Press Democrat honors Guild photographer for fiery efforts
Santa Rosa Press Democrat photographer and longtime Guild member Kent Porter was announced as the paper’s Employee of the Year in a newsroom ceremony on January 7.
Porter earned the award for coverage of California’s 2015 fire season, in particular his heroic efforts covering the Valley fire in Lake County.
The devastating blaze hit close to home for the 53-year-old Porter, who grew up in Lake County. On the day the Sept. 12 conflagration stormed to life, he left his family and raced to the scene, arriving as the hellish blaze was gaining fury.
Porter described those terrifying moments in this video.
“It’s no stretch to say Kent put his life on the line to cover this news event,” said Derek Moore, Santa Rosa’s unit chair and president of Local 39521. “The images that he captured told a powerful story, one that an international audience clamored to see.”
In his brief remarks to newsroom staff Thursday, Porter expressed gratitude for the award, which he said was due to the combined efforts of the entire staff.
Fellow Guild member Christopher Chung may have put it best, however, when he said the honor reflects Porter’s “bad-assery.”
Porter has made a career of covering major natural disasters. For spring vacation one year he chased tornadoes through the heartland. “It’s exhilarating, but I do it because the people in our community need to know what’s going on,” he said.
Porter was the unanimous choice of the committee that selected him as Employee of the Year, according to Steve Falk, CEO of Sonoma Media Investments, which owns the Press Democrat.
Falk presented Porter with a check for $1,000.
Porter was hired at the Press Democrat in 1987. He is married and has a son.