Celebrities and reporters gathered Sunday night at the Millennium Biltmore's Crystal Ballroom in downtown Los Angeles for the 54th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards and OC Weekly staffers grabbed seven honors.
Three of the Weekly's awards were for first place: Michelle Woo for Best Personality Profile, Lilledeshan Bose for Best Entertainment News or Feature, and a guy named Moxley for Best Business Story.
Gustavo Arellano (business coverage), Nick Schou (investigative work), Taylor Hamby (entertainment news), Laila Derakhshanian and Jesse Lenz (both for publication design) were also honored with second or third place awards.
Here's what the judges said about Woo's "Dave Gibbons is a Church Misfit": [Woo] tells a compelling story about a man who's straddling different worlds: that of the leader of a mega church who decides that's not the path for him. The story is told effectively and the anecdote about Gibbons' time at Bob Jones University serves to show how he had to find the right path for himself."
Here's what the judges said about Bose's "The Yost Theatre is Ready For Its Closeup": "This is a crisp, brisk thorough account of the controversial reformation of a community landmark, sparkling with detail and clever turn of phrase. A nice job on a good yarn."
Here's what the judges said about my "Pyramid Scheme": "This is a terrific narrative that makes you feel like you're in the middle of this sting, complete with would-be high rollers who insisted the investors must come in with at least $5 billion, but would make an exception in this case . . . Con artists and clever FBI special agents eventually exposed the game. This story had many moving parts and Moxley covered them all exceptionally well."
The awards banquet featured celebrity award presenters like Martin Sheen, Ernie Hudson, Ron Pearlman and Pauley Perrette.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the legendary Washington Post duo of Watergate fame, received the "President's Award." Woodward, who is in the final stages of new book, appeared by remote camera from Washington, D.C. while Bernstein gave a live speech designed to inspire future investigative reporters.
The family of slain journalist Daniel Pearl was given the "Daniel Pearl Award" for "courage and integrity in journalism."
CBS2/KCAL reporter David Goldstein took the "Joseph M. Quinn Award" for his consistently excellent, hard-hitting investigative stories that expose corruption.
We spotted ex-Weekly staffer Rich Kane, who was honored for his superb work at Laguna Beach Patch.
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The Orange County Register, OC's largest news media organization, won three second place awards: Roxana Kopetman for a news feature, and Timothy Spangler for commentary and sports.
Since its inception in 1995, OC Weekly has won hundreds of national, regional and local journalism awards.
Journalists working in the Village Voice Media media empire (that includes the Weekly) have won a Pulitzer Prize four times.