Yes, that does seem like an odd headline given that Orange County is not located in neither the city nor county of Los Angeles. Despite this, three Weeklings were awarded first-place plaques at the L.A. Press Club's 51st annual SoCal Journalism Awards ceremonies Sunday evening at the Sheraton Universal.
In the division for daily and weekly newspapers with a circulation under 100,000, longtime Weekly theater critic Joel Beers, who is also a Fullerton-based playwright, won first-place honors in the Entertainment Reviews/Criticism/Column category for his 2008 pieces titled "Bloodless Passion," "Float On," "Hare Raising" and "Wacky Iraqi."
The L.A. Press Club, which is composed of radio, print, online and television journalists based in Southern California, does not judge contest entries itself but farms them out to officers of other press clubs around the country. In a rare move, judges named no other finalists in Beers' category and commented, "Beers writes lively and thoughtful theater reviews with a strong sense of authority and tone to match a variety of material."
In the Entertainment News or Feature category, Matt Coker won a first-place plaque for the October 2008 cover story "Rock Angel," which was about the hell Garden Grove filmmaker David Di Sabatino has gone through (and is still going through) to bring his documentary on the "Father of Christian Rock" Larry Norman to the big screen.
According to the judges, "This is a beautiful example of the rare well-written, tension-filled story about the artistic process. It's also extremely entertaining. Not only are Coker's descriptions of the characters involved, but in the implicit suggestion that in the entertainment industry, it's hard to follow Christian principles."
Art director Kelly Lewis took the top prize in the Design category for her exemplary work on the October 2008 cover and inside layout of the October '08 "Best of OC" edition. In the alternative newsweekly business, no staff member works harder (and longer) on "Best of ..." issues than art directors.
The judges saw this when they commented, "Blurb-heavy packages are always a design challenge, but a fun, bright, celebratory cover, with clean and consistent internal design,
makes for a winning combination. Extra points for making spot illustrations so distinct from ads."
Of course, it's an honor just to be nominated. The Weekly's other nominees this year were Daffodil Altan for Reporter of the Year; Gustavo Arellano for News Feature; R. Scott Moxley for News Feature and Columnist; and Nick Schou for Investigative Series.
It was an even bigger night for the Weekly's sister paper, LA Weekly, the winner of six first-place awards in the division for daily or weekly newspapers with a circulation higher than 100,000. Three of those awards went to
staff writer Christine Pelisek, who was also runner up for print journalist of the year.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Comedian Paula Poundstone opened up the festivities, which were held on the 21st floor of the hotel with a panoramic view of the not-yet-burning Los Angeles below, by trying to tell jokes to an audience paying more attention to their chicken dinners. Another stand-up, Bill Maher, received more laughs before he presented the President's Award to Arianna Huffington, who swore it is not the Huffington Post that is killing print journalism.
KCBS political reporter Linda Breakstone gave a sloshy speech in honor of veteran LA Daily News city hall reporter Rick Orlov, who received both the Joseph M Quinn Award and a county proclamation from LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky . The evening ended with Judea Pearl giving the honor named after his slain son, the Daniel Pearl Award, to the LA Times' Robyn Dixon, who accepted via a short video from her post in Africa.
In between those folks, individual award winners were announced from the podium by KNBC's Ana Garcia, KABC's George Pennacchio, KCRW's Joe Morgenstern, the Press Club's Anthea Raymond and Alex Ben Block, Poundstone and the Weekly's own Arellano, who--thankfully--provided updates on the Lakers game and post-game rioting.
The full list of winners is here.