KCLU journalist wins 3rd national award

June 27, 2017
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Society of Professional Journalists honors fire story

Lance Orozco picked up the 2016 National Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Radio Breaking News Reporting among small-market stations at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Courtesy photo

WASHINGTON, D.C. — KCLU Radio News Director Lance Orozco received a national award for excellence in journalism on Friday.

Orozco picked up the 2016 National Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Radio Breaking News Reporting among small-market stations at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes resourceful and complete coverage of a major breaking news event, emphasizing both deadline reporting and continuing coverage as the story develops over succeeding days.

The longtime local broadcast journalist provided on-scene coverage of the 7,400-acre Sherpa Fire, which threatened hundreds of ranches and homes and twice forced the shutdown of Highway 101. It burned for nearly a month between Gaviota and Goleta. Orozco’s story, which aired in June 2016, featured comments from multiple firefighters and residents as well as the sounds of helicopters, tractors and chainsaws used to fight the brushfire.

This is Orozco’s third national journalism award. The National Society of Professional Journalists honored him for the first time in 2013 with the Best Feature Reporting award for his story chronicling his battle with kidney cancer. In 2010, he received a National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Audio Sports Reporting from the Radio Television Digital News Association for his profile of the oldest living team member of the Dodgers.

For this year’s Sigma Delta Chi Awards, judges selected winners in 85 categories from more than 1,300 submissions from radio and television stations, newspapers, online news outlets and magazines. Other winners included the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and ABC. CBS Radio News won the large-market award for Best Breaking News Reporting for its coverage of the mass shooting at Florida’s Pulse nightclub.

Orozco has won more than 200 regional journalism awards for KCLU and has been named the Associated Press Small-Market Reporter of the Year in the western United States 10 times. A broadcast journalist for more than three decades, he worked at KEYT-TV, KCBS-TV and other television and radio stations throughout California before joining KCLU in 2001.

To listen to Orozco’s story on the Sherpa Fire, go to http://kclu.org/post/brush-fire-santa-barbara-county-mushrooms-4000-acres-now-5-contained#stream/0.

KCLU, a community service of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, provides National Public Radio and local news programming to more than 100,000 weekly listeners in Ventura County at 88.3 FM, southern Santa Barbara County at 1340 AM and 102.3 FM, Santa Maria at 89.7 FM, San Luis Obispo at 92.1 and online at KCLU.org.

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