Twelve years in as Orange County’s only nonprofit and nonpartisan newsroom — the reporters, photographers and editors at Voice of OC continue to earn awards up and down the state.

The latest achievements are recognition in the Southern California Journalism Awards, presented by the Los Angeles Press Club. 

In all, the Voice of OC team has 20 finalist entries for work published throughout the tumultuous 2020 news year.

Voice of OC journalists are recognized with finalist entries across news reports, arts and culture, political commentary, infographics, photography, audience engagement and design.

In this awards contest — just like the California Journalism Awards and the Orange County Press Club Awards — Voice of OC’s small news team is competing against newsrooms that are oftentimes hundreds of people in size with multi-million-dollar budgets. 

Despite regularly competing at the highest level of journalistic recognition, Voice of OC journalists consistently earn top honors.

Award rankings will be announced by the Press Club Oct. 16. Entries were independently judged.

Remember, our news is free to read (and free of data-stealing ads), but it is not free to produce. Please take the time today to join the thousands of residents who support Voice of OC by making a tax-deductible donation.

Voice of OC’s Award Finalists

In order of appearance,

In Education Reporting, Hosam Elattar for “Orange County School Districts Consider Black Lives Matter Resolutions, Changes to Curriculum.”

In Hard News, Brandon Pho and Julie Leopo for “Orange County Coastal Enclave Becomes Ground Zero of Police Violence Controversy and Protests.”

In Portrait Photo, Leopo for “A Time to Reflect, Recognize Local Indigenous History” AND Omar Sanchez for “‘I Hope They Put Themselves in Our Shoes.’

In Graphics, Sonya Quick for “Orange County CA Coronavirus Daily Tracker by City, New Cases and Hospitalizations” AND Quick with Nick Gerda for “Increase in Cities’ OC Sheriff Contracts Since 2016.”

In Page Design (outstanding art and direction and layout, graphics), Quick for Voice of OC.

In General News, Brandon Pho for “Controversy Over Neighborhood Handball Courts Fuels Santa Ana’s Youth and Public Safety Debate” AND Pho for “Young Black Organizers and Leaders Look to a New Orange County in Light of Protests.”

In Culture News, Richard Chang for “Renaming Historic Sites Continues to Ignite Debate in Orange County.”

In Entertainment News (Music/Performing Arts), Joel Beers for “Stages Theatre, a Mainstay for 28 Years on the Local Theater Scene, Closes Its Doors.

In Investigative, Spencer Custodio, Gerda and Noah Biesiada for a series including stories: “The Downplaying of Orange County’s Coronavirus Numbers,” “Orange County Officials Told Anaheim City Manager to Keep Secret Coronavirus Zip Code Data,” “OC Officials Will Not Release What Cities Have Identified Coronavirus Cases,” “OC Officials Rail Against New State Metric Requiring Lower Coronavirus Rates in Poor Neighborhoods,” and “Coronavirus Hospitalizations Have Been Rising in OC, Despite Claims of ‘Flattened’ Curve.”

In News Feature (Music/Culture), Pho and Leopo for “In Wake of Raucous Protests, Santa Ana Residents Rally Around Clean Up.”

In Columnist, Norberto Santana, Jr. for “Santana: Latinos in Santa Ana and Anaheim Confront a Day of the Dead Unlike Any Other,” “Santana: Did Faulty Power Equipment Drive 90,000 OC Residents from Their Homes?” and “Santana: Who Will Stand up for Santa Ana and Anaheim on Coronavirus Impacts?

In Political Commentary (Local), Santana for “Just One Vote Made the Difference in Brea’s Local School Board Race,” “Santana: Amidst Record Voter Turnout, OC DA Probes His Own Party Over Ballot Harvesting” and “Santana: What Did Orange County Residents Tell Us This Past Election About Themselves?

In Website News Design, Quick for Voice of OC.In Use of Social Media to Enhance or Cover a Story, Caitlin Bartusick, Pho and Quick for “Orange County Protests Against Police Violence” AND Santana, Custodio and Quick for “Voice of OC Convenes Local Experts on Coronavirus, Elections to Answer Most Pressing Questions of Readers.”

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.