SD-SPJ 2018 Journalist of the Year announced

The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is thrilled to announce our 2018 Journalist of the Year: Andrew Keatts, assistant editor and senior investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego.

Local journalists produced lots of important work this past year, but our board believes Keatts’ work stands out for its depth, diligence and impact. His investigation into a 2016 tax measure pushed by SANDAG, the region’s planning agency, led to a staff shakeup and a state law overhauling the agency’s governance, oversight and auditing practices.

Keatts’ months-long investigation kicked off with a bombshell story two weeks before the 2016 election revealing that SANDAG officials’ $18 billion ballot measure relied on the assumption that San Diegans would spend far more than they had historically, meaning the agency’s projections would be off and that its long list of projects might never get done. Keatt’s tenacious reporting was just beginning.

He later reported that SANDAG staff had discovered the issue a year before the November election but never notified the public or the agency’s board.

Then Keatts reported that SANDAG had also failed to divulge major details about increasing project costs and changes in its revenue projections for a past tax measure, posing more problems for the list of projects it promised to complete.

Keatts’ stories spurred the SANDAG board to order an outside investigation that confirmed what he had reported — and led to the departure of the agency’s powerful longtime head executive and the passage of legislation meant to improve the agency’s accountability. Keatts’ dogged reporting reshaped one of the region’s most powerful public agencies and we are honored to recognize him as the 2018 Journalist of the Year.

Please join us to celebrate Keatts and all of this year’s award winners at our annual banquet on Tuesday, July 17, at Kona Kai. The full list of winners will be announced next week.

What: SD-SPJ 2018 awards banquet

When: Tuesday, July 17, 2018. Reception at 5:30 p.m., program starts at 7 p.m.

Where: The Kona Kai Resort & Spa, 1551 Shelter Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92106. Cocktail hour on the Point Loma Terrace, banquet in the Ballroom.

Cost: $60 per person, $50 for students, $480 for reserved tables of eight

Registration: Please register and pay here.

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Who deserves to be San Diego’s ‘Journalist of the Year’?

Every year, the San Diego Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists honors a local journalist whose work made a major impact in the previous year. Who do you think deserves this year’s award?

Fill out this quick form:  https://goo.gl/forms/yOiATHe2PSRkzXJy2

Previous winners:

2017: Morgan Cook, The San Diego Union-Tribune

2016:  Mario Koran, Voice of San Diego

2015: Jeff McDonald, The San Diego Union-Tribune

2014: Mark Sauer, KPBS

2013: Loren Nancarrow

 

SD-SPJ statement on Davis case

The San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is deeply concerned about San Diego County government’s inappropriate treatment of journalist Kelly Davis after she exposed the deaths of dozens of people in its jails. Its action represents a failure of transparency and a misguided attack on a journalist instead of an attack on the very real and important problems she uncovered.

The County’s expensive legal attempt to subpoena notes, require testimony and reveal confidential sources is unconscionable. We demand a public pledge from the County to refrain from such retaliatory tactics against journalists who seek to hold government accountable on behalf of the citizens government should serve.

This case underscores the need for a federal shield law to protect journalists from being compelled to release confidential information. Either through legislation or case law, 48 states and the District of Columbia recognize the need for these protections and it is time for Congress to do the same.

We also commend attorney Matthew Halgren and his firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP for representing Davis pro bono and U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew G. Schopler for ruling in Davis’ favor.

Disclosure: Davis is an SPJ San Diego board member

Full list of 2017 San Diego SPJ award winners

Congratulations to all the talented journalists who were honored at our annual awards banquet last night and thanks to all who celebrated another great year of San Diego journalism with us!
 
Click here for a full list of 2017 San Diego SPJ award winners.
 

Received an award but still need to get your plaque or certificate? Please email SPJ president Lisa Halverstadt at lisa (at) vosd.org.