Photo by John Schreiber.

A Los Angeles Times columnist, reporters for ABC7 and KPCC radio, an editor at The Hollywood Reporter and the founder of the Voice of OC website will receive Distinguished Journalist awards Thursday evening from the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Robin Abcarian of The Times, Sharon McNary of 89.3 KPCC, Miriam Hernandez of ABC7, Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter and Norberto Santana of Voice of OC will be honored at the chapter’s 42nd annual Distinguished Journalists banquet at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

The awards are presented to journalists who demonstrate “good news judgment, a strong sense of ethics and a passion for getting the story right.”

Also at the event, a Freedom of Information award will be presented to Kelly Aviles of Californians Aware, a nonprofit group dedicated to open government and free speech.

Rob Eshman, former editor and publisher of the Jewish Journal, will also be recognized.

Abcarian has held multiple positions at The Times, covering presidential campaigns, Hollywood awards shows, mass shootings and natural disasters. As a columnist, she has weighed in on issues ranging from legalized marijuana to the drought to the homeless crisis to the latest spate of sexual harassment allegations in the entertainment industry and beyond.

In addition to her work as editor-at-large of The Hollywood Reporter, Masters hosts KCRW’s “The Business.” She is a former staff writer for The Washington Post and has been a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Time and Esquire. She is also the author of “The Keys to the Kingdom: The Rise of Michael Eisner and the Fall of Everybody Else.”

McNary has been working in public radio for a decade covering a wealth of topics, but most recently focusing on infrastructure, such as the city’s aging water-delivery system and the Aliso Canyon gas leak. She previously worked in television news and on documentaries, and spent time as a newspaper and wire service reporter. She also served in the military and the Peace Corps.

Hernandez began her television career at the NBC affiliate in San Diego, but she has also worked in Washington, D.C., and New York, reporting for CNN, USA Thursday, WUSA and “Good Morning America.” She has worked with ABC7 since 1998, covering stories such as the Mexico City earthquake, Oklahoma City bombing and political upheaval in Central America.

Santana has nearly two decades of reporting experience, including five years as a lead investigative reporter for the Orange County Register and stints with the San Diego Union-Tribune, the San Bernardino Sun and Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C. He co-founded, a website featuring the work of dissident journalists in Cuba. He founded Voice of OC in 2009.

Aviles has served as vice president for open government compliance at Californians Aware since 2011. She has focused her work on legal issues related to media and government transparency since graduating from law school. She has represented private citizens, media organizations, government agencies and nonprofit groups.

Eshman spent 23 years at the Jewish Journal before stepping down as editor-in-chief and publisher in September. He started as a reporter in 1994 after spending times as a journalist in San Francisco and Jerusalem. In addition to finding investors to help save the paper from financial straits in 2009, he is also credited with expanding the reach of the paper’s website and including a bigger mix of political and religious voices.

—City News Service

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