Asia Morris (L), Jason Ruiz (C) and Stephanie Rivera (R). File photo.
UPDATE | The Los Angeles Press Club has updated its list of finalists for the 2016 Los Angeles Press Club SoCal Journalism Awards, and a third Long Beach Post staffer has made the cut for her work covering hard news.
Please join us in congratulating our public safety reporter Stephanie Rivera for her well-deserved nomination for her story chronicling the accusations fielded by former Long Beach Poly football player Brian Banks, leading to his wrongful rape conviction and eventual exoneration.
“Despite [Banks’ accuser] Gibson refusing to admit the truth to law enforcement—for fear of having to return the money she won in the lawsuit—Banks was able to record her confession with the help of a private investigator,” she wrote. “With the new evidence, and many tries later, he was finally able to convince the California Innocence Project to take up his case.”
Rivera will go up against other finalists in the hard news category, along with finalists from the Post in other categories at the SoCal Journalism Awards ceremony on June 26 at the Millennium Biltmore hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
PREVIOUSLY: Two LONG BEACH POST Reporters Selected as Finalists for LA Press Club Awards
05/23/2016 | Today, I’m happy to announce that two of our very own writers—Jason Ruiz and Asia Morris—were hand-selected as finalists for the Los Angeles Press Club SoCal Journalism Awards.
They were selected in a year the club deemed as the “fiercest competition in the Southern California Journalism Awards 58 year history.” That’s right. Ruiz’s and Morris’ stories stood out in a pack of entrees that exceeded 1,000.
Perhaps you read about the woman who was detained for posting a sign threatening a dihydrogen monoxide (H20) attack in her neighborhood for a friendly water fight. According to Ruiz’s account, Long Beach resident Tammy Hall was detained for several hours by the police, after a passerby reported a threat warning of an imminent “dihydrogen monoxide” attack.
The irony is, Hall wasn’t alone in her detainment for a very benign occurrence of engaging in water fights with water guns, or as Jason wrote: “Hall is not the only one to run afoul of hydrophobia.” The fact that multiple individuals have been detained in similar situations has spawned a social media “movement.”
Ruiz’s story was everything we liked: factually correct, well-researched and bitingly humorous. (It’s been selected as a finalist in the “Best Humor/Satire Writing” category).
Meanwhile, Morris’ insightful profile of Gary “The Wagman” Wagner of KJazz just after the announcement of his award from the International Blues Foundation, shed light on the day-to-day activities of the small station, and offered a glimpse of Wagner’s keen influence.
“I have been blessed with a position in life that has a deep involvement with blues music, one that allows me to benefit blues musicians that I find worthy of benefit,” Wagner told Morris. “My rule is, it has to be a win for both the artist and the listener. Therefore, I have determined that this is my purpose: to expose the greatness of known and unknown blues artists to those that want or need to hear this music.”
Morris’ beautiful words made Wagman’s contributions to the station all the more poignant. To us, it’s a perfect selection as a contender in the “Personality Profile/Interview” category.
“This is Gary Wagner’s story, a dedication to the radio man’s long history of trial and error, humor and accomplishment, and an ode to a man who facilitated the growth of a musical culture indigenous to America that is far too commercially ignored,” wrote Morris. “This is a testament to the man with the voice who brought, and still brings, blues culture to Long Beach every weekend, and will likely and hopefully continue to for many years to come.”
Please join me in congratulating two very hardworking, intelligent, and deserving writers for a job well done, and wishing them the best of luck at the Los Angeles Press Club Gala on June 26.