North Coast Current news site recognized for excellence in SPJ contest


Business news. (James Abbott via Freeimages)

North Coast Current

The North Coast Current’s news site was recognized as being among the best in the county by judges of the Society of Professional Journalists San Diego Pro Chapter’s annual contest.

Award winners were announced in mid-August without the usual fanfare of a banquet during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The organization held a virtual celebration Aug. 24. The awards were given for work published in 2019.

The Current, based in Encinitas, won second place news site behind The San Diego Union-Tribune’s first place in the category. In addition to the recognition for the site itself, contributors won several awards for reporting.

“Recognition like this assures our readers that no matter the size of the operation, the North Coast Current works to produce a valuable news site to the areas we cover,” publisher and editor Roman S. Koenig said.

Freelance writer Cameron Niven won first place in the nondaily housing/development category for his story about an Encinitas lawsuit over a measure limiting some elements of building in the city.

Joel Vaughn’s story on the San Diego Association of Governments’ regional transportation plan earned first place for nondaily political/government reporting.

“This is a well-written article about the really important topic of urban public transit and its role in a variety of key issues,” contest judges wrote in comments about Vaughn’s piece. “The writer doesn’t dip into jargon and officialese to make the point, but paraphrases to keep the story from bogging down. This is a good story that provides a variety of perspectives, including whether the populace is willing to cough up the money for transportation changes.”

North Coast Current freelancers took second and third place for food writing. Lauren J. Mapp won second for her story about the annual San Diego Fermentation Festival held at Leichtag Commons in Encinitas. Chase Spear won third for his story about a pop-up museum in San Marcos devoted to avocados.

Julia Shapero received second place feature story for her report on the Encinitas Boat Houses’ pending national historical designation.

Koenig’s story about spring 2019’s proliferation of painted lady butterflies won second place for nondaily environmental reporting. He also won first place for headline writing.

“Roman Koenig’s headlines had a nice rhythm, were clever without being cute, and summarized the topics clearly and concisely,” judges said about Koenig’s work. “Especially notable was the butterfly headline with the ‘open window’ imagery.

The SPJ’s San Diego Pro Chapter holds numerous events for the region’s media professionals, educators and students.

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