The Los Angeles Press Club held its 64th annual SoCal Journalism Awards dinner at the Sheraton Universal Hotel Saturday night and awarded Alta Journal seven top prizes, 10 runners-up, and three third-place finishes.
Adam Fisher for “The Mushroom Man’s Magic” in the feature writing category. Judges’ comment: “Who knew fungi could be worth millions? This fun, well-written story is filled with entertaining, magical details.”
John Freeman for book criticism including “‘Mean’ Is a Convention-Defying, Hilarious, Serious, and Chatty Memoir.” Judges’ comment: “Not only does this review prepare expectations for Myriam Gurba’s ‘Mean,’ but it also presented the style of the writing in a unique manner. This review didn’t require the reader to come in with previous knowledge about the book’s author or subject. But the reader leaves with all the information they need to decide whether to read ‘Mean’ or not.”
Julia Flynn Siler’s “A Horrible Death to Die” for crime reporting. Judges’ comment: “Julia Flynn Siler focused on an oft-overlooked, and sometimes whitewashed, event in history. She told the story of a posthumous investigation by painting an image of the life and personality, often misunderstood, of the focus of her story. What was completed was an empathetic look back at a woman whose leadership was ignored and whose death was overlooked.”
Jason G. Goldman’s “Bird-Watching Goes Both Ways” for science reporting. Judges’ comment: “Fascinating story that works on many different levels. ‘It's more coexistence than conservation’” really sums up the central theme. After reading it several times, new things kept popping out. Nicely done."
Alta creative director John Goecke for best issue design with “A Year Like No Other,” Winter 2021, Issue 14. Judges’ comment: “It was truly difficult to decide which issue of the Alta Journal to give first place to. Every page was full of incredible articles, photos, illustrations, and layouts that would make the audience gasp with delight.”
Goecke's work on “Special Insert: Book of Jim Harrison’s Last Poems” for page design. Judges’ comment: “John Goecke’s careful balance of text and imagery pulls together elements from multiple sources — reported narrative, photos, illustrations, and Jim Harrison's indelible poetry — and creates a cohesive design that appropriately directs attention rather than calling attention to itself.”
Mark Smith’s artwork accompanying “The Search of a Lifetime” for illustration. Judges’ comment: “This category was full of amazing works of art. This one stood out because of how much each image tells a story. The scenes are presented in a way that is visually unique and full of intrigue and foreboding.”
Numerous Alta nominees received acknowledgements from the judges, including second place winners John Markoff’s “The Butterfly Effect,” David L. Ulin for book criticism, Lydia Lee for art, architecture and design criticism, Dean Kuipers’s “California’s Farms: Drought, Depression, and Suicide,” Héctor Tobar’s “Why I Write: To Be Tall,” Louise Farr’s “The Accident on the Pacific Coast Trail," photographer Penni Gladstone for images accompanying “The Mushroom Man’s Magic,” artist Chris Sickels and Red Nose Studios for “The Next West, Issue 15,” and graphic artists Matt Twombly and Michael Schwab for “A Guide + Map to California.”
Third place winners include Carla Blank’s “The Resurrection of Sister Aimee,” Joy Lanzendorfer’s “Flight of the Condors,” and artist James Ransome for art accompanying “Biddy Mason and Hannah Embers Were Here.”
Speaking about the SoCal award-winners—as well as all 39 nominations the magazine received—Alta’s managing editor Blaise Zerega said, “We’re so thrilled that the judges chose to recognize the writing, design, and illustrations produced by our talented contributors. It’s truly an honor that their work was included in the terrific journalism celebrated by the L.A. Press Club,” Zerega said. “Congrats to all the winners!”
The full list of winners can be found on the LAPC’s website•