The Long Beach Post won 38 awards in the 2021 California Journalism Awards announced this week, including 10 first-place finishes, and Kelly Puente’s story on westside pollution in the “open” category for enterprise reporting for news outlets of all sizes across the state earned a second-place award.

The Post’s first-place awards were among publications with 101,000 to 400,000 monthly page views. The winners include:

  • A story and video by Cheantay Jensen about an artist who uses recycled skateboards won first in the arts and entertainment category. The judges wrote that it was “a fantastic piece all around.” Jensen also took second and fourth place in the same category.
  • Tim Grobaty won first place in the columns category for his history pieces about the early days of the Queen Mary in Long Beach. “I found this entry thoroughly entertaining,” the judges wrote. Grobaty also took third in the same category for his columns about presidential politics.
  • Jason Ruiz and Anthony Pignataro won first place in the category of coverage of the Gov. Gavin Newsom recall effort for their coverage of President Joe Biden’s appearance in Long Beach ahead of the recall vote. Pignataro also won third place in the same category.
  • Mike Guardabascio and Tyler Hendrickson won first place in the coverage of youth and education for a story about a Poly High program that helped heal racial wounds that some alleged was being dismantled by the district. Guardabascio and Jeremiah Dobruck also took third in the same category, and Sebastian Echeverry took fourth.
  • Kelly Puente took first place in the enterprise category for a story about westside pollution during the cargo backlog affecting the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. In the Post’s biggest win, she also took second place for the statewide competition, where the Post competed with publications of all sizes including the Los Angeles Times.
  • Thomas Cordova took first place in the feature photo competition for a photo of the winner of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. “The photo makes viewers feel like they’re there,” the judges wrote. Cordova also took second place in the same category.
  • The Post took first place in in-depth reporting for its series of stories on the Queen Mary, called “Shipwrecked.” The series was written by Puente, Dobruck and Jeff Rabin. Dobruck also took third in this category for his story on the liquor store owner at the center of a DUI crash.
  • The Post nearly swept the category for news photo, with Cordova taking top honors for his photo of a house fire. Cordova also won second place; Crystal Niebla won fourth, and Brandon Richardson won fifth.
  • Dennis Dean won first place in the design and layout category for his presentation of Dobruck’s story on the liquor store owner. “Well done,” the judge wrote. The opening collage of surveillance footage “takes me to the liquor store.” Dean also won second place in this category for his interactive timeline about a stench plaguing the Dominguez Channel.
  • Niebla won first in the writing category for her piece about a Cambodian MMA fighter. “This writer’s punchy style fit the topic like a glove,” the judge wrote.

The Post also won awards for breaking news, coverage of local government, coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, feature stories, investigative journalism, homepage layout and design and land use reporting.

The California Journalism Awards, sponsored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, were announced virtually this year in lieu of a formal awards ceremony. The awards included categories for college publications, print publications and digital media.

Last year, the Post won 30 awards in the competition.

Long Beach Post wins 30 statewide journalism awards, including staff-wide recognition for breaking news coverage