Voice of OC Publisher Norberto Santana Jr. was named Online Journalist of the Year at the 60th annual awards for the Los Angeles Press Club on June 24 at the Biltmore Hotel.

Journalists honored Santana for his column writing about the year long public records court battle against the County of Orange involving documents related to Supervisor Todd Spitzer and his citizens’ arrest of an evangelical preacher. Judges also highlighted Santana’s writing on homelessness across Orange County – on the need for immediate sheltering response and long term permanent supportive housing – as well as his work on the Voice of OC nonprofit model.

The judges commented, “This was an extremely competitive category. It was very difficult to select five finalists among so many worthy entrants — from reporters on the leading edge of #MeToo in the entertainment industry to a one-(wo)man band keeping her website alive — let along choose a winner. But Norberto Santana Jr.’s dogged reporting and the results it brought in the community put him at the top. His writing is topnotch and puts a human face on many of the social ills in the area. Excellent work!

Voice of OC staff reporters and editors also were finalists in more than a dozen categories for this year’s LA Press Club Awards, winning awards in four different categories.

Nick Gerda won second place in the Government/Politics News Writing category for his coverage about Orange County supervisors cracking down on public comment during meetings.

Thy Vo won a third place in Minority/Immigration Reporting for her story on the City of Westminster’s efforts to build a historic trail to honor a landmark school desegregation case involving local Latino families.

Digital Editor Sonya Quick won a third place in website design and Santana also won a third place for political commentary about county homelessness response.

Voice of OC Podcasting Producer Susan Valot won second place in the radio category of Use of Sound for a “Very Merry Tuba Christmas,” broadcast on KCRW. Valot also won a third place in the News Feature category for “Memories, activism and kicking up dust at Manzanar,” broadcast on KCRW and another third place in the Radio journalist category.

Two community Opinion writers, Mohammed Aly and Claudia Perez, also earned finalist nominations in the Political Commentary category.

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