Voice of OC Wins Top Honors in State-wide Journalism Contest, “This is Why Journalism Exists”

Voice of OC’s news investigations, columns, photography and design once again have earned top praise in the state’s top annual journalism competition. 

While the Voice of OC budget is small, the nonprofit newsroom’s expanding digital readership puts it in direct competition with the state’s largest newspapers for the California News Publishers Association journalism awards.

It’s the second year in a row that Orange County’s nonprofit newsroom was recognized by the state’s prestigious publishers’ association. 

The highest award for Voice of OC this year, a Second place finish in Statewide Investigations, went to the dramatic series of investigative stories about Angel Stadium negotiations written by Spencer Custodio.

“Informing our communities about decisions being made around them is why journalism exists. This investigation allowed Anaheim residents to see behind the curtain, and take action.”

– Judge’s comments in awarding Custodio’s work second place in Investigations just behind work produced by the statewide nonprofit newsroom, CalMatters.

Columns by Voice of OC’s Publisher & Editor Norberto Santana Jr. also garnered significant praise, earning a fourth place when competing amongst all state media, including the Los Angeles Times.

“Every voter and taxpayer in Orange County should be outraged by these columns revealing the arrogance of Orange County officials in block the public’s right to know – and be heard. The reporting here is exhaustive, the writing is brisk yet conversational.”

Judges writing about Santana’s powerful work

Director of Photography Julie Leopo was awarded fourth place out of all state media for her amazing photojournalism focused on Orange County civic life. . 

Voice of OC Reporting Fellow, Brandon Pho’s reporting on Santa Ana evictions ahead of a new state rent control law was awarded fifth place in the state and a judge described the work as “Excellent reporting, goes beyond the details of what happened at the meeting to investigate whether this is indeed happening (and provides some solid evidence that it is).”

Design of news articles was awarded fifth place among state media and a judge said “Simple but clean layouts. Colors and typography are strong.”

Voice of OC Contributor Amy DePaul and Julie Leopo also  earned fifth place in covering youth and education for a story on underserved teens giving a chance to learn and work on farms.