Aug. 4, 2018  

Congrats 2018 Sunshine State Award Winners

Univision won 23 Sunshine State Awards on Saturday, Aug. 4 at the 24th Annual Sunshine State Awards. Other big winners include WUFT, Miami Herald, and WLRN. See the full list of winners.

SPJ Florida partnered with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ South Florida chapter to include Spanish-language awards for the fifth year in a row. In those awards, Univision and el Nuevo Herald led the pack with 10 and three awards each.

One of Univision’s top honors was winning Excellence in Disaster Reporting. Lorena Arroyo, Esther Poveda, Nacho Corbella, and the Univision Feature Video Team’s project for “Life in the eye of the hurricane.”

“The Sunshine State Awards is always a fun reunion for journalists to get together and celebrate each other’s work, but it’s also a time to reflect on the importance of what we do,” said SPJ Florida President Christiana Lilly. “It’s a recognition of the impact that local reporting has on our communities, from covering last year’s tragic hurricane season to elections and the ups and downs experienced by our state’s residents. As we hand out each certificate, it’s a moment of recognizing the blood, sweat and tears we put into our craft to keep the public in the know.”

Among the highest honors, The James Batten Award for Public Service went to Carol Marbin Miller, Audra D.S. Burch, and Emily Michot from the Miami Herald for their project “Fight Club: Dark Secrets of Florida Juvenile Justice.”

Of “Fight Club,” the judges said: “They identified hundreds of individuals who’d been ousted by adult facilities for sexual misconduct, contraband smuggling, sleeping on the job, lying, unprovoked beatdowns and ‘moral violations’ but were later deemed fit to monitor juvenile delinquents. They also found low pay and poor medical care for teenage inmates.”

The Gene Miller Award for Investigative Reporting went to Mark Puente from the Tampa Bay Times for the project “The failures of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.”

The judges said of the winner: “This is a terrific example of what happens when a good reporter starts digging into a corrupt agency that has never before been subjected to serious scrutiny. Compelling examples of the misuse of power by the executive director led to significant reforms.”

This year’s Diversity Award went to Brenda Medina El Nuevo Herald and Miami Herald, while Nate Monroe from The Florida Times-Union won the top prize for Journalist of the Year. Veronica Cintron from Bay News 9 won Anchor of the Year while Red Huber from the Orlando Sentinel won Photographer of the Year. Kate Stein from WLRN News won for Outstanding New Journalist.

See the full list of winners.


The Sunshine State Awards, now in its 24th year, recognizes the best in Florida journalism. Out-of-state journalists chose first, second, and third place honors in each category. The Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is the four-time winner of SPJ’s Chapter of the Year award — the Society’s most coveted group award. Join SPJ now and make sure to put SPJ Florida as your chapter. It’s no extra cost to you: the chapter doesn’t charge chapter dues.

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