DTLA—On June 30, the Los Angeles Press Club held its 61st annual Southern California Journalism Awards. Los Angeles Downtown News had a big night, earning three first-place prizes in addition to three third-place finishes.
The event attracted nearly 600 people to the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, where the Press Club honored the best in print, broadcast and online journalism in 2018. According to the Press Club, there were a record 1,700-plus entries, up more than 300 from the previous year.
Editor Jon Regardie received the Journalist of the Year award for newspapers with a circulation below 50,000. In examining a portfolio of Regardie’s work, the judges wrote, “His smart and poignant writing is a clarion of truth.”
It marked the second consecutive year that Regardie picked up the Journalist of the Year prize, and the third time that Downtown News has received it; then-staff writer Ryan Vaillancourt won the award in 2013.
Regardie also earned a first-place prize in the Commentary category, again for newspapers with a circulation below 50,000, for “Why I’m Done With ALOUD.” The November piece was tied to the departure of the longtime head of the popular Central Library reading series ALOUD, and the lack of transparency surrounding the move from the Library Foundation, which oversees the series. Judges praised the piece as an “Insightful work about a beloved cultural program questioning ‘personnel problems’ that are shrouded in secrecy.”
Regardie received a third first-place prize in Editorials for the April 2018 piece “Inaction and Frustration With a Shuttered Plaza.” It chastised state government officials for the nine years that it took to repair a crack and reopen a barricaded plaza fronting Main Street at the Ronald Reagan Building. The editorial stated in part, “An office building plaza closed for almost 10 years because of a crack is pitiful. State representatives should be embarrassed by the inaction.”
The Editorials award was for work in newspapers of any circulation size, and marked the second consecutive year that Regardie won the category.
Downtown News also received third-place prizes for: Nicholas Slayton’s “Skid Row Faces Record Number of Homeless Children,” in the News Feature category; Slayton’s Business writing submission “The Booming Business of Experiences”; and Columnist, for a collection of Regardie columns about the local political scene.
Los Angeles Press Club winners were selected by judges from sister Press Clubs in other cities across the country.
In addition to honoring local work, the Press Club handed out its Joseph M. Quinn Award for Lifetime Achievement to CBS2/KCAL9 sportscaster Jim Hill, and actor and author Henry Winkler received the Public Service Award for Contributions to Civic Life. The President’s Award went to the producers of the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” and CNN’s Nima Elbagir was honored with the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism.
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