inewsource’s investigative reporters received eight awards in the 2020 San Diego Society of Professional Journalists contest, including three first-place honors. The winners were announced Monday. 

SPJ recognized reporters Jill Castellano, Brad Racino and Mary Plummer as well as two former interns, Lauren J. Mapp and Bella Ross, for work last year that ranged from questionable human research practices to fire risks in San Diego’s canyons.

Castellano’s and Racino’s “Risky Research” received first place for investigative series in the daily reporting and writing division. The judges called it an “impressive in-depth report” on how people can be taken advantage of in medical research. SPJ honored stories from this series with two first-place awards and one second-place award. 

Plummer received two second-place awards for reporting on how a 2016 San Diego ballot measure that promised billions for infrastructure over the next 25 years is running out of money and on fire risks in San Diego’s canyons that are tied to homeless encampments. 

Ross, who interned with inewsource in 2019 and graduated this past spring from San Diego State University, was recognized in the environmental reporting category for revealing how a roofing project at her alma mater sickened dozens of people. 

Here’s a complete list of inewsource’s awards: 

Jill Castellano and Brad Racino

Mary Plummer 

Bella Ross

Lauren J. Mapp

This year’s contest was judged by the SPJ Florida chapter. For a list of all the SPJ contest winners, click here

Sofía Mejías-Pascoe is a border and immigration reporter covering the U.S.-Mexico region and the people who live, work and pass through the area. Mejías-Pascoe was previously a general assignment reporter and intern with inewsource, where she covered the pandemic’s toll inside prisons and detention...