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
- First place, audio division, investigative/enterprise story (single story), “Human research violations by UCSD eye doctor showcase a national problem”
- First place, daily reporting and writing division, investigative/enterprise story (series), “Risky Research”
- First place, daily reporting and writing division, science/technology story, “Eye doctors decry risky study on babies in China involving UCSD researchers”
- Second place, daily reporting and writing division, investigative/enterprise story (single subject), “UCSD doctor resigns amid questions about undisclosed Chinese businesses”
- Second place, audio division, investigative/enterprise (single story), “Fire risks tied to homelessness in San Diego’s canyons leave residents on edge”
- Second place, daily reporting and writing division, political/government story, “San Diego voters promised billions in infrastructure fixes, but money running dry”
- Second place, daily reporting and writing division, environment story, “Bungled multimillion-dollar roofing project at SDSU a ‘case study’ on what not to do”
Lauren J. Mapp
- Second place, nondaily reporting and writing division, investigative/enterprise story (single subject), “$44 million spent on San Diego bus rapid transit route that isn’t rapid”
This year’s contest was judged by the SPJ Florida chapter. For a list of all the SPJ contest winners, click here.