The Voice of OC newsroom was recognized by the state’s news publishers association this past weekend at the CNPA annual Journalism Awards with a series of recognitions, winning top honors for an infographic that exposed the dark money campaign contributions that dominated last year’s congressional elections.

The VOC website layout design also was recognized with a second place finish – despite competing alongside many of the state’s largest newsrooms.

“These awards really highlight what our staff does so well: Connect the dots for residents on complex issues in real time,” said Publisher Norberto Santana, Jr.

“Our infographic on the 2018 elections really helped residents understand how influence is spread throughout their community and was put together by two key staffers, our County Reporter, Nick Gerda and our Digital Editor, Sonya Quick. Their collaborative work, on deadline, really highlights the team ethos that our nonprofit newsroom lives by every day and it’s a special honor to see their efforts recognized as the state’s best – especially in a category including some of the state’s largest newsrooms.”

Voice of OC took home top awards for work in categories including investigative reporting, infographics, columns, website design and photo essays. This is the first time the organization, founded in 1888, included digital-only news outlets in the contest.

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CNPA Awards

Voice of OC took home 10 awards in the CNPA awards for 2018 content. Credit: SONYA QUICK, Voice of OC

General Excellence — Voice of OC — 4th place

Columns: “Homelessness in Orange County” — columns (1 and 2) by Norberto Santana, Jr. — 4th place. Judges noted: “Great writing.”

Public Service: “Homelessness in Orange County — work by Norberto Santana, Jr., Tracy Wood, Nick Gerda, Spencer Custodio, Thy Vo — 5th place. Judges noted: “Readers who live in one of the country’s wealthiest enclaves had to be blown away to learn of Orange County’s homelessness problem.”

Investigation: “Corporate PAC Money Flows to All Candidates in Contested OC Congressional Races — by Nick Gerda — 4th place. Judges noted: “An even-handed investigation that despite their denials, Democrats also rely on political action committee funding.”

Investigation: “Sheriff and Phone Company Covered Up Jail Recordings, Attorney Alleges — by Thy Vo — 5th place. Judges noted: “Solid effort at going beyond a 48-page legal motion.”

Photo Essay: “After Not Seeing Children for at Least a Decade, Families Reunite in Santa Ana — by Spencer Custodio — 3rd place.

Photo Essay: “Orange County Honors Veterans at Heroes Hall — by Julie Leopo — 4th place.

Infographic: “Millions in Dark Money Flowing to OC Congressional Races — Sonya Quick and Nick Gerda — 1st place.

Infographic: “Transportation Officials: Gas Tax Repeal Would Cut Bus Service 11 Percent — Sonya Quick — 5th place.

Homepage layout and design — designed by Sonya Quick — 2nd place. Judges noted: “A pleasant surprise. Good/effective design despite only a few stories on the homepage. Like how the lead photo is displayed; good use of secondary photos and headlines (though in latter, font is a little big). Strong on mobile as well as desktop.”

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