‘People’s World’ earns nominations and a win at SoCal Journalism Awards
People's World editors Chauncey K. Robinson, left, and Eric Gordon attend the SoCal Journalism Awards at the L.A. Press Club. | PW

“The free press is the ubiquitous, vigilant eye of a people’s soul…the embodied culture that transforms material struggles into ideological struggles.”—Karl Marx

LOS ANGELES—Defending freedom of the press and celebrating the power of news narrative were central themes at the annual Southern California Journalism Awards gala this year. The awards show, now in its 61st year, is hosted by the Los Angeles Press Club. The L.A. Press Club was founded in 1913 and has a self-described mission to defend the quality of journalism, involve the public in recognizing such journalism, and empowering the belief that “a free press is crucial to a free society.” This year, the first in which People’s World journalists competed, People’s World writers earned two nominations, and scored a win.

For many in the leadership of the organization, and among the attendees, the presence of People’s World was a welcome surprise. Business cards were exchanged freely. In conversation during the pre-ceremony reception, a number of attendees recognized the name of the paper, which was for decades the West Coast edition of the Daily Worker.

The evening was dedicated to the memory of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was gruesomely assassinated at the Saudi Arabian consular offices in Istanbul, Turkey, in October of 2018. Although evidence points strongly to Mohammad Bin Salman, de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, as mastermind of the grisly killing, he maintains the unwavering support of his U.S. counterpart, Pres. Donald Trump, who constantly reminds his followers of the Saudis’ huge arms deals with U.S. military manufacturers.

A three-page tribute written by Bob Ladendorf in the richly designed, full-color program spoke of “A Dangerous World for Journalists and Media Workers,” listing the names and affiliations of those killed in the line of work over the past year in the following countries: Afghanistan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Central African Republic. Chad, Colombia, France, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Yemen. In the United States, five newspaper workers at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., were gunned down a year ago, on June 28, 2018.

Over 600 journalists and media professionals attended the event held at L.A.’s historic cultural landmark, the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, an early home to the Academy Awards.

People’s World journalist Eric A. Gordon was a finalist in the Theatre/Performing Arts Review category for his reviews of Arrival & Departure and Israel in Egypt. People’s World Social Media editor and journalist Chauncey K. Robinson was a finalist in the TV/Film Review category for her writings on Sorry to Bother You, On Her Shoulders, and Cargo. Robinson won the third place award in her category. Both Gordon and Robinson were nominated in their categories alongside journalists from some of the largest news outlets in the country, including the Christian Science Monitor, the Los Angeles Times, Variety, and the Hollywood Reporter.

The creative team behind the documentary series Surviving R. Kelly was named the Los Angeles Press Club’s 2019 President’s Awardee for Impact on Media. The documentary led to singer R. Kelly’s indictment on ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and to the #MuteRKelly campaign, aimed at stopping his music from being played and streamed.

Longtime sports reporter Jim Hill, anchor at CBS2, Los Angeles, received the Joseph M. Quinn for Lifetime Achievement Award. CNN Senior International Correspondent Nima Elbagir was given the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism. The Bill Rosendahl Public Service Award was presented to legendary actor Henry Winkler by his Barry co-star Bill Hader.

Winkler ended the program with a brief but rousing speech that addressed the importance of a free press in the current political climate. Speaking to the room of journalists and media professionals, the actor asserted that the floodgates of corruption have opened straight out the front door of the White House, pouring sludge all over the land, over our prairies, cities, and rivers, and that the free, uncensored American media are doing the work of democracy in reporting these stories day in and day out all across the country.


Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.