We’re pleased to announce that Truthdig won four first-place honors, more than any other website, in the Southern California Journalism Awards presented by the Los Angeles Press Club on Sunday evening in Los Angeles. The honors follow on the heels of our Webby award for the world’s Best Political Blog of 2009, which we picked up in New York two weeks ago, and we’re deeply grateful for the recognition.

The glittery event at the Biltmore Hotel featured comments by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and special honors to CNN’s Anderson Cooper (presented by Sean Penn) and NPR’s Anne Garrels. Print, online and broadcast journalists were honored for excellence in work produced in 2009.

Truthdig’s awards went to political reporter Bill Boyarsky, a former metro editor and longtime political writer for the Los Angeles Times, who was named Online Journalist of the Year; columnist Chris Hedges, a former Mideast bureau chief for The New York Times, for best Online Column/Commentary/Criticism (click here to read his winning column, “One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists”), and Mark Heisler, Los Angeles Times sports writer and Truthdig contributor, for best Online Sports News/Feature/Commentary, for his Truthdig commentary about the media’s coverage of the Tiger Woods scandal. Truthdig also won an award for Best Website, Exclusive to the Internet (Budget Over $10,000).

Los Angeles Press Club President Will Lewis after the program told Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer and Publisher Zuade Kaufman that, in a sign of the times, the online categories were the most heavily contested of all. This was the 52nd awards program for the club, which was started shortly after 1900, long before the Internet would become a figment of Al Gore’s imagination.

Following are the Truthdig awards and some comments made by presenters in announcing them:

ONLINE JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR: Bill Boyarsky (Bill won the Journalist of the Year award for print as an L.A. Times staff member in the mid-’90s, when there was no online category.)

Michael Linder (KABC Talk Radio journalist): “Next up, Online Journalist of the Year. You’re probably thinking somebody under 30? A real hip techno-baby, right? You’d be way wrong.”

Pat Harvey (KCAL TV anchor): “You know him well. A seasoned journalist, an admired man, former city editor of the L.A. Times. The award goes to Bill Boyarsky of Truthdig. Score one for the way-cool dinosaurs!

ONLINE COLUMN/COMMENTARY/CRITICISM: Chris Hedges: “One Day We’ll All Be Terrorists”

Harvey: “Turning to a big name in Online commentary, the judges went beyond the local, to an expert on the Middle East.”

Linder: “The winner is Christopher Hedges from Truthdig.com, whom they called ‘a brilliant and insightful intellectual.’ ”

ONLINE SPORTS NEWS/FEATURE/COMMENTARY: Mark Heisler: “It’s Not About Tiger Woods, It’s About Us.”

Ana Garcia (NBC4 reporter/anchor): “The judges loved the way Mark Heisler of Truthdig — a big winner here tonight — delved into ‘society’s role as a whole’ during the dramatic crashing and burning of Tiger Woods.” (Mark’s commentary was a journalistic introspection about the coverage of the celebrity golfer.)

WEBSITE, EXCLUSIVE TO THE INTERNET (Budget Over 10K): Truthdig

Stana Katic (star of ABC TV’s “Castle”): “We’ve seen four or five shining stars emerge here tonight, including this scrappy website that’s been chosen by the judges as the best site operating on a budget of more than $10,000.”

George Pennacchio (ABC7 entertainment reporter): “Congratulations to Truthdig! The judges loved your strong and decisive viewpoints.”

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