Union-Tribune journalists win top prizes in state competition
The Union-Tribune won 31 awards at the California News Publishers Association’s annual journalism competition this month, including several first prizes.
The paper competed with major journalism outlets across the state for work produced in 2022. The staff won recognition for best in the state in several categories, including first place for reporting, business reporting , editorial cartoons and sports photography.
Here are the winners — and another chance to revisit their work:
Political Cartoons: Designer Steve Breen swept the Editorial Comics category. Its first winner was a sketched portrait of Vladimir Putin using depictions of atrocities in Ukraine. The judge noted that second and third place could also have been first. “Steve Breen is so talented,” Judge said.
True crime: Journalist John Wilkens ranked first in the Feature Story category for “One of Their Own: A Cold Case. A DNA Shot. And Finally Justice. Where Was It?” The three-part narrative series explored the chilling investigation into the murder of 14-year-old Claire Hough on a San Diego beach, flawed DNA evidence, and the suicide of a crime lab specialist. The judge wrote, “The quality of work in this category was perhaps the richest in this year’s CNPA competition. And this UT project was clearly above all the others. The story also ranked in several other categories, including writing. page designer Michael Price placed third for its interior layout and story design.
Inside a Ponzi: reporters Lori Weisberg And Greg Moran ranked first for business and economics coverage as well as in-depth digital reporting for “The Woman Who Conned San Diego,” an in-depth look at the city’s biggest Ponzi scheme and its fall from grace. architect, businesswoman Gina Champion-Caïn. The judge called the story “compelling, well-written and well-researched” and the good recipe “true crime meets business”. The story also ranked in several other categories, including Enterprise News Story or Series and Podcasts.
Border town: Journalist Sandra DibbleThe memoir of “Border City: A Podcast About Tijuana’s Beauty, Violence, and Belonging from a Journalist Who’s Spent Over 25 Years Reporting on the Border,” won multiple awards. page designer Gloria Orbegozo won first place for special section coverage. Dibble, editor Suzanne White and page designer Michael Price ranked second for the special section. Dibble and White also won second place for the Border City Podcast. From Judge: “It was a beautifully produced podcast series that felt like a scrapbook of scenes from a reporter’s notebooks in Tijuana, weaving together major news, heartbreak and drama with some very personal moments.”
Water controversy: Journalist Joshua Emerson Smith ranked first in Agricultural Reports and third in Land Use Reports for “Rancho Guejito tapped groundwater deep in the San Pasqual Valley”. The story explores the centuries-old battle over water rights, pitting a wealthy landowner against the city and the region’s small farmers.
Que Viva el Barrio: Photojournalist Ana Ramirez won first place in video journalism for “Que Viva el Barrio”. The film explores the pollution that has plagued Barrio Logan and the struggle of a Chicano community for a cleaner future. The judge praised the work’s “exceptional cinematography” and the wide variety of voices.
Capturing the Padres: Photojournalist Meg McLaughlin won first place in Sports Action Photo for catching Phillies fans reacting to a missed ball by Manny Machado of the Padres. Photojournalist Nelvin C. Cepeda placed third in the same category for his image of Jake Cronenworth circling the grounds. and photojournalist Alfred KC won third place in Sports Feature Photo for capturing a winning moment in the locker room.
Photojournalism: THE The Union-Tribune photo team ranked second in photojournalism for its 20-photo portfolio that showcased the team’s best work in the community. Ana Ramirez also won second place in News Feature Photography for an image of a Haitian migrant living in Tijuana mourning the loss of her brother.
Death in prison: reporters Kelly Davis And Jeff McDonald ranked third in public service journalism for “Dying Behind Bars”. Their ongoing in-custody death investigation continued to show the lack of proper medical and mental health care that so often contributes to in-custody deaths, the prevalence of illegal drugs in county jails, and sheriff’s objection to employees who scan for drugs on the way to work. . This body of work pushed the department to finally face the obvious and begin to change. Judge wrote, “Relentless, exhaustive and determined with this coverage, UT is clear with the power: this is unacceptable in our community. And we won’t rest until it stops.
Decayed Landmark: Journalist Jennifer Van Grove and photojournalist Nelvin C. Cepeda ranked third in numerical land use reports for “The California Theater Is Up For Sale Again, Leaving a Decaying Building in Limbo Longer.” The story delves into doomed plans to restore a historic downtown landmark that has become an eyesore and danger zone. Judge praised the package for its “outstanding” research, writing, and visuals.
Design: Page designers Gloria Orbegozo, Michael Price And Tyler Rau won awards for print layout and design, while graphic journalist Michelle Guerrero placed third for Informational Graphic for its depiction of the new Snapdragon Stadium.
UT’s design team also won six awards of excellence in the Society For News Design’s annual creative competition awards.
Ani Arambula was recognized in feature film design for her presentation Confessions of a Foodie “Tostadas”, which she wrote, designed and photographed. Anthony Tarantino and designer Steve Breen won for opinion design, “Selena”.
Michael Price and illustrator Cristina Byvik won a special cover design award for the three-part series “One of Their Own.”
Gloria Orbegozo and freelance illustrator Val Mina won for presenting the cover of the Arts + Culture end-of-year exhibition “Look Back at 2022”. Also, Orbegozo won an editorial page design award and joined photojournalism Ana Ramirez for a story design award for “Fall Arts: The Women Who Inspire Us.”
Moreover, the journalist Nathalie Rocha was named this month Small Business Journalist of the Year by the Small Business Association for San Diego and Imperial Counties. Her award commends her for her work which “has enthusiastically and thoughtfully provided coverage of the small business community that informs.”
The Union-Tribune was also nominated for eight regional Emmy awards. The winners will be announced on June 17.
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