San Diego SPJ Receives Two National Honors

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Your San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists learned this week that it’s being recognized with two SPJ Circle of Excellence Awards for its work on newsroom diversity and advocacy for government transparency. San Diego SPJ is one of six chapters in the nation to be awarded a Circle of Excellence Award this year.

SPJ recognized the San Diego chapter for delivering San Diego County’s first-ever newsroom diversity survey and various efforts to ensure access to public records and information. You can read more about how we earned this recognition here

Are you an SPJ member? If not, consider becoming one to help us continue this important work. You can join here.


Mark your calendars: The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Festival of Journalism is Oct. 15

Los Angeles Times photojournalist Marcus Yam

On Saturday, Oct. 15, the San Diego Union-Tribune will hold its inaugural Festival of Journalism. The daylong event (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions on headline topics and a screening of the documentary “Journalism at Risk.”

Keynote speakers:

  • Steve Sebelius, politics editor and columnist at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who’ll discuss the legacy of his former colleague, Jeff German. German was killed last month by a public official he was investigating.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Marcus Yam, one of the last western journalists to leave Afghanistan after the country fell to the Taliban, will share stories about what it’s like on the frontlines of conflict.
  • Justin Brooks, director and co-founder of the California Innocence Project, will talk about how biases and misinformation can cost people their freedom and, in some cases, their lives.

Panels topics include the 101 Ash St. debacle, the high rate of deaths in San Diego jails, the gang rape accusations involving SDSU football players and firsthand accounts from journalists working in Tijuana.

The event is free and open to the public. It will be held in the Tula Community Center at San Diego State University (6126 Montezuma Road).

Check out the full schedule and register to attend. We’ll see you there!

Lunch with Major Garrett and celebrate the launch of FACTLY

On Saturday, Oct. 22, from noon to 1:30 p.m., join the Coronado Public Library and San Diego State University’s School of Journalism & Media Studies for a luncheon to recognize U.S. Media Literacy Week. Hear about the work of the Community News Team Project, which will be celebrating the launch of its website, FACTLY (Facts, Accountability, Clarity, Truth, Library and You). The luncheon will also feature a keynote address by Major Garrett, chief Washington correspondent for CBS News and co-author of The Big Truth: Upholding Democracy in the Age of “The Big Lie.”

The event is free, but you must RSVP to by Saturday, Oct. 1.

Welcome to our new board members!

San Diego SPJ is excited to welcome five new members to our board and wish a fond farewell and a big thanks to departing board members Matthew Halgren, Kendra Sitton, Jared Whitlock and Lynn Walsh.

Click here to see a list of current board members, including our executive board, and their contact information.

Cody Dulaney

Cody Dulaney is an investigative reporter with inewsource. His focus is on social impact and government accountability, with an emphasis on housing, homelessness and law enforcement. Cody’s work revealed mismanagement and neglect in COVID-19 hotel shelters run by San Diego County, and exposed half of the county’s local police agencies for breaking state law by sharing drivers’ location data across the nation. Prior to moving to San Diego, he worked on investigative teams with newspapers in Florida and South Carolina.

Jakob McWhinney

Jakob McWhinney is a multimedia journalist born and raised in San Diego. He returned to community college during the COVID-19 pandemic and discovered a passion for journalism. By his second semester with City College’s City Times Media, he was appointed operations manager of the entire student news organization, which includes a digital news site, a radio station and a weekly TV news show. During that semester he was also hired as an intern at Voice of San Diego, where he wrote stories about homelessness, COVID-19 testing operations and COVID-era right-wing organizing. He was subsequently hired as Voice’s Education Reporter.

He strives to communicate to audiences why — in this most convoluted and apathetic of times — they should care about the world around them and the people who inhabit it. He hopes to use journalism to uplift and empower his hometown by communicating complex issues in digestible ways.

Adam Racusin

Adam Racusin is part of the investigative team at ABC 10News in San Diego. He covers everything from the courts and politics to consumer issues across San Diego County. His reporting has led to getting people their money back, sending bad actors behind bars, new policies at government agencies, and encouraging lawmakers to promise new legislation. Adam is also a watchdog over the child welfare system in San Diego County. Since joining 10News, Adam’s work has been honored by the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the San Diego Press Club, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Pacific Southwest Chapter, the Radio Television Digital News Association, and the National Headliner Awards. He has reported in television markets from Montana to Texas and several spots in between.

Bella Ross

Bella Ross is a community engagement specialist for The San Diego Union-Tribune’s opinion section and member of the Editorial Board, a role she started in November 2021. She was born in Phoenix, Arizona and also lived in North Carolina before moving to north San Diego County in 2015. She previously worked as a web producer for inewsource, managing social media content and newsletters, and also freelanced covering local government, schools and equity issues for publications such as Voice of San Diego, CalMatters, North Coast Current and Scripps Ranch News. She graduated from San Diego State University with degrees in journalism and political science in May 2020. She also served as the editor in chief of the campus newspaper, The Daily Aztec.

Steve Walsh

Steve Walsh is the military and veterans reporter at KPBS. He works with American Homefront, a national collaboration between public media stations and NPR, which looks at military and vet issues. Before KPBS, Walsh worked for Lakeshore Public Radio in Gary, Ind., and Chicago Public Radio, where he was a host producer with Vocalo, a project to open public media to diverse audiences. As a print reporter for the Post-Tribune, Walsh covered the Indiana statehouse and was embedded twice with U.S. troops during the Iraq War.