LMU Makes Strong Showing at Journalism Awards

Loyola Marymount University students, alumni, faculty, and staff were honored for their work over the past year at the Southern California Journalism Awards, presented Oct. 16, 2021, by the Los Angeles Press Club. Against strong competition in a busy news year, LMU Magazine and faculty member Benjamin Gottlieb took home first-place awards, several students took second-place awards, and the L.A. Loyolan was named the second-place college news website.

LMU Magazine’s Off Press podcast won the top award in the broadcast category for sports news or feature. The episode “Paul Westhead” featured the coach of the storied LMU men’s basketball team that had an unforgettable run to the NCAA tournament Elite Eight. The judges said the podcast was an “excellent and well-researched feature as evidenced by smart questions yielding smart answers. Every minute was enjoyable.”

Gottlieb, who teaches in LMU’s Journalism Program and works at KCRW, won for his pandemic coverage. His report “San Gabriel Valley Restaurateurs Are Determined to Make Their Businesses Work, Even with Mounting Losses” was in the words of the judges, “A compelling sound-rich segment about restaurateurs with excellent all-around work by the reporter.” Gottlieb also won a second place award in the Radio/Podcast, Breaking News  category for his report “Some L.A. Business Owners Support Protesters, but Feel Anger Toward Looters.”

In addition to the L.A. Loyolan being named the second-best college news website, other student honors went to:

Stephanie Bell ’20, who won second place for her documentary short “Defending Our Crowns,” which analyzes the issue of discrimination against natural hair textures from the perspectives of three black women who work in the media industry. This student capstone project took the silver in the general professional competition, after winning student awards in the past.

Yemaya Williams ’21, who won second place for her editorial in Agency “Who is More Black?” an op-ed about the commodification of Blackness and the lack of authentic representations in Black cultural productions.

Tara Pixley, assistant professor of journalism, and collaborator Christina Aushana garnered third place in the commentary category for their “Protest photography can be a powerful tool for and against BLM.” Appearing in Nieman Reports, their “think piece bridging the relationships between the historical and ongoing power dynamics between police surveillance of Black and brown bodies and the proliferation of digital images from photojournalists that now unwittingly support police investigative work.”

Evelyn McDonnell, past director of the Journalism Program, expressed gratitude for the support the program has received. “Thank you to the BCLA Dean’s office, English Department, Journalism Program, and the Loyolan for making possible our participation in this awards competition and banquet.”

McDonnell said she and the journalism faculty were proud of the recognition LMU’s students received.

The 63rd annual press awards event also honored Marc Brown, anchor at ABC7, with the Joseph Quinn lifetime achievement award; Bari Weiss with the Daniel Pearl Award for courage and integrity in journalism; Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN with the President’s Award for impact on journalism; Josie Huang of KPCC and LAist with the inaugural Guardian Award for contributions to press freedom; and actor and activist Sean Penn and Anna Lee of CORE with the Bill Rosendahl Public Service Award.

LMU student finalists include: Raven Yamamoto, Danica Creahan, and Robyn de Leon for their Agency news article “Anti-Immigrant Tweets from ASLMU Diversity and Inclusion Senator’s Past Cause Concerns”; Veronica Backer-Peral for feature writing on campus issues, and Backer-Peral for student TV reporting.