Saturday, July 9, 2011

This blog is not longer being updated.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


OK, so we should have put something up about this months ago, but with all worries of job losses and the actual job losses, it's always pushed to the back burner.

The job losses, along with the poor economy (for newspapers and everywhere else), factored into us not having a contest this year. And with our board decimated by the layoffs (and furloughs) that have hit just about every paper in this region, it was a decision that needed to be made.

We're sorry that the great work done by journalists in the region in 2008 will not be honored, and hope to be back on our feet and able to run a contest next year. And if any one out there would be willing to volunteer to help with the contest (coordinate judging here and out of state, help sort out entries, organize the banquet, etc.) please contact us. We'd love the help.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A change in the board

We've had some changes folks, a changing of the guard if you will.

Gina Tenorio has been named president of the Inland Chapter of Professional Journalists. C.L. Lopez has moved to vice-president, Bill Norris remains (much to our relief) as treasurer-secretary and John Bender continues as a board member.

Given the climate for some of us, the chapter has not been very active. But we still exist and are here to serve the journalists in Riverside and San Bernardino counties to the best of our abilities.

We realize that things are tough for a lot of people right now. If there is a service we can provide, we will. And we need all of you to come out and support us more than ever. We have a few ideas we're kicking around.

If you have any suggestions, please let us know. You can reach Gina Tenorio at

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ethics and the Contest

One of the guiding principals of the Society of Professional Journalists is ethics. If people can't trust that we're not reporting and writing the truth as we know it, why should the public trust us.

To read SPJ's Code of Ethics, click here.

I bring this up because the entries in our contest should be held to the ethical standards of the business. If you made a mistake in a story that you're going to enter, the correction (if one ran) should be attached to the story as well.

As such, when I got an e-mail this morning, I was pleased that one of my journalistic colleagues was so bound to his ethics that months after his story ran, and just a few days after he received an award, that when two mistakes were discovered in the story yesterday (one, the person said was "a particularly egregious error"), he withdrew his story from the contest and returned the award.

The winner's list has been updated below, and replacement awards for the other people in the category will be made and sent out in the coming weeks.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


The winner's list follows this post. Sorry about any typos, and if there are any names misspelled, I apologize, and let me know at, and I'll fix 'em.

In the results themselves, none of the comments have been edited as they were sent back from the judges from Florida and Washington. If there are no comments, that means they weren't provided to us. Sorry.

Remember, if you need your award fixed, or need to order a duplicate, please let me know as soon as possible.


1A Best Breaking News Story
FIRST PLACE: Stacia Glenn and Staff, The Sun
“Scorched Earth”
COMMENTS: Wow! Comprehensive reporting, the very definition of breaking news journalism lifted above the competition by clear but evocative writing that gave a sense of being there. Superb.
SECOND PLACE: The Press-Enterprise Staff
COMMENTS: Amazingly sound reporting, writing and editing under difficult conditions
THIRD PLACE: Sarah Burge, Tammy McCoy and Leezel Tanglao, The Press-Enterprise
“Fourth Teen Dies”
COMMENTS: Solid reporting, balanced
1B Best Breaking News Story
FIRST PLACE: Ryan Orr, Daily Press
“Honeycutt Arrested”
COMMENTS: Complete reporting included context for newcomers. Sidebar was excellent addition. Clearly written.
SECOND PLACE: Tim O’Leary and Shannon Starr, The Valley News
“Murder/Suicide Shocks Temecula”
COMMENTS: Well-reported, decently written but how can you go 6 grafs without identifying the victims?
THIRD PLACE: Beau Yarbrough, Hesperia Star
COMMENTS: Nicely reported and written
2A Best Enterprise Story
FIRST PLACE: Paige Austin, The Press-Enterprise
“No Rescue: The Case of Ricky Morales.“
COMMENTS: This story is the epitome of enterprise. The reporter never gave up, demanding to find out the how and why of this tragedy. Not only was the reporter industrious but the story is beautifully -- and heart-wrenchingly -- writen. Good, great job.
SECOND PLACE (Tie): Paul LaRocco, The Press-Enterprise
“Neighborhoods, Lives Silenced”
SECOND PLACE (Tie): Leslie Berkman, The Press-Enterprise
“From Dreams to Debt”
COMMENTS: Both stories are well-researched and showed both journalists’ reporters skills and writing talents. These articles are the prime examples of how to show, not tell, a story.
THIRD PLACE: Stacia Glenn, The Sun
“On the front with fire crew”
COMMENTS: Fine writing is enhanced by reporter’s skills at interviewing. Reporter made judge feel as if she was on the scene with the firefighters.
2B Best Enterprise Story
FIRST PLACE: Jason W. Armstrong, Daily Journal
“Defender Exodus …”
COMMENTS: A fine look into the justice system, in a place where problems have persisted for years.
SECOND PLACE (tie): J.P. Crumrine, Idyllwild Town Crier
“Did IFPD do enough…”
SECOND PLACE (tie): Gretchen Losi, Daily Press“Teens dealing with addiction.”
COMMENTS: Losi’s writing stands out, but also her ability to get people to talk who reasonably could have feared being hurt by an article about them. Crumrine stands out for looking into the emergency responders’ own review of their performance. Story makes us want to know more.
3A Best Feature Story
FIRST PLACE: Paul LaRocco, The Press-Enterprise
“The Lone Rangers”
COMMENTS: In a category where half the submissions were war-related, it’s significant that the winners came from that other half. Leading the way was this well-written, well-reported story. It may not be far, but it’s true that feature stories benefit from photos and maps – as this one did. An interesting tale well told.
SECOND PLACE: Paige Austin, The Press-Enterprise
“Inmates’ Children”
COMMENTS: Excellent feature writing requires time and attention to detail. Austin not only pre-reported a story about the Get On A Bus program, she rode that bus. Along the way, she uncovered fascinating facts that most likely eluded all the ordinary news stories ever written about the program.
THIRD PLACE: Shirin Parsavand, The Press-Enterprise
“Thanks to Lidia”
COMMENTS: Just as award-winning feature stories can turn on the parts that aren’t written (photos, graphics), they can also be decided by the letter that explain the situation behind the story. In this case, the tiebreaker in a bunch of qualified third-place finishers was Parsavand’s persistence in turning a community story into an A1 story – documented in her submission. The judges agreed: if you have a compelling back story to your award submission, by all means tell it.
3B Best Feature Story
FIRST PLACE: Nick Schou, OC Weekly
“Just a Random Female”
COMMENTS: This was the ultimate combination of a great story told by a great reporter and writer. Move over Mickey Spillane. It must have taken him months to research this dark tale, "Just a Random Female" of a serial killer and his first victim, and her parents’ quest for justice more than 20 years after a fateful meeting in a dark college parking lot. I came away from the story hoping he would write a book.
SECOND PLACE (tie): Marianne Napoles, Chino Hills Champion
“Daddy to the Bone”
COMMENTS: This story is a heart-warming story of Robert Van Den Brink, who inherited a stepdaughter who has severe autism when he married her mother 21 years ago.“Today, Cynthia Leba is 38 ... she still cannot speak or take care of herself. Mr. Van Den Brink is now 71, and is still holding Cynthia’s hand, braiding her thick red hair and brushing her teeth.”
SECOND PLACE (tie): C.L. Lopez, Redlands Daily Facts“Raising Todd”
COMMENTS: “Some nights, Todd Avery Gunterman still calls out for his mother, Army Pfc. Hannah Leah McKinney.”That’s the lead of the emotional opening story about grandparents raising a 2-year-old after his mother, their daughter, was killed in Iraq. This was a three-part series that dealt with the financial hardship the grandparents face; how their daughter’s new husband has not provided for his stepson, and how their church has stepped up to help them emotionally.
THIRD PLACE: David Silva, IE Weekly.“Masters of their Eminent Domain”
COMMENTS: This was a smartly written saga of how the Riverside City Hall is declaring war on private property, as the subhead says, in an effort to gentrify a city.“Coming soon! Coming soon!,” the signs proclaim," he writes. “Riverside is a city on the move... These are exciting momentous times if you’re young or new or fabulously wealthy...Fear is another sign you see everywhere, on the powerless merchants or the faces of lifelong residents as they gaze nervously at the bulldozers outside their door…”Although this story has a point of view, which is not conventional journalism, it gave voice to the people who are being pushed out in the name of progress.

4A Best Special Project/Package
FIRST PLACE: Douglas Quan, Janet Zimmerman, Lora Hines and Gregor McGavin, The Press-Enterprise
“Reckoning with Homelessness”
COMMENTS: This package examined the prevalent problem of homelessness from a multitude of angles: the personal perspective, the social policy aspects, the reasons why these people were homeless in the first place. We appreciated the legwork done by the reporters as Riverside and San Bernardino Counties began to implement and conceive plans to fix the problem. The reporters guide the readers through these proposals, and even travel to Denver to see how a plan worked there. The paper did a service for its readers by not just treating the homeless as masses gathered on the sidewalks asking for spare change, but giving them faces and names and telling their stories through a series of moving profiles.
SECOND PLACE: Will Bigham and Wendy Leung, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
“Grass Valley ”
COMMENTS: Well-written and thoroughly-reported series on a unique topic of suburban grow houses and the pot phenomenon. The writers attacked the subject from a multitude of interesting angles, and complemented their stories with informative sidebars (by the numbers, location of pot busts, the history of pot, etc.). The writing was crisp and compelling, and kept the reader’s interest throughout the series. The debate over medical marijuana and the mayor’s take on the whole issue nicely topped the package off. Fantastic job! This is how a series should be done.
THIRD PLACE: Julia Glick and Michelle DeArmond, The Press-Enterprise
“Saving Sacred Sites”
COMMENTS: Glick and DeArmond tackled a very interesting but rarely written about topic. The story’s opening is fantastic, drawing you in immediately to issue of modernity built on top of sacred Native American lands. The writers provide a fascinating discussion of the new law and how it is working, and top off the package with great background on the Indian cultures that are being affected.

4B Best Special Project/Package
FIRST PLACE: Shannon Starr and Julie Reeder, The Valley News
“Special Edition while displaced by fire”
COMMENTS: The judges were impressed by how thorough, interesting and helpful the special edition was -- especially when put out in difficult circumstances. A real public service that shows passion for the job.
SECOND PLACE: Aaron Aupperlee, Desert Dispatch
“In the box series coverage of training at Fort Irwin”
COMMENTS: This three-part series really showed initiative and creativity, and brought the readers insight into national and international news events. The reporter went far beyond his desk, embedding with a training unit to bring readers first-hand news.
THIRD PLACE: Maritza Velazquez, Highlander
“Bomb blast disrupts Glendora lives; War takes toll on Glendora family; The healing process / Wounded soldier looks forward to going home”
COMMENTS: The judges liked this reporter’s commitment in following this family as it dealt with a severe war injury. The stories were well written. The judges liked, for example, the story top that began “It was 4 a.m. when Veronica Solorio awoke to the feeling of her husband’s head on her shoulder.” This writer really tried to pull readers in to this family’s world. Nice job.
5A Best Continuing Beat Coverage
FIRST PLACE: Sandra Stokley and David Olson, The Press-Enterprise
SECOND PLACE: Julia Glick and Ben Goad, The Press-Enterprise
“In the slow lane”
THIRD PLACE: Duane Gang, The Press-Enterprise
“Red-hot housing’s cool down”
5B Best Continuing Beat Coverage
FIRST PLACE: Ryan Orr, Daily Press
“Water haulers”
SECOND PLACE: J.P. Crumrine, Idyllwild Town Crier
“Valley Health System”
6A Best Law Enforcement/Legal Affairs Story
FIRST PLACE: Douglas Quan, The Press-Enterprise
“Mean Streets”
COMMENTS: It is clear a great deal of work went into putting this series together. The reporter got gang members and residents to open up about a sensitive subject and presented all the information in an easy-to-read manner.
SECOND PLACE: Sonja Bjelland, The Press-Enterprise
“In deputy involved fatal shootings, Riverside County tops LA County.”
THIRD PLACE: Paul LaRocco, The Press-Enterprise
“Confessor regrets divulging Redlands bank robbery”
6B Best Law Enforcement/Legal Affairs Story
FIRST PLACE: Beau Yarbrough, Hesperia Star
“Necrophiliac Belatedly Lands in Prison”
SECOND PLACE: Jason W. Armstrong, Los Angeles Daily Journal
“DA Sees Murder in Girlfriend’s Fatal Leap”
THIRD PLACE: Katherine Rosenberg, Daily Press
“Intruder Shot During Garage Gunfight”
7A/B Best Education Story
FIRST PLACE: Daffodil J. Altan, OC Weekly
“Hard knocks”
SECOND PLACE: Claudia Bustamante, The Press-Enterprise
“Laptop program missing keys”
THIRD PLACE: Maritza Velazquez, Highlander
Challenging students: Program seeks to prevent violence
8A Best Environmental Story
FIRST PLACE: David Olson and Leslie Berkman, The Press-Enterprise
“Warming World, Cleaner Choices”
COMMENTS: This story leading off a 14-page special section was notable for its clear, step-by-step introduction for readers to how California’s new rules designed to fight global warming are likely to interact with their electricity and their pocketbook. The approach was comprehensive, including a visit to the Utah town where electricity is produced for Southern Californians in a coal-fired power plant, and a look at how energy conservation pays off.
SECOND PLACE: Jennifer Bowles, The Press-Enterprise
“Cleanup wait grows longer”
COMMENTS: This look at the Cold War-era spilling of perchlorate at a Rialto defense contractor came alive because the reporter tracked down one of the workers who actually spilled the stuff, and told her story.
THIRD PLACE: Jason Pesick, The Sun
“$18 million down the drain?”
COMMENTS: Another look at the perchlorate problem in Rialto, this one posing excellent questions about whether the city should continue a legal fight on its own or turn the problem over to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
8B Best Environmental Story
FIRST PLACE: Hillary Borrud, Daily Press
“Cement plants want to turn gray to green”
COMMENTS: A really interesting, unexpected topic thoroughly covered. It included great context - relative contribution of greenhouse gases by cement plants, California’s ranking in cement production, Supreme Court and EPA action on the pollutants. It carried the concept all the way through to completion - who would use the captured CO2 and how likely is development of that market. All of this technical information was clearly explained and well supported.
SECOND PLACE: Shannon Starr, The Valley News
“Groups promote local produce”
COMMENTS: This article included some great descriptive scene setting and details, tracking some of the people involved with the local farming, organic program, bringing their efforts to life. It included needed context for why this is an important and growing trend.
THIRD PLACE (tie): Jahmal Peters, Business Press“Growers scramble as taps close”
COMMENTS: A great effort to tackle a technical, really important issue that got a little bogged down in numbers and jargon. Still, it captured some of the magnitude, challenges and competing interests in the parched region.
THIRD PLACE (tie): Betty Bailey, Idyllwild Town Crier
“Eaglet survival hard at Lake Hemet”
COMMENTS: There’s an assumption that eagles are thriving everywhere, but this story details the struggle of getting a reproducing population near Lake Hemet. Includes great history to get a sense of how and why the birds’ numbers plummeted, and the interest and concern in boosting the local population.
9A/B Best Government/Political Story
FIRST PLACE: Marcia Gawecki, Idyllwild Town Crier
“IFPD violates Brown Act”
SECOND PLACE: Ryan Orr and Katherine Rosenberg, Daily Press
“Inmates incompetent of standing trial sit in jails”
THIRD PLACE: Brian Eckhouse, The Californian
“Shopping center deal questioned”
10A Best Health Care/Social Services Story
FIRST PLACE: Sean Nealon, The Press-Enterprise
“Sickbed shortage”
SECOND PLACE: David Olson, The Press-Enterprise
“More seniors struggle with debt”
THIRD PLACE: Claudia Bustamante and Shirin Parsavand, The Press-Enterprise
“Nurses’ objections”
10B Best Health Care/Social Services Story
FIRST PLACE: Richard Irwin, Highland Newspapers
“Making miles of smiles”
SECOND PLACE: Darla Martin Tucker, Business Press
“Health care help wanted”
THIRD PLACE: Carol Park, Business Press
“Former users help others clean up”


11A Best Cultural/Diversity Story
FIRST PLACE: David Olson, The Press-Enterprise
“Clash of Cultures”
COMMENTS: Well-written, thoroughly researched piece on the Purepecha culture and how it has attempted to assimilate in Mexico and California. Photos and web presentation complement the articles nicely.
SECOND PLACE: Julia Glick and Michelle DeArmond, The Press-Enterprise
“Saving Sacred Sites”
COMMENTS: Excellent piece on the struggle to gain cooperation and support for preserving sacred sites. Photos illustrate the story very nicely.
THIRD PLACE: David Olson, The Press-Enterprise
“Acknowledging a Genocide”
COMMENTS: Thoughtful, balanced piece about a sensitive topic.
11B Best Cultural/Diversity Story
FIRST PLACE: Janine Kahn, OC Weekly
“The Closet and the Cross”
COMMENTS: Clearly the best submission in the category, this illuminating piece offers insight and examples of the controversy surrounding the "ex gay" ministry. Superbly researched and written. Great cover story.
SECOND PLACE: Richard Irwin, Highlander Newspapers
“Mosque on the Move”
COMMENTS: Interesting, factual piece on how one Islamic Center reaches out to its followers as well as the local community. Good front page photos.
THIRD PLACE: C. L. Lopez, Redlands Daily Facts“Church Reaches Out”
COMMENTS: Nice piece on how one church is reaching out to its families of military veterans.
12A Best Business Story
FIRST PLACE: Chris Bagley, The Californian
“Real Estate Group Guts Neighborhood”
COMMENTS: Aggressive and resourceful reporting made this entry stand out. The story brought to light the impact of one individual’s questionable activities in the real estate market, but it also provided an example of the shenanigans behind the broader market bust.
SECOND PLACE: Kimberly Pierceall, The Press-Enterprise
“What’s in Store? Increased machinery”
COMMENTS: Fascinating subject, and a well-reported story, providing concrete examples to show how machines are replacing people in retail settings. A glimpse of where we’re headed.
THIRD PLACE: Sean Nealon, The Press-Enterprise
“Wineries seek workers who know both vines, bottom line”
COMMENTS: Good details, strong reporting, interesting subject.
12B Best Business Story
FIRST PLACE: Joseph Ascenzi, The Business Press
“P.S. Cabbies face tough new rules”
COMMENTS: This well-reported story showed how a simple change in rules can impact a local industry. The bonus is that it’s also a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the taxicab business.
SECOND PLACE: Ray Marano, Smart Business Magazine
“Beating Bankruptcy”
COMMENTS: This story stood out because of the reporter’s ability to get candid comments from the executive on a difficult subject. With more sourcing, it would have ranked higher.
THIRD PLACE: Evelyn Barge, Highlander Newspapers
“Mom’s Brainchild”
COMMENTS: Interesting look at a creative business idea
13 A/B Best Entertainment Story or Feature
FIRST PLACE: Julia Glick, The Press Enterprise
“Reality TV helping truckers shape up”
SECOND PLACE: Peter Day, Hesperia Star
Swingin’ to Success”
14 Best Review
FIRST PLACE: Stacy Davies, Inland Empire Weekly
“Embrace Your Sexy Menstrual Cycle!”
SECOND PLACE: Taylor Jordan, The Black Voice News
Monterey Jazz Festival Retains Its Magic For 50 Years”
15A Best Sports Story or Feature
FIRST PLACE: Landon Negri, The Californian
“Munoz leads by faith”
COMMENTS: Well-written story, but what truly makes it stand out is the depth of reporting. The story did a good job of taking the reader beyond the obvious and into Munoz’s life.
SECOND PLACE: John Murphy, Sun
“Unusual umpire”
COMMENTS: Good story. A sensitive issue was handled nicely.
THIRD PLACE: John Murphy, Sun
“No safety net”
COMMENTS: Captured the courage of someone facing tremendous odds. A good read.
15B Best Sports Story or Feature
FIRST PLACE: Gerald Tang, Daily Press
“The dark side of prep football”
COMMENTS: Well-researched and nicely written. The story painted a nice picture of a problem nearly everyone is sure exists, but no one knows exactly how to quantify.
SECOND PLACE: Gerald Tang, Daily Press
“A miracle in every breath”
COMMENTS: The story included some nice detail and did a good job of creating a portrait of the cancer patient as well as capturing the emotions of those around him.
THIRD PLACE: Betty Bailey, Idyllwild Town Crier
“Outdoor sports tests fear of heights”
COMMENTS: Nice piece on a little-known, but very interesting sport.
16 Best News Column
FIRST PLACE: Cassie MacDuff, The Press-Enterprise
“Charging marchers”
SECOND PLACE: Cassie MacDuff, The Press-Enterprise
“County’s secrecy”
THIRD PLACE: David Reynolds, The Valley News
“Who’s come a long way?”
17 Best Features Column
FIRST PLACE: Leo Greene, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
“Still time, energy for one last trip”
COMMENTS: A poignant read about one man’s memories of a distant homeland. Greene invites us to come along to Ireland with his vivid descriptions, poetic language and powerful imagery.
SECOND PLACE: Jeff Girod, The Press-Enterprise
“A Couch For Small Potatoes”
COMMENTS: Humor writing is never easy. Girod scores big-time with a column that’s funny from beginning to end.
THIRD PLACE: Marianne Napoles, Champion Newspapers
“Reflections from Vinny’s Mom”
COMMENTS: Thoughtful writing that resonates with parents and non-parents alike.
18 Best Sports Column
FIRST PLACE: Jim Alexander, The Press Enterprise
“Time to Acknowledge Empty Seats Problem.”
COMMENTS: It’s unusual to read a sports columnist who takes the time to do some research and provide meaningful insight into a sporting event. Alexander does that in his column about the lack of attendance at the California Speedway.
SECOND PLACE: Jim Alexander, The Press Enterprise
“Instant Replay KOs NHL Frontier Justice.”
COMMENTS: In this column, Alexander uses humor and dry wit to the serious subject of cheap shots to the head in the world of professional hockey.
THIRD PLACE: Matthew Peters, The Desert Dispatch
MLB Scholarship plan allows players to chase their dreams.”
19 Best Editorial/Opinion Piece
FIRST PLACE: Becky Clark, Idyllwild Town Crier
“A Scary Month”
COMMENTS: Gets right to the heart of the matter, quickly and easily.
SECOND PLACE: Beau Yarbrough, Hesperia Star
“An Awful Week for a Virginia Tech Graduate”
COMMENTS: Shows how the Virginia Tech shooting hit close to home, even thousands of miles away.
THIRD PLACE: Peter Day, Hesperia Star
“An Original Rides Into the Sunshine”
COMMENTS: An engaging read.
20 Best Blog Essay
FIRST PLACE: Barbara E. Hernandez,
“The Curse of the Median Home Price”
COMMENTS: She does a good job at mixing details with personal perspective on a crisis affecting many people.
SECOND PLACE: Barbara E. Hernandez,
“The Rise of House Porn”
COMMENTS: Innovative way of describing a sales tactic. It not only gets to the heart of the matter, but it also gets readers to pay attention.
THIRD PLACE: Katherine Rosenberg, Daily Press
“State of Fear?”
COMMENTS: The reader gets an upfront sense of what Rosenberg is writing about.
21 Best Overall Blog
FIRST PLACE: Aaron Aupperlee & Jason Smith, The Desert Dispatch
“Off the I-15”
SECOND PLACE: Scott Shackford, The Desert Dispatch
“The Editor’s Desk”
THIRD PLACE: Kimberly Pierceall, The Press Enterprise
“Tourism Blog”