Five local journalists were honored Thursday as recipients of Distinguished Journalist awards by the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Southern California News Group senior editor Tom Bray, journalist and essayist Lynell George, Los Angeles Times metro reporter Maria L. La Ganga, KTLA assignment manager Vance Scott and retired KNX-1070 news reporter and anchor Diane Thompson were recognized for “demonstrating good news judgment, a strong sense of ethics and a passion for getting the story right,” the SPA announced Thursday.
Additionally, the group’s Freedom of Information award went to David Snyder, the First Amendment Coalition’s executive director. The former Washington Post reporter-turned legal advocate spent 2019 in legal battles across the state, winning key rulings resulting in the release of public records.
The awards will be presented on March 25, 2020, at the 44th annual Distinguished Journalists Awards Banquet in downtown L.A.
— Bray, senior editor of six daily newspapers in Los Angeles County, has been a journalist since he started covering high school sports in 1975. He served as managing editor at The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, the News-Leader in Springfield, Mo., the Sun in San Bernardino and the Times-Delta in Visalia.
— George is a former staff writer for both L.A. Weekly and the Los Angeles Times, her work has appeared in various news outlets including Boom California, The Journal of Alta California, Preservation Magazine, Zocalo Public Square, Smithsonian, Vibe, The Washington Post, Essence, and Ms. She won a 2017 Grammy award for her liner notes for “Otis Redding Live at the Whisky A Go Go.” She is also the author of several books.
— La Ganga joined the Times in 1981 and has served as Seattle bureau chief, San Francisco bureau chief, and business section editor.
— Scott has been a TV journalist for over five decades. He joined KABC as an assignment editor, special projects producer and Orange County bureau chief in 1981. In 1990, he helped launch KCAL’s “Prime Time News.” Scott is celebrating his 25th anniversary as assignment manager at KTLA, where he manages the station’s daily news gathering operation.
— Thompson spent 34 years as a news reporter and anchor at KNX, covering 26 Academy Award ceremonies, 14 Rose Parades, the 1984 Olympics, the official visits of both Pope John Paul II and South African President Nelson Mandela, the L.A. riots, San Francisco and Northridge earthquakes, the Simpson/Goldman murders, and she broke the story nationally of the murder of Phil Hartman.
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