SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The late ABC4 journalist Antonio Marcos Ortiz received an award created in his name Thursday by the Utah Homicide Survivors organization on the one-year anniversary of his passing.

Ortiz, who sadly passed away on Nov. 5, 2022, was well-known in the Utah community for his work on ABC4’s Justice Files and Missing in Utah.

Utah Homicide Survivors created an award called the Marcos Ortiz Healing Through Journalism Award in honor of him and his efforts to amplify the voices of murder victims and their families.

Brandon Merrill, the founder and executive director of the local nonprofit, said the award was inspired by a journal article discussing how trauma-informed journalism can help victims heal. He said the award was named after Ortiz because “that was exactly what Marcos did.”

“He understood the plight that these families and victims went through and knew how to frame and talk his story in a way that was going to be healing for them,” Merrill said.

His wife, Sandy, and daughter, Olivia, received the award on his behalf, along with colleagues from ABC4.

“By highlighting these survivors’ stories, listening to their painful journeys, and connecting them to people who could help, many were put on the path to justice. The Justice Files became a labor of love for Marcos,” Sandy Ortiz said after receiving the award on his behalf.

The award will be presented every year at the nonprofit’s Hope, Justice, and Healing Awards Gala. The gala honors individuals in Utah who provide outstanding advocacy for families of murder victims. The Marcos Ortiz Healing Award will honor journalists who have used the “healing power of caring, ethical journalism” to highlight homicide survivors and their stories.

Ortiz worked as a journalist for 30 years and joined ABC4 in 2004. He died at age 68.

“Yes, it was far too early for him to leave us, but I believe Marcos knew he had lived his best life full of compassion and devotion to others. This award surely recognizes the impact his values and dedication to a cause made on others,” his wife said.