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Last year the Los Angeles Times‘ Patrick Goldstein graciously handed off the Los Angeles Press Club’s Entertainment Journalist Of The Year title for print, broadcast or online to me, and now I fittingly hand it off to the L.A. Times‘ John Horn after Saturday’s 2008 awards night. My sincerest congratulations. (I received Honorable Mention this year in that category and, to my surprise, an Honorable Mention in Print Entertainment Hard News behind the Los Angeles Times‘ coverage of the writers strike. I did wind up winning First Place for the Online Entertainment News/Feature/Commentary category.) At the 50th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards, here were the first-place wins for entertainment coverage:

ENTERTAINMENT – Print, Broadcast or Online
1st Place: John Horn, Los Angeles Times

PRINT: DAILY/WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS (Over 100,000 Circulation)
ENTERTAINMENT REVIEW/CRITICISM/COLUMN
1st Place: Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
Judges’ comments: Rutten’s reviews offered style, wit and insights into both substance and form, drawing readers to books they otherwise might not have considered.
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ENTERTAINMENT, HARD NEWS
1st Place: Staff, Los Angeles Times, “Hollywood Writers’ Strike”
Judges’ comments: This comprehensive package revealed behind-the-scenes mechanics of the strike, plus its effects on everyone from television-show workers to dog walkers. Well-sourced and tightly written.
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ENTERTAINMENT, FEATURE
1st Place: Judith Lewis, LA Weekly, “The Way He Lives Now”
Judges’ comments: Well written and interesting to the end, this story presented a perfectly hewn subject matter and angle.

PRINT: DAILY/WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS (Under 100,000 Circulation)
ENTERTAINMENT REVIEWS/CRITICISM/COLUMN
1st Place: Luke Y. Thompson, OC Weekly, “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em”
Judges’ comments: An easy, fun read. Thompson brings a knowledge of the genre into play to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the film.
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ENTERTAINMENT, FEATURE
1st Place: Alexa Hyland, Los Angeles Daily Journal, “Drama Dominates Entertainment Industry’s Year”
Judges’ comments: This was a well-researched and aptly reported story about an issue that is important to the economy of the Los Angeles area.

BROADCAST: ENTERTAINMENT
1st Place: Sam Rubin, Grace Mendoza and Willa Sandmeyer, KTLA, “Writers’ Strike”
Judges’ comments: This coverage did a good job in explaining the issues dividing the two sides. Rubin really knows his subject and presented it well.
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BROADCAST: DOCUMENTARIES
1st Place: Eric Longabardi, Suzanne Murch, Melanie Switzer and Raheem Dawson, E! Entertainment Television, “Paparazzi.”
Judges’ comments: This was a great story told well, with great reporting and photography. We learned what life is like for the paparazzi and the stars as they mix in each others’ worlds.

RADIO: ENTERTAINMENT REPORTING
1st Place: Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC, “Gustavo Dudamel”
Judges’ comments: This feature, tied to current events, had excellent writing – descriptive, colorful, humorous and crisp. It made good use of natural sound, music and live interviews.

MAGAZINES: ENTERTAINMENT REVIEWS/CRITICISM/COLUMN
1st Place: Joe Woodward, Poets & Writers Magazine, “A Novelist’s Inner Poet”
Judges’ comments: Woodward has a wonderful knack for getting inside his subjects’ heads. His well-crafted, thorough piece took us into the home of Carol Muske-Dukes, setting the scene while skillfully weaving background material into the interview.
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MAGAZINES: ENTERTAINMENT NEWS OR FEATURE
1st Place: Seth Lubove, Bloomberg News, “Star Struck”
Judges comments: This story provided a solid, behind-the-scenes look into a financial debacle that rocked Hollywood.

NEWS BUREAUS AND CORRESPONDENTS: ENTERTAINMENT NEWS OR FEATURE
1st Place: Amy Keith, People Magazine, “Tyra Talks”
Judges’ comments: This well-written story keeps you reading with good color and detail. It reveals an unknown side of this celebrity.

ONLINE: ENTERTAINMENT NEWS/FEATURE/COMMENTARY
1st Place: Nikki Finke, LA Weekly, “Morton’s: A Million Deals. Now a Wake.”
Judges’ comments: This was an interesting historical walk through Morton’s, showing what a powerful presence it was, spiced with vignettes of the personalities that made it so.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNALISM (Print, Radio, TV or Online): ENTERTAINMENT NEWS OR FEATURE
1st Place: Tom Walters, CTV News, “Price is Right”
Judges’ comments: Mining archival footage on the occasion of Bob Barker’s retirement from his long-running gig as host of “The Price is Right,” Tom Walters crafts a proper send-off for a true American phenomenon.