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National Press Club Honors L.A. Times’ Daniel Hernandez with Inaugural Cultural Criticism Award

Daniel Hernandez wins inaugural cultural criticism award from the National Press Club.
(Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times Food Editor Daniel Hernandez has won the National Press Club’s Nell Minow Award for Cultural Criticism for examining the Latino “cultural zeitgeist.” The honor is part of the organization’s annual journalism awards competition and will be presented in person at a ceremony later this month.

The new category, named after journalist and movie critic Nell Minow, recognizes excellence in cultural criticism addressing the state of society or unique commentary on the human experience as it relates to arts, media, politics, identity and community.

Hernandez, who was a reporter focusing on culture prior to being named Food Editor earlier this year, wrote extensively about Latino California from an angle of uncertainty as we embarked on year two of the pandemic. His 2021 stories “helped illustrate the state of ambivalence on sociocultural trends that resonated locally but also universally: NFTs, lowrider cruises, representation at the apex of the Hollywood machine and the kernel of meaning to the ever-commercializing tradition of the Day of the Dead,” as Hernandez wrote in his submission.

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“Daniel understands one of journalism’s core powers: To direct the collective attention of the culture,” said Julia Turner, Times deputy managing editor for entertainment and strategy. “He’s always finding stories others have missed and making the rest of us slow down, stop and pay attention — to trends, people and ideas that matter. He did extraordinary work here as a culture reporter drawing on that mindset, and it’s exciting to see him bring that approach to our Food coverage next.”

Times Immigration and Security Reporter Molly O’Toole received an honorable mention in the Edwin Hood Award-Print category for her report, “Sitting Ducks”: Biden’s Pandemic Border Closure Fuels Violence Against Migrants. Additionally, Staff Photographer and Foreign Correspondent Marcus Yam received an honorable mention in the News Photo Award category for his coverage of the evacuation from Afghanistan.

The National Press Club’s 49th annual journalism awards ceremony and dinner will take place on Aug. 31 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the National Press Club Journalism Awards, visit press.org.


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