Norberto Santana, Jr. is one of the best publishers in the nation amongst small newsrooms in the 2021 Local Journalism Awards.

Independent judges for the contest recognized Santana’s leadership in founding Voice of OC and over a dozen years establishing its reputation as a source of essential local news in Orange County. The No. 1 publisher of the year will be announced Nov. 16.

The LION Local Journalism Awards recognize excellence in journalism and business amongst local independent online news publishers. Independent judges especially work to recognize journalists “who rise above the ordinary” in working as entrepreneurs and in acting as a mentor for other publishers in the field.

Other finalists in the publisher category for small newsrooms are news leaders at San José Spotlight and the Wausau Pilot & Review.

This honor for Santana comes on the heels of his recognition as a journalist and columnist across the state and in southern California. He has repeatedly been honored as one of the best news columnists in the state and as one of the most noteworthy news publishers leading future of news development in the nation.

Among Santana’s recent accomplishments he has been recognized with: 

  • Named Journalist of Distinction by the Society of Professional Journalists in the Greater Los Angeles and Orange County region.
  • Journalist of the Year in digital across southern California in the LA Press Club awards.
  • Santana and the Voice of OC newsroom he leads were honored with general excellence and 18 awards in statewide journalism awards given by the California News Publishers Association in 2021.
  • Santana was awarded as first place for columns in Southern California – and the newsroom was commended with 13 top honors – in the Los Angeles Press Club awards for 2021.
  • And Santana was again honored for his columns along with the newsroom’s record-breaking 27 awards and 14 first-place wins in the Orange County Press Club’s 2021 awards.

In addition to being publisher, editor-in-chief and a columnist for Voice of OC, Santana also is serving his fourth elected and consecutive term on the national Institute for Nonprofit News board and he is also president of the California nonprofit dedicated to government transparency, Cal Aware.


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