L.A. Times Earns Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the SPJ for Cultural Criticism and Foreign Correspondence

Illustration of Ei Thinzar Maung on left, Benja Apan in middle and Ivan Choi on right on a dark red background.
A report on young voices demanding democracy and civil liberties in Asia was part of The Times’ award-winning entry for foreign correspondence.
(Judith Rudd / For The Times)

The Los Angeles Times has received two Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. The awards, which recognize outstanding work in categories covering print/online, radio, television and more, were presented in a virtual ceremony on June 23.

Columnist Carolina A. Miranda received the award for cultural criticism, a new category this year, while Foreign Correspondent David Pierson, along with contributors Kyaw Hsan Hlaing, Hsiuwen Liu and Aie Balagtas See, were recognized for foreign correspondence.

Miranda won for a body of work that included criticism of a billionaire’s plan to build a $200 million “prison dorm” on UC Santa Barbara’s campus and a piece examining the “buchona” style that is popular on social media. (“Buchona” is a slang term first popularized in the Mexican state of Sinaloa as a way of describing the flamboyant girlfriends of a generation of 21st century narcos.)


Miranda said the latter piece was one of the more challenging columns to write. “It included a lot of original research since this is not necessarily a phenomenon that has been well chronicled as far as aesthetics goes — so I really had to dig and make a lot of calls to begin to understand the dynamics at play.

“I’m glad the piece was acknowledged by SPJ because it really did feel like one of those stories in which I got to break a little ground,” Miranda added.

Pierson said the five stories that were submitted for the foreign correspondence award, which all focused on democracy in Asia, “required brave reporting from contributors in places where freedoms have been curtailed and authorities have targeted journalists.

“They took necessary risks to bring to light stories of the lives ruined by creeping authoritarianism in Asia,” he said. “I’m proud to work for a paper that still invests in foreign correspondence.”

See Miranda’s winning work:
Link 1 | Link 2 | Link 3 | Link 4 | Link 5

See Pierson and his colleagues’ winning work:
Link 1 | Link 2 | Link 3 | Link 4 | Link 5


Visit to see the complete list of winners and watch the ceremony.