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Streetsblog L.A. and Sahra Sulaiman Honored By L.A. Press Club

4:33 PM PDT on June 27, 2016

Streetsblog's team at last night's L.A. Press Club awards: left to right
Streetsblog's team celebrating last night's L.A. Press Club award: left to right, Joel Epstein, Joe Linton, Jason Islas, and Doug Lewis. Photo by John Guevara

At the Los Angeles Press Club's 58th Annual Southern California Journalism Awards last night, Streetsblog Los Angeles was honored with two first place awards among eleven nominations for Streetsblog and our sister sites LongBeachIze and Santa Monica Next. L.A. Press Club award nominations are generated locally, then winners are picked by volunteer journalists from across the United States.

For the third year in a row, the Streetsblog L.A. team was honored as the Southern California first place in the Group Blog category. The award recognizes the core SBLA team of Joe Linton, Sahra Sulaiman, Damien Newton, and Jason Islas. The judges praised Streetsblog for a “[g]ood variety of interesting stories" and further commented that Streetsblog "demonstrates solid journalism.”

Streetsblog L.A. Communities Editor Sahra Sulaiman received a first place award for her coverage of the hard-fought community battle against the polluting battery recycling business Exide. Sulaiman's August 2015 article Exide: Can’t Put Together Proper Closure Plan but Absolves Itself of Blame for Massive Public Health Disaster received the Press Club's 2015 first place award for Online Traffic/City News. The judges commented:

The Exide story exhibited a rare "feel" for a story of such environmental complexity. Right from the start, we were compelled by the words of the 25-year-old man who said, "take a good look at me." He believes Exide caused him damage which may well be irreparable. The significant graphics might have been too much for some readers but we found them all easy to understand and they clearly illustrated the scope of the problem. The explanation of Exide's apparent wiggling to avoid blame was laid out in a clear, linear fashion. And with the nifty turn of phrase. "Good luck trying to get millions more out of us." It was strong to the end and landed with a powerful thud as we, the reader, learned just how long and drawn out the process has been and will be. "DTSC anticipates asking for that input in October." Just a wonderful job. A clear winner.

At yesterday's groundbreaking, South L.A. resident Dana Gilbert holds an L.A. Times article from 1992 about the plans to rebuild the vacant lots at Manchester and Vermont and the jobs the effort would bring to the area. The article features a photo of himself with then-Mayor Tom Bradley. Gilbert showed up to ask for the job he was promised 23 years ago. Sahra Sulaiman/Streetsblog L.A.
At the March 2015 groundbreaking for the Vermont Entertainment Village, Sahra Sulaiman took this photograph of South L.A. resident Dana Gilbert holding an L.A. Times article from 1992 about the plans to rebuild the vacant lots at Manchester and Vermont and the jobs the effort would bring to the area. The article features a photo of himself with then-Mayor Tom Bradley. Gilbert showed up to ask for the job he was promised 23 years ago. Read the full story.

Sahra Sulaiman also received two second place acknowledgements. Her March 2015 article What Does the “Failure” of the Ban on Fast-Food Restaurants in South L.A. to Curb Obesity Really Tell Us? placed second in the Online Non-Political Commentary category. Her photograph of South L.A. resident Dana Gilbert placed second in the News Photo category. The photo ran as part of Sulaiman's April 2015 coverage of the groundbreaking for the Vermont Entertainment Village.

Streetsblog L.A. sister site LongBeachIze received a third place award in the Online Traffic/City News category. Brian Addison and Kate Rispoli were honored for their three-part series on the preservation of the nation's first Taco Bell fast food restaurant building. The 53-year old Long Beach edifice was preserved and later moved to Taco Bell's Irvine corporate headquarters. See Rispoli and Addison's series at LongBeachIze: part one, two, and three.

Streetsblog boardmember and frequent guest author Joel Epstein received first place in the Individual Blog category for his Mermaid Avenue blog at the Huffington Post.

Sadly, last night's Press Club ceremonies also commemorated the passing of two friends of the blog.

Former Los Angeles City Councilmember and former Press Club president Bill Rosendahl is famous for many great firsts, including being the first openly gay person elected to the Los Angeles City Council. Rosendahl is well known to SBLA readers as a champion for multi-modal transportation. This year the L.A. Press Club began a tradition of naming their annual Public Service Award after Bill Rosendahl.

Lastly, the L.A. Press Club commemorated the life and work of KPCC's longtime Morning Edition host Steve Julian, who died of a brain tumor earlier this year. Julian's is survived by his wife Felicia Friesema, a Streetsblog partner who is our point of contact at Foothill Transit.

Rest in peace, Bill and Steve.

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