If there was one theme in the many awards Voice of OC reporters received this year from the California Newspapers Association, it’s our team’s ability to engage in news investigations.
Voice of OC has received several awards for its coverage of the oil spill off Huntington Beach and our coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Voice of OC won first place in General Excellence and first place for Public Service for our oil spill coverage.
This recognition shows that a small newsroom can have a big impact.
Voice of OC cinematographer Julie Leopo won first place for feature writing for her story, Are Santa Ana’s Historic Murals Doomed to Fade into History. Leopo’s ability to write and photograph this story personifies the flexibility and creativity of the Voice of OC newsroom.
Voice of OC Arts & Culture editor Richard Chang received third place and honorable mention for his cover Symphony on the Go Reaches Out to New Audiences.
Here is a complete list of all staff recognitions.
Voice of OC Award Winners
First place in General ExcellenceVoice of OC, Voice of OC staff.
First place in Public Service, Voice of OC Staff, for “Investigating Big Oil’s Run With Orange County” How More Than One Million People Were Allowed Along The Coast Of Huntington Beach As It Approached a massive oil spill? Washdowns ashore, pipeline operator had problems with shut off valves, pressure sensors in the years leading up to the oil spill, pipeline operator waited over 3 hours to stop the leak of Oil, 6 Hours to Report, Say Feds Why Didn’t He Make a Self Shutdown System Prevent Massive Oil Spill Off OC Coast? : Judge’s comment “From the ignoring of expert coastal panels (and the grouping of only two experts in a beaches, parks and recreation panel, showing how few people prioritized environmental issues) to problems on the day of the spill with communication and with conflicting timelines in the days that followed, this work shows how quickly the Voice of OC began to ask deep questions about the response to the oil spill. to be worse, with over a million people on the beach for an air show.Voice of OC also quickly tracked down the 1979 report on auto-shutdown capabilities.Then the story conducted by the FOIA a month later the spill showed a pattern of breaches. Impressive job keeping people informed with smart follow-ups.”
First place in Reportage, Julie Leopo, for Are Santa Ana’s Historic Murals Doomed to History? :Judge’s Comment This one stuck with me for a while after reading it.
First place in Home page layout and design, Sonya Quick. Judge’s Comment “Great balance of title, teasing articles, and photos/visuals throughout the landing page. The organization of the drop-down menu was particularly outstanding. I enjoyed clicking through to the website from the home page.”
Second place in Columns, Norberto Santana, Jr, for Latino’s Left Behind in Vaccination Push by Orange County Leaders: Judge’s Comment “This was a pair of well written and thoughtful columns. I come from an area that is over 85% Latino, so it’s always eye-opening to read articles like this where advocating for Latinos on health issues isn’t a given. It was important information to pass on and Santana does it with sensitivity.
Second place in Coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, Spencer Custodio, Nick Gerda and Norberto Santana, Jr. OC Officials lag behind in vaccine efforts, ‘vaccine passport’ controversy highlights OC’s secretive, expensive and glitchy application, OC Community Clinics Criticize County’s Efforts to Keep Them Out of the Loop on $20 Million Immunization Expansion: Judge’s Comment “Authoritative writing, backed by in-depth knowledge of government processes and the how they were evaded during the vaccine deployment process. The work has never lost sight of the vulnerable residents who have been let down by their leaders and the process. »
Second place in Local government coverage, Nick Gerda, Norberto Santana, Jr, Spencer Custodio and Sonya Quick, to ‘give the public a voice on the budget’ on Tuesday is the public’s last chance to weigh in on $8 billion in spending in the county before it’s finalized , what should OC do with its hundreds of millions of dollars in additional taxes? What Do You Think?, Orange County Speaks: OC’s Voice Gives the Public a Voice on the County’s Nearly $1 Billion Unrestricted Funds, Santana: Local Taxpayers Deserve to Be heard at the local town hall meetings they pay for, do OC residents deserve more transparency on COVID-19 bailout spending? : Judge’s Comment “The writer takes a good approach to telling this story. Well written.”
Second place in investigative reporting, Nick Gerda for “Investigating Big Oil’s Run in with Orange County” Pipeline operator had issues with shut-off valves, pressure sensors in years leading up to oil spill, pipeline operator waited 3+ Hours to Stop Oil Spill, 6 Hours to Report, Feds Say, Why Didn’t an Automatic Shutoff System Stop Massive Oil Spill Off OC Coast ? : Judge’s comment “It’s an incredible report. One of the challenges with a story like this is writing it in a way that the average person who doesn’t have technical knowledge of the incident can understand it. This series of investigative stories does just that. Between the revelation of the lack of a shut-off valve, the pipe laying above the seabed (with video) and the fact that the pipe continued to pump oil for hours despite the alarms going off means this story is still not finished. Once again, it looks like great journalism will lead to change.
third place in Open Public Service Journalism, Voice of OC Staff, for “Investigating Big Oil’s Run in with Orange County” Hours to report it, say feds say why an automatic shut-off system didn’t stop the massive oil leak offshore from the coast of OC?
third place in investigative reporting, Nick Gerda, Norberto Santana, Jr and Spencer Custodio for “Recklessness over CARES Act Funds in OC” OC Hospital With Biggest Known Covid Safety Issues Got Most Federal Relief Dollars Distributed By County, OC Supervisors Spent More Covid Response Money on Sheriff Staff Than Health Workers, After Public Backlash, Orange County Officials Back Up on Secret Contracts: Judge Comment: “Often a sign that reporters expose something that officials don’t want to see is when those same officials start to mock the source of the information Seeing that the county approved $200 million in CARES Act spending by giving secret approvals is kudos to the reporters who stayed stubborn on this issue and finally figured out how the money was being spent and then presented it to the public. ics, citing the work of journalists, is very powerful to watch. This is investigative journalism at its best.
third place in Recent news, Voice of OC Staff, for “Investigating Big Oil’s Run in with Orange County” The pipeline operator had problems with shut-off valves and pressure sensors in the years leading up to the oil spill, the operator of the pipeline waited more than 3 hours to stop oil leak, 6 hours to report it, say feds, why didn’t an automatic shut-off system stop massive oil leak offshore from the coast of OC? : Judge’s Comment “Overall a good series that goes in depth and tries to understand why the spill happened and why the local authorities messed up in their response. Some parts of the stories were a bit hard to follow, but I admire the dedication to uncovering the dirty truth.
third place in Informative graphic, Sonya Quick for “Orange County COVID-19 Deaths”. Santana: A Chance to Cheat Death for Dia de Los Muertos: Judge’s Comment “There’s a lot going on in this compact graphic and it took this reader a few moments to get their bearings. But it conveys a lot of useful information and provides a good overall overview of the pandemic’s impact on OC…good use of color throughout and very eye-catching.
third place in arts and entertainment, Richard Chang for Symphony on the Go Reaches New Audiences: Judge’s Comment “Well written and interesting. I liked the call to action at the end.
third place in news photo, Julie Leopo for Korean War veterans honored with new memorial in Fullerton.
third place in featured photo, Julie Leopo for The Holidays Look Different for Families of the Incarcerated in Orange County: Judge Comment “Poignant pic.”
Fourth place in Columns, Norberto Santana, Jr, for “OC Supervisors Try to Rewrite Rules on Pandemic and Elections”. Santana: Watching Orange County supervisors contact the public health department,
Santana: Orange County’s own coup just failed. What can residents do before the politicians strike again? :Judge’s Comment “Santana has a style of writing suited to newspaper readers that I think can be helpful in conveying these ruling ideas that seem to really put capitalization and conservative views on life and health. “
Fourth place in Company story or news series, Nick Gerda, Norberto Santana, Jr and Spencer Custodio for “Carelessness on CARES Act Funds in OC” OC hospital with biggest known Covid safety issues got most federal relief dollars distributed per county, OC supervisors spent more money on Covid response to sheriff staff than to health workers, after public backlash, Orange County officials backed secret contracts: Judge’s comment “A great example of how persistence in obtaining local records can drive accountability journalism.