CUSD Insider wins four awards at OC Press Club for outstanding work

CUSD Insider was honored during this year’s Orange County Press Club contest with four awards, announced during a live virtual event on July 22, 2021.

CUSD Insider took first place for best COVID-19 coverage in the non-traditional or specialty publication category with the following stories by Elysse James. Judges commented, “Great topics” and “succinctly rendered.”

  1. Capistrano Unified provides transparency to families with COVID-19 dashboard
  2. Social distancing for kids in the age of COVID-19, Capistrano Unified shares resources
  3. Capistrano Unified serves more than 1,000 free meals during COVID-19 school closure
  4. As classrooms go virtual, CUSD teachers are prepared
  5. CUSD teachers, students embrace distance learning amidst school closures

CUSD student was finalist for Boys and Girls Clubs national award,” by Greg Mellen won first place for best feature story in the non-traditional or specialty publication category. Judges said the story was an “amazing story,” “incredible details” and “engagingly told.”

Second place in that category went to “Capo Valley High counselor recognized as High School Counselor of the Year,” by Elysse James. The third-place award winner was “Aviation student set to soar at Tesoro High,” by Greg Mellen.

This brings CUSD Insiders total wins to five in the two years since the publication launched.

Last year’s contest saw a second place win for photographer Steven Georges in the best feature photo category with a photo of the Serra High School Class of 2019 commencement ceremony.

The Excellence in Journalism annual contest awards are normally celebrated with a gala dinner to honor the best designers, writers, photographers, and multimedia creators in Orange County journalism. This year’s contest received 154 entries across 50 categories and was held for the second time ever during a Facebook livestream.

The annual contest entries were judged by journalists from press clubs in Florida, Idaho, Milwaukee, Cleveland, New Orleans, Western Pennsylvania and San Francisco.

Learn more at

Click here to see the full list of winners. 

Watch the awards ceremony here:

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