Los Angeles Times Honored With 6 SPJ Sigma Delta Chi Awards

A mother and son pay respects to Fernando Aguirre, who died of COVID-19 at age 69.
Sonia Aguirre, right, and 9-year-old Abdiel Sanchez pay respects to his great-grandfather, Fernando Aguirre, who died of COVID-19 at age 69.
(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)
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The Los Angeles Times has won six Sigma Delta Chi awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for work produced during 2020. The competition recognizes all forms of journalism, including print, television, radio, graphics, magazines, research, newsletters and online.

Among the honorees are Congressional Reporter Sarah D. Wire, Beijing Bureau Chief Alice Su, Photographer Robert Gauthier, Editorial Writer Robert Greene, Photographer Carolyn Cole and The Times Data and Graphics team.

Wire, who is based in Washington, D.C., said that she worked with colleagues in Los Angeles and Sacramento to report on how Californians were faring under the CARES Act. It was surprising to learn that “so many more people were hurting than I think people truly realized because so many people were in their own bubble at home,” she said. “In reality, we all probably knew someone behind on their rent, struggling to find enough food or making tough decisions just to get through.”


Carolyn Cole said she was challenged by the subject matter in her winning photo series (see one of the photos, above), which focused on COVID-19’s toll on Latino communities. “[Houston Bureau Chief] Molly Hennessy-Fiske and I worked as a team to cover this very emotional story, which was challenging in ways we haven’t faced before,” Cole said.

Gaining access to hospitals was almost impossible during the initial months of the pandemic, Cole said. And once inside the COVID ward, permission needed to be granted by the nurses and patients, as well as family members of those who had died from the disease. “I took every precaution to remain healthy as I traveled several times from California to Houston and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where I tried to show the devastating impact coronavirus was having on the Hispanic community,” Cole said. “History tends to repeat itself, but this is a story I hope I won’t ever have to cover again.”

Kevin Merida, The Times’ new executive editor, noted that The Times earned twice the number of awards compared to any other news organization in this year’s competition. “We’ve had great success across every department for work during such a trying year,” he said.

Below is a list of The Times’ honorees by category. Scroll through the links to view the winning entries.

Washington Correspondence
California and the CARES Act
Sarah D. Wire
Read online: Link 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Foreign Correspondence
Individual lives under China’s crackdowns
Alice Su
Read online: Link 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5


Informational Graphics (All Circulation Sizes)
Los Angeles County police killings database
Read online: Link 1 | 2

Sports Photography (All Circulation Sizes)
Freeze Tag
Robert Gauthier
View online: Link

Editorial Writing newspaper (Daily Circulation 100,001+)
Robert Greene
Read online: Link 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

COVID-19: Breaking News Photography (All Circulation Sizes)
COVID-19’s toll on Latino communities
Carolyn Cole
View online: Link