I won Orange County Press Club’s Photo of the Year for 2010!
I won for my picture of Julita and Leonard Jones, who lost their home and almost all of Julita’s life work as a print maker last August. The upside is they rebuilt their home and it’s better than ever.
Guest speakers at the awards dinner were Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb, the Pulitzer Prize-winning LA Times reporters who broke the City of Bell corruption scandal last year. It was pretty cool hearing about how they were just sitting through another boring city council meeting, like so many reporters have so many times, when they came across this story that gradually got weirder and weirder. They were just doing their jobs, asking uncomfortable questions, like, “How much money do you make?”
Do you know how much your city manager gets paid?
Vives brought up a point which may seem self-congratulatory, but bears repeating: this would have kept going on if we weren’t there, if our society didn’t have reporters.
Most of journalism is done alone, either out on assignment somewhere, or in the office, in front of a computer. It’s a gradual process that only comes together after a lot of leg work usually, and aside from seeing your story in print, it’s rare to get a single moment when you really feel anything tangible come of your work. So it was cool to see the community of journalists that exists, and have them all together in one place, and have a single point in time where something gratifying happened: recognition.
(There were some pretty interesting conversations going on too. You gather a bunch of people whose job it is to dig things up, all in one place, and what do you expect?)