Special Olympics = Slaughtered: OC Weekly Wins 25 OC Press Club Honors

OC Weekly cleaned up at Monday night’s Orange County Press Club awards ceremony, and this time I am not referencing our moonlighting positions as Balboa Bay Club dishwashers.

This infernal rag (and its online doppelgänger) won 22 awards, including 12 first-place honors, and three honorable mentions for our coverage during calendar year 2016. The 12 first-placers represents an all-time record for this infernal rag, as well as the 25 overall citations; the 22 awards represents the most since 2001, when we won 24.

Here are our weiners (with judges’ comments in italics if they were provided):

FIRST PLACE: Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly
“Ah, Pachucos! Orange County’s Great Zoot Suit Panic of 1943”
Comments: A true slice of history, well-researched and written. Something special about OC from the past that is little known today.

FIRST PLACE: R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly
Submitted sample stories: “Scandal-Dogged District Attorney Summons his Inner Dick Nixon”
“OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens Refuses to Surrender Death Penalty Case Records”
“How Prosecutors Botched a Facebook Threatening-Messages Case”
“More Evidence Emerges on OC Law Enforcement’s Bad Acting and Perjury in Snitch Scandal”
“California Justices Hand DA Tony Rackauckas his Latest Embarrassment”
Comments: I felt his reportage utilized source materials more fluently and the writing had a vibrancy and flow that was missing from the other candidates.

FIRST PLACE: R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly
“Did OCDA Ignore Doctored CHP Reports to Convict Motorist of Murder?”
Comments: Not only is this a fascinating, almost unbelievable tale, but Mr. Moxley manages to engage the reader in the law, the court system, law enforcement internal code and the prosecutor’s office without any sign of effort and without losing the critical threads of a complex case. And while impressed with the juggling, judges also felt that Moxley’s story is blessed with a kind of everyman grace that embraces Wilkins and Piquette alike. We will all be anxiously Googling to see how this turns out.

HONORABLE MENTION: R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly
“Who Masterminded the Wood Chipper Plot Against a Judge, Prosecutors and FBI Agents?”

FIRST PLACE: Mary Carreon, OC Weekly
“How Irvine Became SoCal’s First Non-Toxic City”
Comments: Mary Carreon’s story contains all of the essential elements of a great public affairs work–a terrific story hook, wonderful storytelling, identifying a problem and providing a solution, excellent variety of sources and expertise, good use of images, a quote from Jane Goodall (impressive), and it was just plain interesting. It should also lead other municipalities to adopt non-toxic policies.

FIRST PLACE: Matt Coker, OC Weekly
“Why OC Must Lose the ‘War’ On Sober-Living Homes”
Comments: For the writer to put himself in the shoes of a person spending time in a sober-living home and to tell the story from that perspective was very compelling. Interesting and humanizing way to illuminate the issues. The writer’s persona had a very distinctive and consistent voice; blunt, funny at times; you got a sense of a definite personality. Some quotes actually stop you in your tracks. It made you feel like you were inside the writer’s head, seeing what he saw, feeling what he felt. His observations and reactions felt authentic and relatable. Overall very immersive experience. I felt I was there every step of the way: inside the house, inside the community center, listening to Taite, etc. The writing was very vivid such that when you think back on it you see scenes in your head as if you’d been there, rather than just thinking of the overall content and facts. Illuminates the issues, makes you understand the various viewpoints. This is a story that sticks with you. It’s an important and relevant topic.

FIRST PLACE: Nick Schou, OC Weekly
“Curtis Rainbow Helped to Organize the Biggest Hippie Happening in OC History. Now, He’s Homeless”
Comments: An extraordinary story with incredible research! Excellent work!

FIRST PLACE: Gabriel San Roman, OC Weekly
“The Life and Times of Malvina Reynolds, Long Beach’s Most Legendary (and Hated) Folk Singer”
SECOND PLACE: Nate Jackson, OC Weekly
“Gabby Gaborno Tells His Fans Goodbye With a Birthday Show of a Lifetime”
THIRD PLACE: Josh Chesler, OC Weekly
“The Story of Sublime’s Iconic Sun Logo and How It’s Rising Into the Mainstream”
“Irvine Meadows Says Its Final Goodbyes Before Getting Demolished for Apartments”

FIRST PLACE: Nate Jackson (editor), Heard Mentality, OC Weekly
Submitted sample posts: “Beach Goth is Dead; The Observatory Suing The Growlers Only Confirms It”
“What’s It Like Living Right Next to Coachella?”
“The Weekly Gets Kicked Out of a Lit Concert by Douchebag House of Blues Anaheim Security”
“15 Best Orange County Mom & Pop Music Shops”
“Coachella 2016 by the Minute: Weekend One”

SECOND PLACE: Gustavo Arellano, editor, OC Weekly
“Fans Remember Their Encounters in Orange County With Kobe Bryant, OC’s Most Regular Famous Guy”

SECOND PLACE: Christopher Toland, OC Weekly
“A History of Loquats in Orange County, and How So Many Ended Up in Santa Ana”
Comments: An intriguing, well-researched piece that highlights a prolific yet “mysterious” fruit, revealing an interesting and lengthy regional history.

THIRD PLACE: Edwin Goei, OC Weekly
“Taverna in Laguna Beach Has Mastered the Art of Risotto”

THIRD PLACE: Dave Barton, OC Weekly
“‘Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty’ at OCMA Nails the Artist’s Pathology of Beauty”

THIRD PLACE: Matt Kollar, OC Weekly
“The Donald Trump Rally: Orange Man Comes to Orange County”
Comments: A remarkable and dramatic compendium of reactions, both for and against, to Donald Trump.

FIRST PLACE: Leslie Agan, OC Weekly
“Santa Ana River Pastoral”
Comments: A good political cartoon conveys its social/political message to an average reader through visual means. Ms. Agan’s submission highlights this nicely. “Santa Ana River Pastoral” is a wonderful political cartoon in that it easily conveys the contrast between wealth and poverty that exists in the OC community. I don’t need to live in OC to understand this cartoon and its message. Well done.
SECOND PLACE: Luke McGarry, OC Weekly
“Pokemon Go Meets Black Lives Matter (subtitled Middle-Class Priorities)”
Comments: This piece provides a wonderful commentary on “middle-class priorities”–contrasting the Black Lives Matter movement with the “Pokemon Go” phenomena–two “movements” with decidedly different socially redeeming qualities yet each able to garner widely popular support.

Ku Klux Klan Rally and Counter-Protest @ Pearson Park in Anaheim
Comments: A shocking topic, but the photographer did a great job capturing the brutality, hatred and controversy.

FIRST PLACE: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly
Comments: Gorgeous, interesting photos with great composition.
SECOND PLACE: Eric Hood, OC Weekly
“Ku Klux Klan Rally and Counter-protest”
Comments: A newsy slideshow that captured the intensity of the protest.

FIRST PLACE: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly
“Native Tongue”
Comments: So interesting and cool!
SECOND PLACE: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly
“The Rainbow Man”
Comments: Splashy and a throwback to a simpler time! I loved the bright colors and artistry.

FIRST PLACE: Dustin Ames, OC Weekly
“Uncle Creepy”

Other media entities bestowed awards and/or honorable mentions include: Behind the Badge, Chapman University, The Daily Journal, Daily Pilot, Food & Travel, Halloween Every Night, THE Journal, KCET, Laguna Beach Independent, Laguna Beach Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Narratively, Newport Beach Independent, OC Family, Orange County Register, Related California, Spotlight Video and Voice of OC.

Multiple award winners from entities other than OC Weekly included: Brad A. Johnson (first place, Best Lifestyle/Family Blog; first place and honorable mention, Best Food/Restaurant Story; first and second place, Best Food/Restaurant Review), Michael Goulding (first place, Best Sports Photo; third place, Best News Photo), Steven Georges (first place, Best News Photo; third place and honorable mention, Best Feature Photo), Matt Masin (first place, Best Feature Photo; second and third place, Best Sports photo; third place, Best Portrait), Christopher Trela (second place, Best Feature Photo; and, with Catherine Del Casale, third place, Best Round-Up or Best Of), Leonard Ortiz (first and second place, Best Portrait), Jaimee Lynn Flectcher (first and, with Bill Rams, second place, Advocacy Journalism or Specialty Publication), Richard Chang (second place, Best Arts/Culture Story; third place, Best Feature Story), Liz Goldner (first place, Best Arts/Culture Story or Review; second place, Best Feature Story; first and second place, Best Arts/Culture Review).

Also, Anh Do (second place, Best News Story; honorable mention, Best Public Affairs Story), Deepa Bharath (first place and honorable mention, Best News Feature Story), Nuran Alteir (third place, Best News Feature Story; third place, The Real O.C. Award), Hannah Fry (second place, The Real O.C. Award; honorable mention, Best Feature Story), Margot Roosevelt (second place, Best Feature Story; third place, Best Business Story), Keith Sharon (first place, Best Feature Story; second place, Best Profile), Nancy Luna (first place, Best Round-Up or Best Of; first place, Best Profile), Jeff Collins (second place and honorable mention, Best Business Story), Mirin Fader (second place and honorable mention, Best Sports Story), David Jerome (third place, David McQuay Award for Best Columnist; honorable mention, Best Arts/Culture Story).

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