Three-year-old Dakota embraces her father Sgt. Major Charles Latour. Photo by Chris Stone
First-place photo for still photography, news, showed Dakota. 3, embracing her father, Marine Sgt. Major Charles Latour. Photo by Chris Stone

Times of San Diego won 23 awards — including best local news site for the sixth time — in the San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards on Tuesday in Balboa Park. Ten entries took first place.

Ken and Chris Stone display ribbons representing their 19 combined awards at the San Diego Press Club event. Photo by Pauline Repard

Contributing photographer Chris Stone and contributing editor Ken Stone, a married pair from La Mesa, collected 10 and nine of those awards, respectively, for reporting, photography and video. They collaborated on two projects.

Chris Stone swept all three places in still news photography.

Chris Jennewein of Del Mar, editor and publisher of the 8-year-old site, won individual first-place plaques for his election coverage and commentary. JW August took first for a multicultural story.

“It’s an honor for an independent news site to be recognized as the best in San Diego for the sixth time,” said Jennewein. “Thanks to Ken, Chris, JW and everyone on our team, Times of San Diego continues to attract new readers and receive professional recognition.”

Hundreds gathered in the courtyard of the international houses for the club’s 49th annual event, the first in-person awards gathering since 2019, sampling food and drink from 20 local restaurants and a slew of cottage homes representing nations from Israel to Germany.

Nicole Vargas, a journalism professor at San Diego City College, became the latest president of the 51-year-old club that includes print, online and broadcast journalists as well as public relations professionals and college students.

Special awards went to three men, honoring their careers in news, public relations and media management.

They were CBS8 reporter Steve Fiorina (Harold Keen Award for Outstanding Contribution to Journalism), binational PR executive Jorge D’Garay (Andy Mace Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Relations) and retired KGTV Chief Assignment Editor Brad McLellan (Jim Reiman Award for Outstanding Media Management).

The San Diego Union-Tribune staff and contributors won 55 awards, including 18 for first place in categories ranging from humor and real estate to podcast and service program.

Times of San Diego First-Place Awards

Second-Place Awards

Third-Place Awards

Seven members of Francy Carbajal's family gather on the Mexican side to wave to her. Photo by Chris Stone
Seven members of Francy Carbajal’s family gather on the Mexican side to wave to her. Photo by Chris Stone

Honorable Mention Awards

Times of San Diego began its ninth year of publication last spring with an average monthly readership of over 500,000. The independent local news website launched on March 14, 2014.

Complete list of award winners, including collegiate honorees, is here.

“We’re fortunate San Diego attracts and retains the best and the brightest journalism and communication professionals,” said Eileen Gaffen, board president of the San Diego Press Club. “On behalf of the San Diego Press Club board of directors, congratulations to all of the Excellence in Journalism award winners.”

Judges of this year’s awards program included members of 11 journalism professional organizations from around the country, including Press Clubs in San Francisco, New Orleans, Rochester, Florida, Cleveland, Orange County, Milwaukee and Alaska.

Besides Times of San Diego and the Union-Tribune, media outlets winning multiple awards included:

  • Ranch and Coast Magazine, 28 awards in magazines and photography categories
  • KPBS, 19 awards in online daily newspapers, radio/podcast and TV-online categories
  • And Ramona Sentinal, 16 awards in non-daily newspapers category

In the college news media division, the names of schools and the student-operated newspaper, as well as the number of awards received include: Southwestern College, Sun and El Sol Magazine, 32; San Diego City College, City Times, 13; and University of San Diego, Vista and TV, 5

Best of Show awards include:

  • Adam Racusin and Geoffrey Stevens, KGTV-TV, “Drugs, Death, and Foster Care,” best TV-online video entry
  • Doug Brunk, Dermatology News, “Restoring dignity to sex trafficking survivors, one tattoo removal at a time,” best non-daily newspaper entry
  • Salk Communications Team, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, “The Weed that Changed the World,” best magazine entry
  • Ron James, Wine Dine & Travel Magazine Online, best website entry
  • Steve Walsh, KPBS-FM, “San Diego’s ongoing Legacy of War in Afghanistan,” best radio-podcast entry
  • Jill Castellano,, “Veterans Village: An investigation,” best online and daily newspaper entry
  • Scott LaFee and Heather Buschman, UC San Diego Health Sciences, Discoveries Magazine, wildcard entry
  • Adam Racusin, KGTV-TV, Adam Racusin Reports, body of work entry

Gabriel Schneider and Jakob McWhinney, students at San Diego State University, Elaine Alfaro, student at Point Loma Nazarene University, and Trina McLeary, student at Palomar College, were each presented $1,500-$2,500 scholarships as part of the event.

Updated at 11:50 p.m. Oct. 26, 2022