Congrats to our winners! Join us to celebrate!

Another year, another chance to hang out with your favorite reporters and celebrate your hard work over the last year. Due to popular demand, we’re heading back to Stone Brewing in Liberty Station for a fun, relaxed outdoor gathering, full of good food and drink, twinkly lights and the occasional overheard plane (“the Point Loma pause,” they call it). Pre-sale tickets are $25 for SPJ members and $30 for nonmembers and include a tasty food spread and dessert. Drink tokens, available on our ticket website, are $6 for craft sodas and $11 for a beer or wine (lemonade, iced tea and water are complimentary).

The evening will include a short program when we’ll announce the winners of our special awards and honor our Journalist of the Year, Vicente Calderón. And the silent auction is back, so get your lucky bidding pen ready.

Congratulations to all our winners! (See below for a full list.) It’s been another difficult year and you deserve to celebrate!

As in past years, first-place winners will receive a plaque and second and third place winners will receive a certificate. You can pick up your awards at the event.

When: Thursday, July 21, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Where: Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens @ Liberty Station, 2816 Historic Decatur Road, Unit 116, Building 12

Cost: Presale tickets are $25 per person for SPJ members (join or renew your membership), $30 per person for nonmembers. After July 15 at 12 p.m., prices go up to $30 for members and $35 for nonmembers. You can also purchase tickets at the event ($30 members; $35 nonmembers). Drink tokens ($6 or $11) are available on the ticket website and at the event.

Email us with any questions and we look forward to seeing you!


Vicente Calderón is SPJ San Diego’s 2022 Journalist of the Year

The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is proud to announce our 2022 Journalist of the Year, Tijuana Press editor Vicente Calderón.

For many years, San Diego journalists whose beat includes the border have turned to Calderón for assistance navigating the complexities of the region. They’ve always found an enthusiastic guide, willing to go above and beyond to help his colleagues. Veteran border journalist Sandra Dibble described Calderón as a “journalistic institution.”

In addition to reporting on Tijuana for his online news site, Tijuana Press, Calderón has collaborated with San Diego journalists on important stories about the San Diego-Tijuana region. He’s currently working with Voice of San Diego’s MacKenzie Elmer on an ambitious series of stories exploring the environmental impacts of the Tijuana River.

“Vicente has been a bridge between San Diego and Tijuana’s journalism communities for so many years,” said Scott Lewis, Voice of San Diego’s editor and CEO.

“He has always been there for me and my staff when we need to make a connection or pull off a story with implications for both sides of the border,” Lewis said. “I cannot fathom how many fewer things we would know without him.”

Wendy Fry, who covers the border for the San Diego Union-Tribune, said Calderón “works tirelessly to cover so many key issues affecting both sides of the border.”

Fry noted that Calderón has continued his reporting despite the dangers faced by Mexican journalists.

“At a time when Tijuana journalists are grappling with the devastating loss of two of our colleagues, and the fear of violence becoming a consequence of their coverage, Calderón has been brave,” Fry said. “He’s a leader in responsibly and ethically pushing authorities for answers and justice. He also generously takes time out of running his own news site to mentor colleagues and help explain Mexico’s realities to San Diego journalists because he genuinely cares about the border region being covered accurately and responsibly.”

Dibble also pointed out that Calderón has persisted in his reporting despite the numerous challenges faced by Mexican journalists, including low pay, threats to their personal safety and pressure to back off certain stories.

“Despite all these challenges, he has persisted in a profession he loves deeply,” she said.

“Among his Tijuana colleagues, he has been unrelenting in his demands for accuracy and fairness, and unyielding in his calls for high ethical standards,” Dibble said. “In cases of abuses and attacks against journalists, Vicente has stood firm in his calls for justice.”

Dibble said she’s often turned to Calderón to get a deeper understanding of border region politics.

“I have witnessed his generosity with others as well — seen him help outsiders gain context, but also watched him show the way to new generation of Mexican journalists,” she said. “Vicente is independent, idealistic, courageous, generous — what more can one ask for in a journalist?”

Celebrate Calderón and our other award winners at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens in Liberty Station on Thursday, July 21, from 6:30 to 9:30. We’ll launch our ticket website and a list of award winners on July 6, so check back. 

Congratulations to our scholarship winners!

Each year, the San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists awards scholarships to local college students and recent graduates who show keen journalism chops. We’re always impressed and this year was no different. Higher ed is expensive, and we hope to make it a little more affordable for these future reporters. Below are our winners and a piece of work they’re particularly proud of. Celebrate them on July 21 at our annual awards reception at Stone Brewing in Point Loma.

Print Journalism Scholarships

Jakob McWhinney, San Diego City College. Read Jakob’s story, “How a San Diego Church Became a Nexus of Anti-Vaccine, Anti-COVID Lockdown and Right-wing Political Organizing.

Alfaro Headshot
Elaine Alfaro, Point Loma Nazarene University. Read Lainie’s opinion piece, “For young people like me, managing money is like a social media experience.”

Niloufar Shahbandi, UC San Diego. Read Niloufar’s story, “Workers Protest Poor Working Conditions at HDH.”


Multimedia Journalism Scholarships

Maritza Camacho, San Diego State University. Listen to the first episode of Maritza’s NPR syndicated podcast, Chronic Catastrophe.

Katy Stegall, San Diego State University. Check out Katy’s multimedia report, “San Diego County looks for solutions as fentanyl deaths continue to rise.”


Bradley J. Fikes Scholarship (in honor of San Diego Union-Tribune science journalist Brad Fikes, who died in December 2019)

Esteban Preciado, Southwestern College. Read Esteban’s compelling piece about communing with Bwindi Mountain Gorillas (flip through to page 17)

San Diego SPJ Board Elections Underway

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on

Now that we’ve all gotten through California’s primary election, it’s time for San Diego SPJ members to vote.

Members of the San Diego Pro Chapter are asked to vote for up to seven candidates running for the local board by Thursday, June 23 at 11:59 p.m. Ballots are set to go out on Thursday, June 9.

This year’s candidates are board incumbents Jill Castellano, Kelly Davis and Kristy Totten and newcomers Cody Dulaney, Jakob McWhinney, Bella Ross and Steve Walsh. You can read more about all of the candidates here

Didn’t receive a ballot in your inbox? Email us at spjsandiego (at)