Paul Sisson, SPJ San Diego’s 2021 Journalist of the Year

The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is proud to announce our 2021 Journalist of the Year, San Diego Union-Tribune health care reporter Paul Sisson. 

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Paul has distinguished himself as the region’s leading COVID-19 reporter, keeping San Diegans informed during an unprecedented, ever-evolving crisis.

Since Jan. 28, when he wrote his first story on the virus, Paul has produced more than 300 articles, from profiles of frontline health care workers to daily case-count and policy updates, sometimes risking his own health to make sure readers had accurate information. He told stories from emergency rooms and ambulances, culled through staggering amounts of data and pressed public officials for critical information.

Paul was often out in front — by months — on many important stories

“He was the first reporter given an intimate look inside a COVID ward,” says his editor, Tarcy Connors, “doing so at great risk to himself, as little was known about the virus in the early months.”

In addition to his own reporting, Paul found time to mentor and assist colleagues. He also continued to cover important stories on his beat, like the Scripps Health data breach.

Our chapter gives this award not for one particular story, but for a body of work that made a difference over the past year. Paul’s reporting on the virus, treatment and vaccines kept San Diegans safe and informed and likely saved lives.

We invite you to celebrate Paul and our other award winners at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Liberty Station on Thursday, Sept. 23, from 6:30 to 9:30. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. (And stay tuned for a full list of winners!)


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