Almendra Carpizo and Gerardo Rocha, Southwestern College Sun – “Touching all the bases”

Judges’ Comments: A lot of elements, but handled pretty well.

News Design – Single Page, Non-Daily.
2nd Place: Michael S. Domine, San Diego Business Journal – “Gaming outlet and PC shop on upward track”
1st Place: Forest Rhodes, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “More potent dope than the hippies smoked”

Judges’ Comments: Excellent use of limited elements.

Feature Design – Single Page, Non-Daily.
2nd Place: Marta Klass, San Diego Business Journal – “Finance – small business quarterly”
1st Place: Marta Klass, San Diego Business Journal – “Real estate, construction, general contractors”

Judges’ Comments: All elements harmonize to tell the story.

Original Illustration or Drawing.
Honorable Mention: Michele Suthers, City Times – “Proposition 8”
2nd Place: Michele Suthers, City Times – “Make mine a McDouble”
1st Place: Michele Suthers, City Times – “Skip the Trip”

Judges’ Comments: Eye-catching illustration is well-designed & used.

News Photo.
2nd Place: Mark Rojas, Southwestern College Sun – “Yes we did!”
1st Place: Paul Gallaher, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Major Market draws winner of trip ‘anywhere’”

Judges’ Comments: Grocer photo captures the action.

Feature Photo.
2nd Place: Lucette Moramarco, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “A couple heads out on a trail”
1st Place: Esmeralda Ramirez, Southwestern College Sun – “Runaway Boy”

Judges’ Comments: Powerful photo is poorly played. Note the outstretched hand.

Sports Photo.
Honorable Mention: Paul Gallaher, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Call me caveman”
2nd Place: Paul Gallaher, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Coming up for air”
1st Place: Jamie Scott Lytle, North County Times – “Heart Breaker”

Judges’ Comments: Newsy photo captures the game’s key moment.

Photo Essay.
Honorable Mention: Carlos Maia and David McAtee, City Times – “Grow, man, grow”
2nd Place: Marianna Ricalde, Southwestern College Sun – “From Tree to Shiny Tree”
1st Place: Paul Gallaher, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Busy bees play key role in Fallbrook crops”

Judges’ Comments: Good photos, would have benefited from a tighter edit.

News Headline.
2nd Place: James Laurin, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Investors vote ‘buy’”
1st Place: James Laurin, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Foreign oil producers have U.S. over barrel”

Judges’ Comments: Clever headline faithfully captures essence of story.

Feature Headline.
Honorable Mention: Brad Sondak, San Diego Business Journal – “In roundabout way, Bird Rock businesses get boost”
2nd Place: Brad Sondak, San Diego Business Journal – “It’s one, two, (and that’s it) strikes you’re out at Chargers games”
1st Place: James Laurin, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Turn the other chic”

Judges’ Comments: Great headline grabs reader’s attention while capturing the story.

NEWSPAPER SPECIAL SECTIONS
Special Section.
Honorable Mention: Julie Gallant, San Diego Business Journal – “Bicyclist Spins Frame Business”
2nd Place: Julie Gallant, San Diego Business Journal – “Construction Sector Takes a Pounding”
1st Place: SignOnSanDiego.com, San Diego Union-Tribune Staff, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Season’s Best”

Judges’ Comments: This is a wonderfully conceived and well-executed special section that makes for easy and informative reading.

MAGAZINES
Investigative/Enterprise Story.
1st Place: Peter Wilkinson, San Diego Magazine – “Murder in Paradise?”

Judges’ Comments: Excellent, fascinating and smartly written crime story.

Feature Story.
2nd Place: Mark Sauer, San Diego Magazine – “The Education of Mr. J”
1st Place: S.D. Liddick, San Diego Magazine – “The Devil and Gary Aguirre”

Science/Technology/Health Story.
2nd Place: Beth Wood, SD Health –”Calculating Which Program – Diet Comparison”
1st Place: Bob Rowland, San Diego Magazine – “Will We Live Forever?”

Judges’ Comments: An easy choice. A fascinating story on the genetics of aging.

Sports Story.
1st Place: Tom Cushman, San Diego Magazine – “A lot of Character & A lot of Characters”

Judges’ Comments: An amazing story about a remarkable team. The clear winner.

Arts/Entertainment Story.
Honorable Mention: Nicole Larson, San Diego Pets – “35 summer pleasures to share with your canine best buddy”
2nd Place: Julie Reeder, Village Lifestyle – “Mission Theatre in a league of its own”
1st Place: Mark Sauer, San Diego Magazine – “A Walk with Art at Salk”

Judges’ Comments: What’s compelling about this story is the interesting woman artist at the heart of the tale.

Review/Criticism.
Honorable Mention: David Nelson, San Diego Magazine – “Vigilucci’s Seafood, Steak & Chop House”
2nd Place: Pat Launer, San Diego Jewish Journal – “Ill-Fated Fortress: Beaufort”
1st Place: Pat Launer, San Diego Jewish Journal – “Dayyenul: ‘People of the Book’”

Judges’ Comments: Launer’s reviews are as informed and well researched as they are engaging.

Column.
2nd Place: Joe Naiman, San Diego Karaoke News – “Joe Naiman’s Column”
1st Place: Christy Scannell, Catholic Couples/Marriage Partnership – “Life Together”

Judges’ Comments: Beautifully written and insightful columns on everyday joys and conflicts.

ONLINE
KEN: News Site – Staff of Five or Fewer People.
Honorable Mention: La Jolla Light newspaper online, lajollalight.com
2nd Place: San Diego Magazine online, sandiegomagazine.com
1st Place: NurseZone.com

Judges’ Comments: A niche news site with national reach and an active online community.

News Site – Staff of Six or More People.
Honorable Mention: North County Times online, NCTimes.com
2nd Place: San Diego Union-Tribune online, SignOnSanDiego.com
1st Place: voiceofsandiego.org

Judges’ Comments: A hyper-local news site with a pioneering business model and in-depth investigative coverage.

Entertainment Site.
1st Place: San Diego Union-Tribune online, SignOnSanDiego.com

Judges’ Comments: An interactive site for local events with insider knowledge but outsider appeal.

Multimedia Package.
Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Malloy and Michael Countis, The Daily Transcript, sddt.com – “F/A 18 crashed in University City”
2nd Place: Amy Isackson and Vicente Calderon, kpbs.org – “Border Battle: Bringing Home the Drug War”
1st Place: Lori Weisberg, SignOnSanDiego.com – “Family Fun”

Judges’ Comments: Clean presentation, appetizing way to present the story of a local business.

Produced Video for Web Use.
2nd Place: Carlos Rico and Michael Countis, The Daily Transcript, sddt.com – “Home Builders blitz”
1st Place: Yvette De La Garza, SignOnSanDiego.com – “Tattoo, a shave and a cup of Joe”

Judges’ Comments: Beautifully shot video, interesting subject, well-edited.

Design.
2nd Place: NCTimes.com
1st Place: SignOnSanDiego.com

Judges’ Comments: Large multi-media section, easy to navigate, clean web 2.0 look.

Photography – Single Photo or Series.
2nd Place: Paul Gallaher, Valley News – “Swimming with pride”
1st Place: Derrik Chinn and Yvette De La Garza, SignOnSanDiego.com – “Casa del Tunel”

Judges’ Comments: Beautiful portrayal of place. Liked the series of photos within the slide show.

Blog.
Honorable Mention: Kristen Castillo, KGTV, 10news.com – “Kristen Castillo Blogs”
2nd Place: Gloria Penner, kpbs.org – “Political Fix”
1st Place: Beth Accomando, kpbs.org – “Cinema Junkie”

Judges’ Comments: Insightful and well cross-referenced, establishes an expertise and entertains.

RADIO/AUDIO
Serious Feature Story.
Honorable Mention: Ed Joyce, KPBS – “Fire Survivor”
2nd Place: Ana Tintocalis, KPBS – “Gang Violence Kills Two”
1st Place: Amy Isackson, KPBS – “Tijuana Kidnappers Targeting Doctors”

Judges’ Comments: Involving account of drug thugs escalating violence past traditional boundaries… frightening.

Light Feature Story.
Honorable Mention: Ana Tintocalis, KPBS – “Star Spangled Spirit: Oh Say, Can You Sing?”
2nd Place: Beth Accomando, KPBS –”You Can’t Keep a Good Zombie Down”
1st Place: Kenny Goldberg, KPBS – “Makeup”

Judges’ Comments: Draws the listener entertainingly with teen girl’s recitation of the personal hygiene products she uses, and becomes informative report on possible effect of chemicals on teen hormones.

Talk/Interview.
2nd Place: Kevin Finnerty, KOGO AM 600 – “The Movie Guys – Worst Remakes”
1st Place: Gloria Penner and Hank Crook, KPBS – “Editors Roundtable,” September 19, 2008

Judges’ Comments: Well-spoken guests, tension in the viewpoints, good discussion.

Regular Beat.
2nd Place: Ed Joyce, KPBS – Environment Beat
***Tie for 1st Place***
1st Place: Ana Tintocalis, KPBS – Education Beat and
1st Place: Amy Isackson, KPBS – Border Beat

Judges’ Comments: Competitive field of reporters doing solid work. Tintocalis provides a fascinating window into public education; Isackson brings out real life drama in her border beat.

Criticism or Commentary.
2nd Place: Pat Launer and Mike Rovatsos, KSDS – “Corpus Christi”
1st Place: Beth Accomando, KPBS – “Film Chat: Diary of the Dead”

Judges’ Comments: Articulate observations in a conversation about a new zombie film and its veteran director

Use of Sound.
2nd Place: Kevin Finnerty, KOGO AM 600 –”Heath Ledger Remembered”
1st Place: Ed Joyce, KPBS – “Ocean Noise”

Judges’ Comments: Well-done use of sound in a story about undersea sound!

Community Service – Program or Series.
2nd Place: Tom Fudge and Hank Crook, KPBS – “These Days: Cross-border Pollution”
1st Place: Alison St. John, KPBS – “In the Food Line”

Judges’ Comments: Good on-the-ground view of the food bank ambience, bringing the need alive through the voices of people on scene.

News or Feature Series (any subject).
1st Place: Alison St. John, KPBS – “Wildfire: Are we ready for the next one?”

Judges’ Comments: Important information on an enduring California concern.

TELEVISION/VIDEO
Live Continuous Coverage – 60 Minutes.
1st Place: Doris Lewis, Steve Fiorina and John Suarez, 10 News KGTV – “FA18 Navy Fighter Plane Crash”

Judges’ Comments: Way to be all over the story. In the air and on the ground. Well done!

Serious Feature – Produced and Aired Same Day.
1st Place: Steve Fiorina, 10 News KGTV – “D’Aoust – TJ Homes”

Judges’ Comments: Very moving story. Beautiful feature with daily news connection.

Serious Feature – Preproduced.
1st Place: Lauren Reynolds, JW August, Michael Gonzalez and Ramon Galindo, 10 News KGTV – “Military Gangs”

Judges’ Comments: Very well done in-depth look at an underground culture many do not know about.

Light Feature – Preproduced.
Honorable Mention: David Brooks and Anne Maclachlan, SignOnSanDiego.com – “Princess on a Mission”
2nd Place: Chip Franklin, kogo.com – “Who’s smarter than soccer moms?”
1st Place: David Brooks and Keli Dailey, SignOnSanDiego.com – “Technomania Circus”

Judges’ Comments: Beautifully shot & edited. Great use of interviews to tell the story.

Sports Story.
1st Place: Yvette De La Garza, SignOnSanDiego.com – “Instructor’s passion for life and sport make him a champion”

Judges’ Comments: Wonderful use of NAT sound and letting pictures and people tell the story.

Investigative/Enterprise – Single Story.
2nd Place: Joanne Faryon, KPBS TV – “Green yard waste dumped into landfills”
1st Place: JW August, Heidi Ortiz, Juliette Vara and Christian Cazares, 10 News KGTV – “Database Delay”

Judges’ Comments: Another great investigation by this team using open records to expose a national issue.

Investigative/Enterprise – Series.
1st Place: JW August, Lauren Reynolds, Felicia Kit and Michael Gonzalez, 10 News KGTV – “Backyard Bombs”

Judges’ Comments: Good background research to support content and interviews with people who bring a face to a decades-old issue.

Criminal Justice Report – Single Story or Series.
1st Place: JW August, Felicia Kit, Lauren Reynolds and Michael Gonzalez, 10 News KGTV – “Use of Force”

Judges’ Comments: Great use of public records requests to get information to tell a relevant story.

Business/Consumer Report – Single Story or Series.
1st Place: JW August, Lauren Reynolds, Felicia Kit and Michael Gonzalez, 10 News KGTV – “Car Seat Rentals”

Judges’ Comments: Relevant news story to any family. Raising awareness to consumers. Well done!

Documentary – 30 Minutes or More.
2nd Place: 10 News I-Team, 10 News KGTV – “Special I-Team Report”
1st Place: Joanne Faryon, Megan Burke, Guillermo Sevilla and Erica Simpson, KPBS TV – “Maxed Out!”

Judges’ Comments: Well-written and produced. News that affects a growing number of people told through emotional stories.

Community Service – Program or Series.
2nd Place: Kristen Castillo, Juliette Vara, Michael Gonzalez and JW August, 10 News KGTV – “DTV Test and Phone Bank”
1st Place: Joanne Faryon, Megan Burke, Erica Simpson, Will Carless, Roland Lizarondo and Guillermo Sevilla, KPBS TV – “Getting By”

Judges’ Comments: Town Hall approach helps bring people into stories. Another well-written production by this team.

NON-DAILY REPORTING & WRITING
JANE: Breaking News Story.
Honorable Mention: Debbie Ramsey, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Curfew sweep leads to 7 arrests”
2nd Place: Debbie Ramsey, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Arrests made in 2 violent assault cases”
1st Place: Joe Naiman, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Community loses dedicated leader”

Judges’ Comments: Comprehensive.

Non-Deadline News Story.
Honorable Mention: Amanda Sounart, NurseZone.com – “Hospitals infiltrated by community-based superbug”
2nd Place: Connie Lewis, San Diego Business Journal – “Eatery listings abound, but fewer buyers biting”
1st Place: Jon Campbell, The Star News – “Moonlighting Chief of Staff”

Judges’ Comments: Entry rises to the top because it holds public officials accountable.

Feature Story.
Honorable Mention: Andrea Verdin, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Youth succeed with help of boxing coach”
2nd Place: Ned Randolph, San Diego Business Journal – “Recruiting Generation Y”
1st Place: S. Michael Steinhour, sandiegomagazine.com – “Good days. Bad days”

Judges’ Comments: The easy choice. Moving piece written very cleanly.

Investigative/Enterprise Story – Single Subject.
Honorable Mention: Heather Chambers, San Diego Business Journal – “Fight for flight: Gliders oppose research facility”
2nd Place: Ned Randolph, San Diego Business Journal – “Metal thieves growing bolder at building sites”
1st Place: Jon Campbell, The Star News – “Costly repair kicked to curb because of budget shortfalls”

Judges’ Comments: Tightly written & nicely sourced.

Business Story.
Honorable Mention: Helen Kaiao Chang, msnbc.com – “Your insurance policy is probably safe”
2nd Place: Mike Allen, San Diego Business Journal – “Craft beer taking larger gulps”
1st Place: Heather Chambers, San Diego Business Journal – “Cutting costs”

Judges’ Comments: Solid fresh reporting, grounded in data.

Real Estate Story.
Honorable Mention: Debbie Ramsey, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Homeowners await developer’s final plan”
2nd Place: Ned Randolph, San Diego Business Journal – “Quarry Falls plan has developers divided”
1st Place: Andrea Verdin, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Golf Course Closed; Multiple Problems Cited”

Judges’ Comments: A very thorough job of unraveling a complicated, private sector marketing disaster gone awry. Really enjoyable.

Science/Technology/Health Story.
Honorable Mention: Brad Graves, San Diego Business Journal – “He who waits, wins”
2nd Place: Heather Chambers, San Diego Business Journal – “Health care in the hands of machines”
1st Place: Heather Chambers, San Diego Business Journal – “Orphans of the drug industry”

Judges’ Comments: Nice, in-depth look at a little known problem. Great writing.

Education Story.
1st Place: Emily Alpert, voiceofsandiego.org – “Deterred from Diplomas”

Judges’ Comments: Soundly reported.

Political/Government Story.
2nd Place: Connie George and Judy Winter Meier, Borrego Sun – “Revised regional fire agency, tax proposal advance to Nov. 4 ballot”
1st Place: Scott Hopkins, The Star-News – “Chula Vista: A tale of two cities?”

Judges’ Comments: Strongest writing, well-researched.

Legal Story.
2nd Place: Debbie Ramsey, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Jackson to head up legal team for fire victims”
1st Place: Connie George, Borrego Sun – “Embezzling brings jail time for former fire executive”

Judges’ Comments: This story captures the human toll of Cindy Parker’s crimes as well as her sentence.

Multicultural Story.
Honorable Mention: Nathalie Taylor, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Pala Band of Mission Indians host spirited pow wow”
2nd Place: Veronica Leyva Eissa, City Times – “4th pillar, 9th month”
1st Place: Southwestern College Sun Staff, Southwestern College Sun – “Faces of immigration”

Judges’ Comments: The “Awakening” article, from the “Faces of Immigration” series, reads like a travel piece and enlightens readers about the lives of a rarely glimpsed Mexican people.

Sports Story.
Honorable Mention: Karen Billing, Carmel Valley Leader – “Gunning for gold”
2nd Place: Maris Brancheau, Borrego Sun – “Sirius athletes”
1st Place: Jeff Sanders, The Californian – “Whole new world”

Judges’ Comments: Nice rhythmic flow, with strong quotes and just enough information.

Arts/Entertainment Story.
Honorable Mention: Nathalie Taylor, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Stokes exhibits abstracts at Café des Artistes”
2nd Place: Andrew Reeder, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Gerlach’s stained glass art can be found locally, globally”
1st Place: Connie George, Borrego Sun – “Hardy crowd toughs it out at turbulent liars’ contest”

Judges’ Comments: George lets the circumstances of an obscure event speak for themselves with smart, straight reporting that makes you laugh and keeps you reading.

Review/Criticism.
2nd Place: Denis C. Grasska, The La Jolla Light – “Imperfect ‘88 minutes’ proves satisfying”
1st Place: Denis C. Grasska, The La Jolla Light – “Stallone Misses Opportunity with Latest ‘Rambo’”

Opinion/Editorial.
2nd Place: City Times Editorial Board, City Times – “Threat of anxiety outweighs school-shouting threat”
1st Place: Sonjiala Hotchkiss, City Times – “A darker shade of WASP”

Judges’ Comments: Insightful column spotlights a trend many do not see.

Column.
Honorable Mention: Christopher Coburn, East County Californian – “Eye on East County”
2nd Place: Laura Walcher, Presidio Sentinel – Various
1st Place: Nathalie Taylor, Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News – “Out and About”

Judges’ Comments: Good, vivid detail.

DAILY REPORTING & WRITING
Breaking News Story.
1st Place: North Country Times Staff – “Thousands flee base fire”

Judges’ Comments: Just the facts, old-fashioned and solid account of a major fire, what you need to know

Non-Deadline News Story.
Honorable Mention: Rob Davis, voiceofsandiego.org – “How Graham unraveled her own story”
2nd Place: David Hasemyer and Abraham Lustgarten, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Colorado River may face fight of its life”
1st Place: Sarah Gordon, North Country Times – “Train engineers cope with violent deaths”

Judges’ Comments: An amazing story that I’ve never seen before. Good examination of the emotional impact of a deadly trend

Feature Story.
Honorable Mention: Ray Huard, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Mother shares grief in book”
Honorable Mention: Lori Weisberg, San Diego Union-Tribune – “If he can make it there …”
2nd Place: Chris Moran, San Diego Union-Tribune – “My life grew fuller as a Big Brother”
1st Place: Jenifer Goodwin, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Separated but together”

Judges’ Comments: Excellent perspective on a new reality, divorced couples who can’t afford to live apart

Investigative/Enterprise Story – Single Subject.
Honorable Mention: Edward Sifuentes, North County Times – “Impoundment hauls in millions for city”
Honorable Mention: Will Carless, voiceofsandiego.org – “The Sheriff’s sweet rides”
2nd Place: Craig Gustafson, San Diego Union-Tribune – “City is generous with tax breaks for old homes”
1st Place: Brooke Williams, Danielle Cervantes and Dana Wilkie, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Tons of questions”

Judges’ Comments: Thorough investigation, tenacious follow-through, terrific graphics.

Business Story.
Honorable Mention: Emmet Pierce, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Exodus of builders”
2nd Place: Emmet Pierce, San Diego Union-Tribune –”When lenders need menders”
1st Place: George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Financial instruments”

Judges’ Comments: It’s great to see the pop music critic looking deep into how records are sold in SD and elsewhere

Real Estate Story.
Honorable Mention: Kelly Bennett, voiceofsandiego.org –”Vantage Pointe’s clock is ticking”
2nd Place: Zach Fox and Edward Sifuentes, North County Times – “Families say real estate agent led them into crisis”
1st Place: Kelly Bennett, voiceofsandiego.org – “Armed with antiquated maps, group allegedly sold bogus foreclosure fix”

Judges’ Comments: In a category with many strong entries, the winner’s entry stood out because she took her readers inside a real estate fraud

Science/Technology/Health Story.
Honorable Mention: Beth Wood, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Limited adjustments, chronic disease”
2nd Place: Dave Downey, North County Times – “System could warn of quakes”
1st Place: Rob Davis, voiceofsandiego.org – “The Thinning Giant”

Judges’ Comments: This story combines terrific scientific analysis with writing so evocative you feel you’re at the lagoon as whales are surfacing

Education Story.
Honorable Mention: Chris Moran, San Diego Union Tribune – “Schools hope rate will solve solar snag”
2nd Place: Chris Moran, San Diego Union Tribune – “Scandal at Southwestern College”
1st Place: First place: Sherry Saavedra, San Diego Union Tribune – “Cutting Trays, Cutting Waste”

Judges’ Comments: Saavedra has a knack for finding interesting education trend stories and making them clear and personable.

Political/Government Story.
1st Place: Zach Fox, North County Times – “Donation preceded Horn’s sprawling housing proposal”

Judges’ Comments: Nice work.

Legal Story or Series.
Honorable Mention: Pat Broderick, The Daily Journal – “In San Diego, action sports lawyers…”
2nd Place: David Hasemyer, San Diego Union-Tribune – “A change of custody”
1st Place: Mark Walker, Teri Figueroa, North County Times – “Revolving Doors”

Judges’ Comments: This is a painstakingly researched, marvelously written examination of California’s parole system with special emphasis on San Diego County – bravo.

Arts/Entertainment Story.
2nd Place: Jenna Long, San Diego Daily Transcript – “With Broadway in dire straits, San Diego theatre holds on”
1st Place: Pat Broderick, Daily Journal – “In the long run SD lawyer to face music”

Judges’ Comments: Broderick told a very inspirational music story

Review/Criticism.
Honorable Mention: Keli Dailey, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Office comedy captures life at workplace”
2nd Place: Pam Kragen, North County Times – “Media, myth-making the targets …”
1st Place: George Vargas, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Spears’ ‘Circus’ act is her selfless attempt to boost the economy”

Judges’ Comments: Clear winner with a biting sense of humor and sarcasm

Opinion/Editorial.
1st Place: Hal D Steward, Mineral Wells Index – “Remember them on Nov. 11”

Column.
2nd Place: Irv Erdos, North County Times – “Don’t move the dead horse, please,” “Getting dressed down about dressing up,” and “Uncle Miklos has a vay vith vords”
1st Place: Dean Calbreath, San Diego Union-Tribune, “Could county follow lead…,” “Less FDR, more Hoover…,” and “Race, Age, Gender…”

Judges’ Comments: Compelling leads, informative throughout, and fairly presented.

News or Feature Series (any subject).
Honorable Mention: Emmet Pierce, Eleanor Yang Su, Agustin Armendariz and Lori Weisberg, San Diego Union-Tribune – “Street of Risk and Loss, Heyday to Mayday”
2nd Place: Kelly Bennett and Andrew Donohue, voiceofsandiego.org – “George Gorton Series”
1st Place: Terri Somers, San Diego Union Tribune – “San Diego’s Biotechnology Industry”

Judges’ Comments: The best of a very competitive field. Somers’ BioTech 2008 package shows that she clearly knows her beat. These stories are interesting and well written in clear non-technical language. Well done.

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