Roger Showley, who retired last year from The San Diego Union-Tribune after 44 years, accepts the Harold Keen Award. Photo by Chris Stone

Times of San Diego took home 24 awards Tuesday night in the San Diego Press Club’s 46th annual Excellence in Journalism Awards, including top honors for best news site the fourth year in a row.

Contributing editor Ken Stone won 14 awards, including several shared ones, while contributing photographer Chris Stone won nine awards, including top images in news, portrait and photo essay. The La Mesa couple account for many of Times’ 113 Press Club awards over six years.

Times founding editor and publisher Chris Jennewein of Del Mar added a first-place award in election coverage.

Ken and Chris Stone of Times of San Diego won 23 awards, including several they shared. Photo by Pauline Repard

Other winners for Times were former contributing editor Alex Nguyen for a sports story and Rick Griffin for his weekly MarketInk column. (Griffin also won five awards in public relations categories.)

Jennewein, a digital journalism pioneer who founded the news site in 2014, said, “Being recognized as the best news site for four years in a row is a real tribute to the work of Times of San Diego’s dedicated staff members. I’m especially proud to see Ken and Chris take home so many awards.”

On a night when retired San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Roger Showley won the Harold Keen Award for outstanding contributions in journalism, his former paper tied the Times with 24 awards, including Best Online/Daily Newspaper Entry for a series on immigrants.

About 500 people attended the event at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation’s Joe and Vi Jacobs Community Center, where former “Sun-Up San Diego” host Kathi Diamant was emcee. More than 500 awards were presented in 180-plus categories.

Times of San Diego’s 2019 first-place awards

Times of San Diego’s 2019 second-place awards

Times of San Diego’s 2019 third-place awards

“The San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards celebrates professionals whose research, writing, reporting, and visual skills shed light on topics that matter to us all,” said Karyl Carmignani, outgoing Press Club president. “I am proud of our organization uniting journalism and public relations professionals, while providing career-enhancing programs and fun mingling opportunities for our members.”

Albert Fulcher, editor-in-chief of LGBTQ San Diego County News, took the reins of the Press Club on Tuesday, the first male president since Lee Swanson in 2011.

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The San Diego Press Club’s Journalism Awards is among the largest regional competitions in the United States. This year’s awards program drew more than 950 entries, making it one of the largest journalism competitions in the nation. Judges included members of press clubs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Rochester, Florida, Cleveland, Orange County, Milwaukee, Tulsa and Alaska.

Several other media outlets were multiple award winners, including San Diego Zoo Global and ZOONOOZ Magazine, 21; Ranch and Coast Magazine, 17; San Diego Business Journal, 17; iNewsSource, 16; Ramona Home Journal, 15; NBC 7/39: 15; Ramona Sentinel, 12; and Edible San Diego, 10.

In the college news media division, winners included the Southwestern College Sun (winner of top local college paper), 19 awards, and San Diego City College Times, 17 awards.

Best of Show award winners

  • Armita Sharma, KPBS-TV, “Homelessness: I Feel Your Pain, or Do I,” Best Television/Online Video Entry.
  • Jared Whitlock, San Diego Business Journal, “Bottleneck in Psych Care Leaves Hospitals, Patients in the Lurch,” Best Non-Daily Newspaper Entry.
  • Kristina Grifantini, Salk Institute, “The Science of Aging,” Best Magazine Entry.
  • Dorian Hargrove, Matthew Lewis, Tom Jones, KNSD-TV, NBC 7/39, “Uncovering a San Diego Porn Scheme,” Best Radio/Podcast Entry.
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune Staff, “Our Immigrant Story,” Best Online/Daily Newspaper Entry.
  • Carl Nettleton, Independent Voter Network, “SANDAG Goes Back to the Future: The 2007 Vision for a Grand Central Station,” Wildcard Category, 2019 theme was Transportation.
  • Jill Castellano, reporter, inewsource.org, Rising Star award.
  • And Brad Racino, senior investigative reporter, inewsource.org, Body of Work award.

Besides Showley, other special awards went to Bob Stefanko and niece Mia Park, Ranch & Coast Magazine, Jim Reiman Award for excellence in media management, and Teresa Warren, TW2, Andy Mace Award for career achievements in public relations.

Showley, a third-generation San Diego, was the newspaper’s longest tenured newsroom employee at 44 years when he retired in March 2018. He covered mostly real estate development and design after joining the paper as a reporter in March 1974.

For 20 years, Showley wrote a column called “Smokestacks and Geraniums.” His beats throughout his career also included historic preservation, politics and pop culture. For a while, he was the newspaper’s designated reporter on Harry Potter stories. Showley has authored three books on San Diego’s history, including “San Diego: Perfecting Paradise,” “Balboa Park: A Millennium History” and “San Diego: Then & Now.”

Showley’s award is named after Harold Keen, who anchored San Diego’s first television news broadcast in 1949 and was described by colleagues as the dean of San Diego journalists. Keen arrived in San Diego in 1936 as a reporter for The San Diego Sun. He later worked for the San Diego Union, San Diego Magazine and KFMB-TV/Channel 8. He passed away in 1981.

Stefanko has served as owner and publisher of Ranch & Coast since April 1998. His niece, Mia Park, serves as executive editor and associate publisher. The glossy magazine, which bills itself as “San Diego’s Ultimate Lifestyle Magazine,” has won numerous awards for writing and design.

Stefanko’s and Park’s award is named after Jim Reiman, who served for many years as assistant news director at KGTV-TV/Channel 10. Reiman was considered an unsung hero of the profession, similar to many behind-the-scenes journalists who do not have a byline nor appear on camera. When Reinman retired, the Press Club created the award to honor enlightened media managers and the first recipient was KGTV assignment editor Jack Moorhead in 1997.

Warren, a native San Diegan with a 38-year career in marketing and public relations, opened her firm in 1992. Her clients have included commercial real estate, construction, accounting and finance, nonprofit and law firms.

Warren’s award is named after Andy Mace, former public relations manager at Pacific Telephone in San Diego. In 1971, Mace is credited with the idea of starting the San Diego Press Club. He later started his own company, Andy Mace & Associates, with an office at the Mission Valley’s Stardust Hotel & Country Club, now the Handlery Hotel. He passed away in 2009 at age 88.

In addition to the presentation of journalism writing awards, two college students were presented with scholarships at the event.

They were Bella Ross, San Diego State University, $2,500 Joe Lipper Scholarship, and Chad Hunter Francis, San Diego City College, $1,500 scholarship from the San Diego Press Club Foundation.

Ross has written for SDSU’s Daily Aztec newspaper and served as an intern with the San Diego Union-Tribune. Francis served as an anchor and reporter with ITV Cable 16, which is operated by the County Office of Education.

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