Full List of 2021 San Diego SPJ Award Winners

Last night, it was fantastic to celebrate local journalists in person! At our awards reception, held as a casual mixer at Stone Brewing – Liberty Station, attendees had plenty of time to catch up.

If you didn’t make it, here is the final list of who won what. And click here to learn more about Paul Sisson, our 2021 journalist of the year. 

If you were not able to attend and would like to grab your 1st place plaque or 2nd or 3rd place certificates, please email us at spjsandiego@gmail.com. Congratulations to all the winners!

Announcing This Year’s SD-SPJ Award Winners!

Maybe we’re biased, but San Diego has some of the best journalists in the country and we love nothing more than to honor them for their hard work. Click here to view a list of the talented winners of our annual journalism awards — but you’ll have to wait until our awards reception on Sept. 23 to find out who won what!

Please join us at Stone Brewing in Liberty Station for a fun, relaxed gathering. We’ve rented one of Stone’s large outdoor event spaces (Building 12). Tickets are $15 for SPJ members and $20 for nonmembers and include a tasty food spread and dessert. Drink tokens, available on our ticket website, are $5 for craft sodas and $10 for a beer, wine or hard seltzer. 

The evening includes a short program when we’ll announce the winners of our special awards and our Journalist of the Year, Union-Tribune health care reporter Paul Sisson, will give a speech. We’re also putting together a pretty cool silent auction — stay tuned for details.

Congratulations to all our winners! It’s been a 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, Sept. 23, 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 $15 per person for SPJ members (join or renew your membership), $20 per person for nonmembers. You can also purchase tickets at the event — $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers. Drink tokens ($5 or $10) are available on the ticket website and at the event. 

IMPORTANT: While this event is outdoors, we ask that anyone who’s been exposed to COVID-19 or thinks they may have been exposed to stay home. This is for the safety of our guests and Stone’s staff. Regarding masks and proof of vaccination, we will follow the county guidelines in place on the day of the event. We certainly encourage anyone who feels more comfortable wearing a mask to do so.

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

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!)

SD-SPJ congratulates our scholarship winners

Each year, the San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists awards up to five scholarships to local college students and recent graduates in the categories of print, photo and multimedia journalism. We also give out a scholarship to honor the memory of North County Times award-winning journalist Agnes Diggs and, this year, introduced the Bradley J. Fikes Scholarship to memorialize San Diego Union-Tribune science journalist Brad Fikes, who died in December 2019. All recipients receive $1,000 to cover the cost of their studies.

Congratulations to this year’s winners! They turned in some impressive work that underscored, once again, the breadth of talent among San Diego’s young journalists.

Print Journalism Scholarships

Jack Trent Dorfman, UC San Diego (check out Jack’s work)

Kaitlin Clapinski, San Diego Mesa College (check out Kaitlin’s work)

Julia Woock, Southwestern College (check out Julia’s work)

Andrew Ha, UC San Diego (check out Andrew’s work)

Multimedia Journalism Scholarship

Amber Salas, San Diego State University (check out Amber’s work)

Agnes Diggs Scholarship

Elaine Alfaro, Point Loma Nazarene University (check out Elaine’s work)

Bradley J. Fikes Scholarship

Katy Stegall, San Diego State University (check out Katy’s work)

We’ll be honoring our scholarship recipients and other special awards winners on Thursday, Sept. 23, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Stone Brewing in Liberty Station. Stay tuned for more details.