OC Weekly's Kelly Lewis, Vickie Chang and Gustavo Arellano are Big LA Press Club Winners

OC Weekly won three awards at the Los Angeles Press Club's 52nd annual SoCal Journalism Awards Sunday night at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

Competing for the first time in the large newspapers division (not because our circulation increased that much but because everyone else's has shrunk), the Weekly brought hardware back from La-La Land for best columnist, personality profile and designer of the year.

Web editor Vickie Chang took first place in the Personality Profile category for her cover story on skateboard legend Skitch Hitchcock. Among the judges' comments was this: “The goal of a personality profile is to get to know someone, and this reporter not only introduces readers to a 57-year-old pioneer surfer/skater, but lets them learn about who he was, which is key to who he is now. Well-written and descriptive, with colorful and honest quotes.”

Chang also received an honorable mention for Best Entertainment News or Feature for her profile of drummer Josh Freese.

Staff writer Gustavo Arellano won once again in the Columnist category for his ¬°Ask a
Mexican! columns
. “With equal measures of humor, intelligence, common sense and bravery,” judges wrote, “Arellano addresses some of the most crucial issues facing our country. He debunks myths making their way unchallenged through the mainstream media; he's also not above giving serious thought to questions that might seem trivial. He lets readers be curious about cultural differences (which is, after all, human nature), and shows that only through open discussion of those differences can we transcend them. Arellano is single-handedly defending important territory in this nation's culture wars.”

Finally, art director Kelly Lewis was named the LA Press Club's Designer of the Year for her body of work in 2009. “Kelly's designs are sharp and engaging,” judges noted. “She uses the black & white format of the Weekly to its fullest with nice typography and excellent detail. Her work in the Best of OC package shines–maintaining an interesting, consistent approach throughout the huge feature.”

Lewis also earned an honorable mention for her design of last year's Best of OC issue.

Senior news & investigations editor R. Scott Moxley was a finalist for Print Journalist of the Year, which ultimately went to Greg Katz of the LA Daily Journal Alana Semuels of the Los Angeles Times. (Oops! Katz won in the lower circulation category–and won the $1,000 Best In Show prize).

Our sister paper, LA Weekly, also won three awards: Gendy Alimurung for best business story; Darrick Rainey for best design; and the staff for best website.

At Sunday night's ceremony, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger delivered the opening remarks and actor Sean Penn presented Anderson Cooper the club's top honor, the President's Award, for the CNN's anchorman's reporting Haitian earthquake survivors.

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