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Independent photographer wins award

Scott Smeltzer's photo of ex-Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo is a finalist for a statewide journalism award.

March 23, 2011|By Michael Miller, michael.miller@latimes.com
  • Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo is arrested outside his home in Huntington Beach.
Former Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo is arrested outside… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Independent photographer Scott Smeltzer has been named a finalist in the California Newspaper Publishers Assn.'s Better Newspapers Contest for his photo of ex-Bell City Manager Robert Rizzo being arrested at his home in Huntington Beach.

Smeltzer captured the image Sept. 21 as Rizzo, who is charged with misappropriating $5.5 million in city funds from Bell, was led away from his Surf City home by police.

The association named Smeltzer's image a finalist in the Breaking News Photo category, meaning it will place either first or second when the winners are announced April 16.

Smeltzer, a photographer for Times Community News since 2009, previously worked for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach and the Daily Press in Victorville.

"I was excited about it," he said about the CNPA honor. "I think it was a strong news moment and certainly one that a lot of people followed, so it's nice to be recognized."

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The Independent also won a Certificate of Achievement in General Excellence and Local Breaking News, the latter for former Independent reporter Britney Barnes' story "Tornado hits Huntington." The paper was not a finalist but ranked in the top 10% statewide in each category for weekly newspapers with a circulation of more than 25,001 readers.

The contest accepted entries published between Nov. 1, 2009, and Oct. 31, 2010.

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