By Norb Garrett, PFM founder/CEO
The California Journalism Awards (CJAs for short) are held annually by the California News Publishers Association (CNPA), which has been supporting and representing news publishers in California since 1888.
Considered the “gold standard” in recognizing and rewarding journalistic excellence, the CJAs each year are judged by an impressive panel of journalists and editors who this year had to review more than 2,800 submissions from journalists and news organizations from across the state.
I’m so very proud to report that Picket Fence Media editors, writers, photographers, contributors and graphic designers won a record 13 awards (10 in print, three in digital) for their work in 2021!
To accomplish such a feat in the midst of a second pandemic-impacted year is a true testament to the talent, professionalism and dedication of our team toward creating original, hyper-local journalism.
Here’s the list of awards:
- 1st place: Sports Feature Story, “San Clemente Resident Annie Kunz Qualifies for Olympic Heptathlon,” Zach Cavanagh, San Clemente Times (Weekly, 11K-25K)
- 2nd Place: General Excellence, Lillian Boyd, Chelsie Rex, Zach Cavanagh and Shawn Raymundo, Dana Point Times (Weekly, 4.3K-11K)
- 3rd Place: Profile Story, “Former Firefighter Recounts Experience Assisting First Responders at Ground Zero,” Shawn Raymundo, San Clemente Times (Weekly, 11K-25K)
- 3rd Place: Profile Story, “A Lifelong Teacher: Founder of Ocean Institute to Be Honored After Fatal Collision,” Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times (Weekly, 4.3K-11K)
- 3rd Place: Special Section, “2021 Dolphin Football Preview,” Zach Cavanagh and Jasmine Smith, Dana Point Times (Weekly)
- 4th Place: Special Section, “2021 San Juan Football Preview,” Zach Cavanagh and Jasmine Smith, The Capistrano Dispatch (Weekly)
- 4th Place: News Photo, “Ancestral Stories,” Collin Breaux, The Capistrano Dispatch (Weekly, 11k-25k)
- 5th Place: COVID-19 Coverage, “Business Community Raises Concerns of Labor Shortage Amid Declining Unemployment,” Shawn Raymundo, San Clemente Times (Weekly, 11K-25K)
- 5th Place: News Photo, “Masked Up,” Collin Breaux, The Capistrano Dispatch (Weekly, 11K-25K)
- 5th Place: Special Section, “Best of San Clemente 2020,” Jasmine Smith, San Clemente Times (Weekly)
- 3rd Place: Arts & Entertainment Coverage, “At the Movies: ‘Belfast’ Takes International Audiences Back in History,” Megan Bianco, San Clemente Times (100K and under)
- 4th Place: Land-Use Reporting, “Sale of City Land to Gas Station Developer Enters New Stage,” Shawn Raymundo, San Clemente Times (100K and under)
- 5th Place: General Excellence, Shawn Raymundo, Zach Cavanagh and Jasmine Smith, San Clemente Times (100K and under)
Please join me in congratulating our amazing team members on their awards and for their tireless dedication to reporting on our communities.
All of us at Picket Fence Media are dedicating this year’s CJA awards to Fred Swegles, our esteemed colleague who continues to fight a cancerous brain tumor. His lifelong dedication to community journalism is an inspiration to all of us and we hope and pray for his recovery.
All of us here at Picket Fence Media are proud to serve the communities of San Clemente, Dana Point, Capistrano Beach, San Juan Capistrano and Rancho Mission Viejo.
Thank you to our readers, Insiders and advertising partners for your continued support!