We Win 14 Orange County Press Club Awards

Winners Anne Marie Panoringan, Patrice Marsters, Gabriel San Román, Cynthia Rebolledo and Taylor Hamby. Photo: Keli Marchbank

Your OC Weekly took home 14 Orange County Press Awards at last night’s annual Excellence in Journalism Gala. Six of them were first-place awards, of which Gabriel San Román
 brought home three (for Feature Story, Arts/Culture Story, and Religion Story), while Dave Barton won a first for Best Arts/Culture Review, Anne Marie Panoringan won for Best Travel Story, and former staff writer Taylor Hamby won a first for Best Music/Entertainment Story. One of our interns, Nikki Nelsen of Cal State Long Beach, also won a Press Club scholarship.

But the greatest honor of the night, the Sky Dunlap Award for lifetime achievement and community involvement, went to OC Weekly‘s own managing editor, Patrice Marsters. Since Volume 1, Issue 1 back in 1995, Marsters has been a part of the Weekly. In fact, I’d say the smartest decision made that first year was to hire her. She’s probably read every story the paper has ever produced, and her institutional knowledge is legendary around here. Her organizational and management skills, leadership, ethics, and journalistic style have been instrumental in not only making sure that we put out an issue each week, but also that we survive at all. Many years ago, I described her role at the paper as being “the pin in the grenade,” which was partly in jest but mostly in awe of how hard she worked to keep the paper’s editorial sections functioning. Marsters should have gotten this award a decade ago, but it’s certainly welcome now.

Anyway, here’s a complete list of OC Weekly‘s journalism winners and their stories, all of which were entered in the Traditional/Print Division. Having these writers in the Weekly has been a privilege:

Best Feature Story
First Place: Gabriel San Román

“Disneyland Resort Workers Are the True Magic-Makers, But a Survey Shows Many Toil in Poverty”

Best Round-Up or Best Of
Second Place: Cynthia Rebolledo
“Viva Los Tacos”

Best Arts/Culture Story
First Place: Gabriel San Román
“What Happened to Downtown Santa Ana’s Cinco de Mayo Festival?”

Third Place: Taylor Hamby
“Paul Frank Is Still Orange County’s Friend”

Best Music/Entertainment Story
First Place: Taylor Hamby
“A Longtime Employee of the Legendary Golden Bear Recalls the Huntington Beach Club’s Heyday”

Best Food/Restaurant Story
Second Place: Taylor Hamby
“Orange County’s Tiki Bars of the Past and Present Help You to Forget About Your Boring Life”

Best Arts/Culture Review

First Place: Dave Barton
“OCC’s ‘Jim DeFrance: A Retrospective’ Is a Graceful Ode to Life’s Release”

Third Place: Dave Barton
“Female Victimization and Childhood Trauma Inform a Muddled Show at Grand Central Art Center”

Best Food/Restaurant Review
Second Place: Edwin Goei
“Mr. Taco Nice in Anaheim Does Tacos and Pizzas and Taco Pizzas”

Best Travel Story
First Place: Anne Marie Panoringan
“A Trip Through the Santa Ynez Backroads”

Third Place: Patrice Marsters
“Size Matters: Feel As Tall As a Giant, As Small As an Ant in Tucson”

Best Religion Story
First Place:  Gabriel San Román
“Karen Estremo’s the Dragon and the Rose Is the Hub for OC Pagans”

Marjorie Freeman Award for Best Humorous Story
Third Place: Anne Marie Panoringan
“Del Frisco’s Grille’s Updated Brunch Is a John Hughes Movie”

Anthony Pignataro has been a journalist since 1996. He spent a dozen years as Editor of MauiTime, the last alt weekly in Hawaii. He also wrote three trashy novels about Maui, which were published by Event Horizon Press. But he got his start at OC Weekly, and returned to the paper in 2019 as a Staff Writer.

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