SPJ San Diego names Journalist of the Year, gives 210 awards at annual banquet

The San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honored the best in local journalism Thursday, July 8 – presenting its first-ever Journalist of the Year Award to veteran news anchor Marty Levin and handing out a total of 210 awards in 126 different categories of print, broadcast, online and college media.

SPJ honored Levin, who retired in May as primary news anchor at KNSD-TV NBC San Diego, with its inaugural Journalist of the Year Award, honoring his career achievements; consistent adherence to high standards of journalism, ethics and professionalism; service to the journalism profession; and advancement of First Amendment rights.

Levin started in television news in 1972, working in Eugene, Oregon, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and at all three network news stations in San Diego. Levin spent 23 years as anchor of KNSD, and during his career, he won 13 Emmys, three Golden Mike Awards, and a number of awards from SPJ and the San Diego Press Club.

SPJ also honored the best in local journalism, recognizing the winners in nine divisions: Daily Reporting & Writing; Non-Daily Reporting & Writing; Newspaper Design, Photography & Headlines; Newspaper Special Sections; Online; Magazines; Television/Video; Radio/Audio; College Media. SPJ also presented three annual special awards, the Sol Price Prize for Responsible Journalism; the Herbert Lockwood “Woody” Award, which honors the best in humor writing; and the Diversity Prize and recognized Best of Show winners in each contest division.

The winners – 134 individuals and 10 news staffs – won a total of 210 awards. The San Diego Pro Chapter received 634 entries for this year’s awards contest – a 14 percent increase in the number of entries from last year’s contest – so the competition was especially tough.

The most popular contest category was the College Media Division, which attracted 159 entries, with the Daily Reporting and Writing Division following closely behind with 158 entries. The Non-Daily Reporting and Writing Division was down slightly from last year, with 139 entries.

“Despite the challenges facing journalism today, our awards contest attracted 14 percent more entries than last year,” SPJ-San Diego chapter president Joe Guerin said. “We attracted entries from some of our new media outlets as well as some news organizations that have not traditionally entered the contest.”

The winners are listed here, with judges’ comments where provided.

NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley, a former SPJ-San Diego board member and San Diego-based NPR business correspondent, delivered the keynote speech at the banquet, sharing stories about life in the White House press corps. Veteran broadcast reporters and news anchors Ken Kramer and Carol LeBeau emcee’ed the program. The banquet was held on the Bali Hai’s Hawaiian Village bayside patio and featured a Polynesian buffet and a no-host bar.

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