NC Current, writers recognized by Society of Professional Journalists

Judges note ‘real local journalism with deep impact’


The North Coast Current of Encinitas and OsideNews of Oceanside combined operations on Feb. 22. (North Coast Current graphic)

North Coast Current

The North Coast Current and its contributors were recognized Tuesday, June 20, for excellence in community journalism by the San Diego Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The Current, which also publishes OsideNews, came in second place for best news website, behind first place San Diego Union-Tribune. In addition, North Coast Current writers were awarded for their reporting, from coverage of efforts to encrypt law enforcement communications to the firing of an Encinitas planning commissioner.

Contributor J.W. August won first place in the daily reporting news story category for his May 2022 story on efforts by law enforcement agencies such as the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department to encrypt their radio communications, which received criticism for potential blocks to news media and the public at large.

“Important story that might seem like inside baseball to readers but has important government transparency implications,” judges wrote in their collective comments on the report.

August also won second place in the daily reporting environment story category for a July 2022 story on the dangers of might-fighting pesticides on honeybee populations.

“Interesting and well-researched account of how some of the pesticides that are decimating the honeybee population are being smuggled across the U.S. Southern border,” judges commented.

North Coast Current Publisher and Editorial Director Roman S. Koenig won third place in the daily reporting government category for his April 2022 story on the Encinitas City Council’s dismissal of Planning Commission Chairman and then-council candidate Bruce Ehlers.

“Real local journalism with deep impact, this story describes the frustrating intersection of planning and politics,” judges wrote in their collective comments.

Ehlers went on to win a seat on the City Council.

Current contributor Charlene Pulsonetti won several awards for her feature and arts reporting. She won second place in the daily light feature reporting category for her June 2022 story on the Warrior Village Project, which works to build housing for homeless veterans.

Pulsonetti won two third-place awards, one in the daily arts/entertainment story category for her piece on Oceanside-based singer-songwriter Kimmi Bitter, and one in the daily light feature category for June 2022 coverage of North County winners at the San Diego County Fair.

SPJ contest judges remarked that Pulsonetti’s piece on Bitterman was a “nicely reported and written profile.”

The North Coast Current was founded in Encinitas in 2002 and has been publishing consistently online since 2012. Last year, the Current purchased OsideNews, which was founded in 2013.