KCLU journalist wins 6th national award

Orozco, NPR station also earn 12 regional honors

The Society of Professional Journalists presented Lance Orozco with this year’s Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Radio Breaking News Reporting among small-market stations for his on-scene coverage of Ventura County’s Easy and Maria brushfires.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – July 24, 2020) KCLU Radio News Director Lance Orozco has received his sixth national award for excellence in journalism.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) presented Orozco with this year’s Sigma Delta Chi Award for Best Radio Breaking News Reporting among small-market stations for his on-scene coverage of Ventura County’s Easy and Maria brushfires. Winners in other categories include NPR, NBC News, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. The Washington, D.C., awards reception scheduled for June was canceled due to COVID-19.

Orozco and KCLU, the NPR radio station serving Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, also received 12 regional awards this year. In May, the Associated Press Television and Radio Association (APTRA) honored Orozco for Best Spot News Coverage for his reporting on the Maria Fire and Best Weather Reporting for his story on flooding in Ventura County. Orozco also won APTRA awards for Best Use of Sound for his story on helping kids with autism cope with their fear of flying by simulating air-travel experiences on movie sets and Best Sports Feature Story for his look at how fans still flock to the Dallas Cowboys’ training camp in Oxnard although the region now has two other pro football teams. The station competed in Division II against small-market stations in 13 Western states.

Also in May, Orozco picked up an Edward R. Murrow Award for small-market stations in California, Hawaii and Nevada in the Best Breaking News Coverage category for reporting on the Maria Fire.

In February, Orozco, reporter Debra Greene and the entire KCLU news staff received a total of seven Golden Mike awards for Best Continuing Coverage, Best Live Reporting, Best Entertainment Reporting, Best Medical and Science Reporting, Best Light Feature Reporting Longer Than One Minute, Best Sports Reporting and Best Use of Sound among small stations. The Golden Mike competition covers the region stretching from San Luis Obispo and Fresno to the Mexican border.

Orozco garnered five other national awards in the last decade. The SPJ honored him for his coverage of the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting and the Hill, Woolsey and Sherpa fires as well as features on his battle with kidney cancer and a dog trained to sniff out a specific species of ant. In 2010, he received a National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Audio Sports Reporting from the Radio Television Digital News Association for his profile of the oldest living former team member of the Dodgers.

KCLU, a community service of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, provides NPR and local news programming to 130,000 weekly listeners in Ventura County at 88.3 FM, southern Santa Barbara County at 1340 AM and 102.3 FM, Santa Maria at 89.7 FM, San Luis Obispo at 92.1 and online at KCLU.org.

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