Behind the Badge wins six awards from Orange County Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest, bringing total to 45


Behind the Badge added six awards to its trophy case for photography, writing and podcasting at the Orange County Press Club’s 2020 Excellence in Journalism Contest, bringing its total to 45 since launching six years ago.

The Orange County Press Club awards ceremony was held virtually this year, with a Facebook Live presentation hosted by Kedric Francis the evening of Thursday, July 30 in place of the traditional in-person evening gala.

Among the six awards, Behind the Badge received two first place nods for an article about the Anaheim Police Department’s efforts to turn around La Palma Park and a photograph of Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes swearing in a 4-year-old recruit.

The annual contest entries were judged by professionals who are members of press clubs in Florida; Idaho; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; New Orleans, Louisiana; Cleveland, Ohio; Western Pennsylvania; San Francisco, California; and Syracuse, New York.  

Behind the Badge won first place for work that published in 2019 in the categories of Best News (nontraditional or specialty publication) and Best Feature Photo. 

The Behind the Badge winning work produced in 2019 is:


Best News (nontraditional or specialty publication): Elysse James for “Outreach, shelter beds help Anaheim police help homeless

Best Feature Photo: Steven Georges for “Deputy and daughter who sang on ‘Ellen’ enjoy a special visit with Sheriff Barnes

Anaheim Police Lt. Craig Friesen talks about the relocation of the homeless people who were camping at Maxwell Park and Schweitzer Park in Anaheim in this photo from 2019.
File photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge


Best Feature (nontraditional or specialty publication): Lou Ponsi for “As she becomes Pasadena PD’s first African American deputy chief, Cheryl Moody adds to a long list of achievements

Best Podcast: Joe Vargas for “Behind the Badge

Commander Cheryl Moody from the Pasadena Police Department poses for a picture in her office at the Pasadena Police Department on July 18, 2019.
Photo by James Carbone/Behind the Badge


Best Use of Multimedia: Joe Vargas for “Henderson Police Shooting

Best Feature (nontraditional or specialty publication): Lou Ponsi for “Guitarist, songwriter, athlete and DA investigator, Damon Tucker is a man of many talents

Behind the Badge photographer Steven Georges also took home second place awards for Best Slideshow for “paper football competition” published in the Orange County Register and for Best Feature Photo for a graduation photo he took for

Orange County D.A. Investigator Damon Tucker at his home that reflects his musical talents.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Behind the Badge stories from previous Orange County Press Club awards:

2019: Behind the Badge wins 12 Orange County Press Club Awards, bringing total to 39

2018: Behind the Badge OC wins 11 Orange County Press Club awards 

2017: Behind the Badge OC wins six Orange County Press Club awards 

2016: Behind the Badge OC wins 7 awards at O.C. Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest 

2015: Behind the Badge OC staffers, contributors win eight Orange County Press Club awards