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SoCal Connected Wins Big

SoCal Connected, KCET’s weekly TV news magazine, swept the Los Angeles Press Club’s 51st Annual Southern California Journalism Awards Sunday night, winning in four of the five TV categories for a total of five awards - three first place and two second place. One of the country’s oldest and most prestigious journalism competitions, the awards honor the best reporting in a variety of categories for broadcast, print and online media.

SoCal Connected won one of the evening’s most prestigious awards, the category of Breaking News for its broadcast of “After the Burn,” a special half-hour on the aftermath of the Sylmar fires in November. The winners include Executive Producer Bret Marcus, Anchor Val Zavala, Reporter Angie Crouch, Commentator Marcos Villatoro, Senior Producer Justine Schmidt, Supervising Producer Linda Burns, and Producers Joseph Angier and Karen Foshay. Other members of the winning reporting team for “After the Burn” include Producers Angela Shelley, Vicki Curry and Saul Gonzalez; Associate Producers Christal Smith, Anne Lilburn, Alexandria Gales and Alex Shey; and Editors Michael Bloecher and Alberto Arce.

“It’s a great accomplishment to be honored with these awards,” said SoCal Connected Executive Producer Bret Marcus, “especially by a group of your professional colleagues, like the members of the LA Press Club.”

SoCal Connected also won in the Best Documentary category for “Inside Locke High,” produced by Angela Shelley. Also included in the award were Marcus, Schmidt, Burns, Gales, Bloecher and Wood. Said the judges: “It was inspirational watching the teachers and mentors who are trying to make a difference and the children who are making great strides despite the adversity. Every civic leader who makes funding decisions regarding education should be forced to watch this must-see story. Best thing we’ve seen in years.”

SoCal Connected also won the Best Feature award for “Foreclosure Alley,” the story first reported by SoCal Connected about foreclosures that put “trashout squads” on the map. The story was reported by Correspondent Lisa Ling and produced by Angela Shelley. Also included in the award were Executive Producer Bret Marcus, Senior Producer Justine Schmidt, Supervising Producer Linda Burns, Anchor Val Zavala, Cameraman Brett Wood and Editor Michael Bloecher. The judging panel said of the segment: “very creative and intriguing way to look at the foreclosure crisis that builds a strong connection with the viewer.”

SoCal Connected also took second place in the Best Feature category for “Gold Diggers,” reported by Correspondent Judy Muller and produced by Vicki Curry and Christal Smith. Also included in the award were Marcus, Arce, Schmidt and Burns.

Finally, SoCal Connected won second place in the category of Investigative News for “Billboard Confidential,” reported by correspondent Vince Gonzales and produced by Karen Foshay. Also included in the award were Marcus, Schmidt, Burns and Arce. The segment placed between KNBC, which took first place, and an ABC News investigation with Brian Ross, which won third place.

About Los Angeles Press Club
Launched in 1900, the nearly 500-member Los Angeles Press Club has a rich history of serving those who gather the news through its online tools, educational programs, events and outreach efforts. A non-profit organization, one of the club’s most serious missions is to persuade local governments to obey existing California laws by opening up public meetings and public documents to journalists and the public. The annual Southern California Journalism Awards, one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious journalism competitions, honor the best reporting in a variety of categories for broadcast, print and online media. More information is available at www.lapressclub.org.

About SoCal Connected
SoCal Connected, recent winner of two Golden Mikes, including Best News Public Affairs Show, and the regional winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best News Documentary, airs Thursdays (8:00 - 8:30 p.m.) and Fridays (8:30 - 9:00 p.m.) exclusively on KCET. Executive Producer is Bret Marcus. Anchor is Val Zavala. For more information, to view episodes online or to post comments, please visit www.kcet.org/socal.

SoCal Connected is made possible through the generous support of The L.K. Whittier Foundation dedicated to improving the quality of life by supporting innovative endeavors in the fields of medicine, health, science and education; The Ahmanson Foundation serving the Los Angeles community since 1952; Jim and Anne Rothenberg; The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation; the Elizabeth Hofert-Dailey Trust; by US Bank and by UCLA. Additional funding for this episode is provided by Boeing.

About KCET
KCET, the West Coast flagship station of PBS, is public television for Southern and Central California. KCET is watched by four million viewers a month in 11 counties, the largest broadcast reach of any public television station in the United States. National PBS series produced from the station’s Hollywood studios include four-time NAACP Award winner Tavis Smiley and the Peabody Award-winning series A Place Of Our Own and Los Niños En Su Casa, produced as part of KCEd™, the station’s educational programming initiative. Other KCET productions for PBS include Sid The Science Kid, co-produced for PBS by KCET and the Jim Henson Company. The Time to Care, the third KCEd production, is currently in development. The KCET/BBC co-production of WWII: Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West, a six-hour documentary series premiered on PBS in May 2009.

Throughout its more than 40-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children’s programs, its outreach and community services, and its Web site, kcet.org. KCET is donor-supported community television. More than half of the funds raised to support KCET’s operating budget come from individual support. For additional information about KCET productions, Web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit www.kcet.org.

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