Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Press Club Awards' Joyous and Defiant Celebration of American Journalism; Reno Dispatch Wins Four More Awards

The San Diego Press Club’s Excellence in Journalism Awards gala, an annual event put on by one of the largest and most respected Press Clubs in the nation, is always a fun and fine time to celebrate the work of so many of my gifted journalism colleagues.
But last night's event took on a different tone and feel. It was in a very real sense a celebration, and a call to arms. 
In a moment in time when journalism and freedom of the press are under siege, the collective resolve among my fellow journalists last night to fight back against those who would abolish the First Amendment was not only palpable, it was profound.
The pride we take in our profession, and our united determination to protect it from corrupt, narcissistic scoundrels and fake patriots, were the evening's resounding themes.
No names were mentioned. But it was painfully obvious who was on the minds of just about everyone in attendance. Fake news, my foot. 
Awards were handed enthusiastically to a long and impressive list of professional print and broadcast reporters and editors here in San Diego. These are my co-workers and friends, and none of them has ever written a fake news story in his or her life.
These are men and women with integrity, courage, compassion, righteous anger and a ton of talent. And I was proud to be among the winners.
We took home 13 writing awards last night, including five first-place awards and the “Wildcard" nod for my San Diego Magazine story on San Diego veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. These veterans have been unable to get their disability benefits from San Diego Veterans Affairs (VA). 
I told the audience gathered at the gala that I've been proudly covering veterans for 25 years, and said my story led to one veteran getting his disability benefits after years of trying. 
I added that while reporters are generally not supposed to call themselves “advocates,” I said, “Screw it. I’m proud to be an advocate for our veterans.”
It was just that kind of night. A night when we said how we really feel. A night that reminded us why we became journalists in the first place.
I was rewarded for my work in Healthline (four awards), Yahoo News (two awards), Yahoo Finance (one award), San Diego Magazine (two awards), and this national news blog, The Reno Dispatch (four awards).
It was a celebration of a noble profession that has been slammed of late by ignorant, anti-American reactionaries who wouldn't know a fact if it bit them in the ass.
Sure, there are sleazy tabloid journalists out there, and there is indeed fake news and there are too many bogus news sources. But  not the kind of fake news we hear about from leaders who just can;t take the criticism. Most reporters and editors working in the United States in 2017 remain hard-working, ethical, responsible journalists.
I proudly spent the evening with hundreds of them. 
The gala was a nice opportunity for all of us to speak out against the madness of those who would take away America's press freedoms, which are the cornerstone of this democracy.

Here's some of my work that the Press Club judges last night deemed worthy of merit:

First Place Awards

"Wildcard" Category 

Impact Reporting: Investigative, Enterprise, or Public Service/Community Advocacy reporting that resulted in a demonstrable, measurable, effect or result:
How Agent Orange is Still Devastating San Diegans
San Diego Magazine

Magazine Category

Best Column
Bi-monthly column about and for San Diego's veterans
San Diego Magazine

Online and Daily Newspapers Category

Jamie Reno and Michael Isikoff
Trump U. lawsuit trails the president-elect right to the White House door
Yahoo News

General News
How Deep Do the Medicaid Cuts Go in Republican Health Plan?

Rock star cancer treatment is being scrutinized after clinical trial deaths
Yahoo Finance

A cancer patient wonders: “Will the government still have my back?”
Yahoo News

Second Place Awards

Online and Daily Newspapers Category

Feature Story, Serious Subject
Cancer Clinical Trial Does Wonders for Ground Zero Rescue Worker

President Trump’s Policies Could Harm Your Healt

Election Coverage
Sure Takes a Lot to Offend Mike Pence
The Reno Dispatch

Reviews, Live Performance
David Crosby Inspires, Disappoints, at Humphrey’s by the Bay
The Reno Dispatch

Who’s Better, Philip Rivers or Dan Fouts? Finally, We Have the Answer
The Reno Dispatch

Third Place Awards

Online and Daily Newspapers Category

American Heroes: Women Veterans Face Mental Health Crisis (three-part series)

Travel - Domestic
After the Flowers? The Stunning Anza-Borrego Desert is Actually Best Enjoyed After the Wildflowers Are Gone

The Reno Dispatch

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