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East County News Service

July 9, 2014 (San Diego) –East County Magazine picked up 10 journalism awards tonight in the Society of Professional Journalists San Diego contest, including four first place awards and for the third year in a row, the James Julian Memorial Award for community reporting.  

ECM picked up two awards for reports aired on KNSJ radio, as well as honors for online reporting. This brings ECM’s total awards to 69 since our launch in 2008.

“This is public service journalism at its finest—identify the problem for readers and track the changes. It worked in this case. Bravo,” commented a judge for the James Julian award, which includes a $100 cash prize for our story titled Why is County Veterans Service Department ignoring rural East County vets?  By Miriam Raftery.  After the report aired, Supervisor Dianne Jacob introduced a measure later adopted to bring veterans’ services to county libraries in rural locations.

Tom Abbott won a first place award for his dramatic photograph, Lone firefighter shot during the Chariot Fire, which judges praised as a “good photo of a breaking news event.”

The best talk/interview story was awarded to Miriam Raftery for her Draining Lake Morena interviews on the East County Magazine Show on KNSJ.   The judges remarked, “This show serves an important community service by hosting public discussions on-air about controversial issues.”

In the investigative/enterprise story category for daily reporting, Raftery won first place for What’s polluting waterways in Ocotillo?  The story revealed how a green energy project may be threatening a town’s water supply. The judges remarked, “Aggressive reporting that won’t take `no’ for an answer.’”

Raftery also won first place in the opinion/editorial category for  An ill wind blowingThe judges commented, “Hammer blow after hammer blow nails each devastating point of the argument in this piece aimed at keeping a `green’ wind-powered system from destroying land, businesses, wildlife and people.”

East County Magazine Show producer Miriam Raftery also received a second place award in radio/audio community services program or series for Out of the Ashes: Special Report on the 10 Year Anniversary of the Cedar Fire, aired KNSJ.  Raftery covered the 2007 wildfires and revisited contacts from her reporting a decade ago as well as some never-before-told stories from one of the worst firestorms in California history.

Tom and Nadin Abbott shared an honorable mention in the breaking news category for their behind-fire lines coverage of the Chariot Fire, which  destroyed over 100 homes on Mount Laguna in 2013. The story was titled Historic lodge at Shrine Camp, Foster Lodge cabin among 108 buildings destroyed in Chariot Fire.

Raftery picked up a second place in the breaking news story category for 1800 acres of wilderness scorched in San Felipe amid growing concerns over out-of-control burn.

She also received two honorable mentions for Grand Jury issues report on GUHSD and Alpine High School  in the education category and in the environmental category for The betrayal of Boulevard: could this happen to your town, too?”

Competition was stiff in the SPJ journalism awards competition this year, with more than 500 total entries received.

East County Magazine is a division of the nonprofit 501c3 Heartland Coalition/Heartland Foundation. KNSJ is a nonprofit public radio station  broadcasting from Descanso. It can be heard at 89.1 FM.  The East County Magazine show airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at  5 p.m. with reruns on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. 


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Please support award-winning East County media

Thanks, Hiker Gal! That's a great example of a local East County issue the other media largely doesn't cover; same with most of the issues we won awards for covering.

To all readers: News isn't free. It costs money to pay our reporters, fund public records searches, gas/mileage, and now radio equipment and added fees for our new office (anybody want to cover the Cox cable and phone bills?) Donations would be greatly appreciated to help us continue to serve our community with timely, relevant award-winning news coverage!

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Congratulations and Thank You, Miriam!

East County residents need someone to step up to the plate and go to bat for us, and you have done that, ECM. It is great to see your efforts publicly recognized, appreciated and honored. I am personally grateful, in particular, for all you have done towards exposing the truth about the destructiveness of the so-called "green" energy wind farms. Please continue to keep us informed on any future developments related to this issue.