L.A. Times’ Tyrone Beason and Thomas Curwen Win Sigma Delta Chi Awards

LA Times' Tyrone Beason and Thomas Curwen won 2022 Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.
Los Angeles Times staff writers Tyrone Beason and Thomas Curwen won 2022 Sigma Delta Chi Awards.
(LA Times)
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The Los Angeles Times has received two Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. The awards, which recognize outstanding work published or broadcast in 2022, were presented in a virtual ceremony on June 17.

Staff writer Tyrone Beason received the award in the inequalities in society category, and staff writer Thomas Curwen won for feature reporting.

Beason, who writes about America through the lenses of race and culture, said the three articles he submitted for the award — including a piece about Black cowboys and cowgirls in California — “are inspired by our war over the telling of history.”


Although Beason hails from Kentucky, he said he didn’t grow up “with a sense of how Black Americans helped to shape our ideas about rural traditions” such as ranching, horseback riding and going to rodeos. “I thought the West was pretty white, though of course I had a sense of the role that Indigenous nations and Mexican Americans played in defining the region’s culture,” he said.

As he reported the piece and learned more about the life ways of the West as an essential part of the Black experience, Beason said he was “overcome with pride” for Black Americans as a community. “Somehow, through all of the whitewashing and exclusion, we’ve managed to hold on to this side of our heritage, pass it down to the younger generations and find cool ways to celebrate it. This story changed how I see my people.”

Curwen’s winning portfolio included three articles focusing on California’s failed mental health system, including a piece that follows Anthony Mazzucca, a man who has struggled for years to receive treatment for schizophrenia.

In an interview with NiemanStoryboard about the piece, Curwen said, “I’ve long believed that the more intimate you can make a story, the more universal it becomes,” noting that the appeal of Anthony’s story was his and his family’s willingness to share the intimate details of their struggles. “I knew that the deeper I went with this one story, the more I could illuminate the broader tragedy of so many others — today and in the past — whose fate differed from Anthony’s only by degrees.”

See Beason’s winning work:
Link 1 | Link 2 | Link 3

See Curwen’s winning work:
Link 1 | Link 2 | Link 3


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