The L.A. Weekly's Gene Maddaus defended his title as Journalist of the Year at last night's 2014 SoCal Journalism Awards, taking the night's top honors for the second year running.

Judges called Maddaus “a clear winner in a field fraught with talent.”

The Weekly took an additional six first-place honors, sweeping some of the evening's most prestigious categories.

Darrick Rainey earned top honors in the Design category for his art direction of “The Fabulous Morgans,” a category he also won in 2013. Judges wrote, “Outstanding art direction make this a truly memorable package. Great fun, and the design plays perfectly with the whimsical photography.”

Gendy Alimurung was named best columnist. Ben Westhoff won first place for personality profile, for “Becoming Riff Raff.” Amy Nicholson won in a tie for first place (with Marty Kaplan, of the Jewish Journal) for entertainment reviews/criticism. In categories honoring online work, Jennifer Swann took first place for entertainment news for her story “Dirty Girls,” and Ali Trachta won first for entertainment commentary for her examination of Mad Men's Betty Draper. Judges praised Trachta's “haunting prose and incisive commentary.”

Maddaus also won second-place honors for hard news and business reporting. Zachary Pincus-Roth won both second and third place for entertainment news/feature reporting.

Jill Stewart took third place for news feature, and Alimurung won third place for personality profile. The Weekly's food blog, Squid Ink, took third place for group blogs.

The Weekly competes in the large newspaper category, comprised of papers with circulation of 50,000 or greater. For small papers, Alfred Lee of the L.A. Business Journal took first-place honors for Journalist of the Year. Saul Gonzalez of KCRW was named Radio Journalist of the Year, and Cynthia Littleton of Variety was named Entertainment Journalist of the Year. Celeste Fremon of Witness L.A. was named Online Journalist of the Year and Ringo H.W. Chiu of the Business Journal was Photojournalist of the Year.

The pressure is now on for Maddaus to defend his title in 2015.

LA Weekly