The Southern California Journalism Awards are given by the Los Angeles Press Club, the city’s oldest and most prestigious professional association. The prizes were first awarded in forties when Los Angeles journalism was dominated by the city’s many newspapers, TV was in its infancy, women journalists were rare in mainstream media and minorities, even rarer. Those times have certainly changed and this year’s prizes were a reminder of just that – especially in the international department where HFPA journalists made a stellar showing. Our Margaret Gardiner was there and filed a report.
More than 400 guests gathered at the sold out Gala event for the 56th Southern California Journalism Awards at the historic Biltmore Hotel hoping to go home as winners at the end of the night. And lots of winners there were.
Eli Broad presented the President´s Award for Impact on Media to Michael Bloomberg and Matthew Winkler. In his taped acceptance speech former Mayor of New York and founder of Bloomberg News, Michael Bloomberg, said, when he received the phone call that he was honored with the Presidents Award, he thought “I was getting a Golden Globe”.
Maria Shriver accepted the Public Service Award and encouraged journalists to give a voice to those who don´t have it. The former First Lady of the State of California received her honor in the same Crystal Ballroom where her uncle John F. Kennedy accepted the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960. The niece of JFK was overwhelmed with emotions after being handed a black-white portrait of John F. Kennedy which she kissed as she walked walked off the stage.
NBC Anchor Ann Curry who took home The Joseph M. Quinn Award For Journalistic Excellence and Distinction joked about the fact that she was receiving the Lifetime Award at the young age of 57.
In the International Journalism Category it was a ladies night for the members of the HFPA who went home as multiple winners in several categories:
Barbara Gasser won 1st prize for “Entertainment News or Feature by one or a team” for her article in the Austrian magazine “Wiener”. In their comment judges said about her article on “The Superman Question: Is being good no longer cool?”: Barbara Gasser brings to light not only the history and mythology of Superman but also a fascinating portrait of the new “Man of Steel” -British actor Henry Cavill. Furthermore Barbara Gasser won two 2nd places, each one in Personality and News Category, and one 3rd place for News. Tina Johnk-Christensen took home 2nd place in the Category “Profiles, lifestyles and other topics by one or a team”. Janet Nepales also won 2nd place for her column about Meryl Streep published in the “Manila Bulletin”.
Also nominated, the HFPA's Ruben Nepales, in the Columnist or Critic Category for “The Philippine Daily Inquirer”.