Student journalists, faculty and alumni win big at the 55th SoCal Journalism Awards

Annenberg student journalists took home 13 awards Sunday night at the Los Angeles Press Club’s 55th SoCal Journalism Awards held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. Neon Tommy, Annenberg’s student-operated news site, took home 10 awards while Annenberg TV News (ATVN), USC’s television multimedia news operation, took home three. Students were up against reporters from some of the largest media outlets in Southern California including the Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Los Angeles Business Journal and LA Weekly. Three first-place wins went to Neon Tommy’s former Managing Editor Paige Brettingen, former Deputy Editor Sarah Parvini and Sports Reporter Jonathan Kendrick.

Brettingen tied with a reporter from for the Best Online Feature for her piece iPals: Connecting Students Half a World Away. According to the judges, the piece was informative and well-researched with a heart and soul. Parvini won Best Online Entertainment Feature for her piece titled The Family Arcade Holds on as the Arcade Industry Falters. She competed against reporters from and KCET-TV. Neon Tommy reporters took the top spots for Best Online Sports News/Feature/Commentary. Kendrick won first place with his piece, How High School Eligibility Rules Spiked Todd Hunt’s Football Dreams. Andrew Seah won second place and Aaron Fischman won third. Neon Tommy journalists who won second- and third-place awards include Catherine Green, Dan Watson, Danny Lee, Gracie Zheng, Aaron Liu, Matt Pressberg and Tasbeeh Herwees. ATVN won first place for Best News Website in the Youth Media category. Judges called the site “beautifully organized and informative.” Students Julia Deng, Bronte Lawson Turk and Vicki Chen won second- and third-place awards for their work with ATVN. Among the night’s award winners were Norman Lear Center Director Marty Kaplan, Journalism Professor Judy Muller and Journalism Adjunct Professors Steve Proffitt and Rebecca Haggerty. Kaplan took home two awards in the Daily/Weekly Newspapers (with a circulation over 50,000) category. He won Best Columnist for his “fiercely passionate yet skillfully structured opinion” articles and second place for his article Don’t Be Naked in the Entertainment Reviews/Criticism/Columns section. Muller and Proffitt won Best Use of Sound in the Radio category for their group piece that aired on 89.3 FM – KPCC titled When the Riots Began. Haggerty won two first-place awards for her contributions to KCET-TV. The Best Television Feature award honored The App Economy and the Best Television Talk/Public Affairs award honored Season 5 SoCal Connected: OC Homeless/Paula Poundstone. She won two additional second-place awards. Annenberg alumni Tom Dotan of the Los Angeles Business Journal, Drew Tewksbury from KCET-TV, and Zuade Kaufman of took home first-place awards as well. Other recognized alums include Hillel Aron, Joe Piasecki, Lilly Fowler, Tracy Bloom and Jessica Koslow.

Click here for a full list of winners.

Click here for Neon Tommy’s coverage of the awards.

Click here for more on the LA Press Club.

Related links: Annenberg at the 54th SoCal Journalism Awards Annenberg at the 52nd SoCal Journalism Awards