Jeff McDonald: San Diego Journalist of the Year

Times of San Diego collected 13 awards at a local journalism celebration Wednesday, including five first-place plaques, for work during 2014 — the daily news site’s first year.

Award winner: Brad Barton reacts to confirmation that he missed age-group world record in the mile by 1.5 seconds. Photo by Chris Stone

The honors were given by the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, where The San Diego Union-Tribune’s Jeff McDonald accepted his award as local Journalist of the Year.

Union-Tribune staffers and contributors topped the night with 31 awards, including 17 first-place or special awards. KPBS won 14 awards, including 10 first-place or special awards. had five top awards.

Times contributing photographer Chris Stone took first in three photo categories and won six other photo or multimedia awards. She also captured a third-place award for Breaking News reporting for a story on a San Marcos resident watching firefighters save his home.

Times contributing editor Ken Stone took first for a headline portfolio and a sports story on a 48-year-old miler just missing a world age-group record. Ken also shared second-place honors with his wife, Chris, for an online multimedia package on Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi’s triumphant return to his alma mater, San Diego High School.

Ken’s report on a SeaWorld app headlined “Big Savings of Big Brother” took third in science/technology story. And he also won second place for his blog on adult age-group track and field and third place for a book review on that hobby site,

Award winner: A simulated napalm drop lights up the tarmac during air show at Miramar Marine base. Photo by Chris Stone

Times contributing editor Alexander Nguyen took second in education story for a report titled “Confusing Email Led to Layoff Fears at San Diego Unified.”

“Winning so many awards in the first year of a new publication is an amazing tribute to the creativity and hard work of Chris, Ken, Alex and the rest of the Times of San Diego staff,” said Chris Jennewein, editor and publisher of the news website.

Retired TV news anchor Hal Clement and local radio and TV veteran Jody Hammond were emcees of the annual awards dinner at the Bali Hai Restaurant on Shelter Island.

The Mark of Excellence Award went to Joanne Faryon, Brad Racino and Lorie Hearn of inewsource,org for “An Impossible Choice” about “vent farms” where 4,000 Californians are kept alive with little hope for recovery. The series of videos and other reports has collected at least four national awards.

For reporters and editors of The San Diego Daily Transcript, the night was bittersweet. Its staff took home 13 awards, including five first-place plaques. But the nearly 130-year-old business and legal paper will publish its final edition Sept. 1.

Award winner: Firefighter assures Al Said his team will do its best to save his home on Country Club Drive during San Marcos fires of May 2014. Photo by Chris Stone