Long Island Press Wins 21 New York Press Association Awards

Long Island Press Wins 21 Journalism Awards at 2013 New York Press Association Better Newspaper Contest
The Long Island Press, despite only publishing 12 issues last year, nearly swept the New York Press Association’s 2013 Better Newspaper Contest at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs April 4 & 5, 2014. The newspaper brought home 21 honors across nearly two dozen categories. The annual awards competition recognizes journalistic excellence and included more than 2,750 entries from nearly 160 newspapers from across New York State. (Jon Sasala/Long Island Press)

The Long Island Press took home 21 awards at the New York Press Association (NYPA)’s 2013 Better Newspaper Contest held at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs April 4th and 5th.

The annual awards competition, spring convention and trade show recognizes journalistic excellence across newspapers and media organizations throughout New York State, and has been held each year since 1930. The Press swept NYPA twice in the past three yearsdominating its 2010 and 2012 contests and earning top prizes in nearly every category, in addition to bringing home the competition’s highest honor, its Stuart C. Dorman Award.

This year’s contest included 2,760 entries submitted by nearly 160 newspapers vying for accolades across 63 categories, including editorial, design and photography, in addition to Newspaper of the Year, the Dorman award and John J. Evans Award for Advertising Excellence. It was judged by members of the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.

The Press, which only published 12 issues last year, came in second overall, with top honors yet again across nearly every category. These included: coverage of business, financial & economic news, education, coverage of the environment, arts, religion, crime/police/courts, in-depth reporting, news, spot news, news or feature series, column, and best use of social media and multimedia, among others.

Press Managing Editor Timothy Bolger, Publisher Jed Morey and Multimedia Reporter Rashed Mian brought home First Place honors in the Coverage of Business, Financial & Economic News category, for a multi-story entry that included Bolger’s investigative cover story “There Goes The Neighborhood: Foreclosed Homes Shelter Crime, Threaten Communities,” Morey’s probing expose “New Fox, Same Henhouse: How Wall Street Cornered The Market By Taking Control Of The World’s Most Important Financial Benchmark,” and Mian’s feature story “Hollywood East,” a colorful, in-depth look inside Nassau County’s burgeoning movie industry.

In the Coverage of the Environment category, Bolger’s feature story “Gas Pains,” about a proposed LNG terminal off LI’s South Shore, was combined as part of a package with Press Editor in Chief Christopher Twarowski’s investigative cover story “Atomic Warfare”—documenting the struggles of sick and dying workers who unknowingly toiled atop a former nuclear waste site in Hicksville without ever being informed of its hazardous past by state regulators nor its owners—to also clinch a First Place nod.

“The writers did an excellent job of drilling down to the local level, while painting the bigger picture,” judges wrote of Bolger, Morey and Mian’s Business, Financial & Economic News entries.

They deemed Twarowski’s “Atomic Warfare” article “riveting… Wow.”

Bolger, Twarowski, Mian and Press contributor Shelly Feuer Domash took First Place honors in the Coverage of Crime/Police/Courts category with a package that included Bolger’s “Gangland” feature about Suffolk police’s attempts to quell deadly gang-related shootings; Feuer Domash’s investigative cover story into the infamous $6 million theft at JFK Airport’s Lufhansa Terminal, titled “The Heist: Nassau Cop Breaks Silence on Mob Case that Left 16 Dead, $6M Missing;” her exclusive interview with now-disgraced Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale, “Law & Order;” Mian’s cover story “Officer Down,” an in-depth probe into permanently injured Suffolk Parks Police Officer Kevin O’Connor’s quest for justice; and the investigative “Protect and Serve: New Revelations in NCPD Conspiracy Case,” by Feuer Domash, Bolger and Twarowski.

“This entry far exceeded all others in this category in ambition and execution,” the judges praised.

Twarowski’s “Atomic Warfare: Sick Employees Seek Justice In Lawsuit Over Former Nuclear Site In Hicksville” also won First Place in the In-Depth Reporting category, with judges commenting: “This is well-written, thorough and filled with excellent examples of people affected by the long-forgotten hazard. It’s clear that a great deal of research went into this story and its presentation is excellent as well. Well done.”

Twarowski, Mian and Morey earned top-spot First Place honors in the Best Use of Multimedia category for their intrepid, behind-the-scenes probe into the court martial of whistleblower U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning and the ongoing Information War being waged by the U.S. government against dissenters and whistleblowers of all creeds and backgrounds, from journalists to NSA contractors, and the handful of activist-journalists who made it their mission to cover the proceedings no matter what obstacles stood in their way.

Besides the written story, titled “Revolution’s Family Tree,” the entry included interactive artwork depicting the historical evolution of dissent, from Sam Adams and Benjamin Franklin to Manning and Edward Snowden, a photo gallery and nearly 10-minute long mini-documentary filmed throughout Washington, D.C. and onsite at the U.S. Army base and NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

That artwork also brought Press Art Director Jon Sasala First Place honors in the Graphic Illustration category; he also took Third Place honors in the same category for his eye-popping detail on the “New Fox, Same Henhouse” cover art.

“This graphic has so many layers that it was hard to look past it in this division,” wrote the judges of Sasala’s “Revolution’s Family Tree” illustration. “The use of color and abstract images combined with the symbolism behind the effort makes it a great entry on so many fronts.”

The Press collectively took home First Place nods in the Best Use of Social Media category for its use of Facebook and YouTube “to keep your audience interested and constantly up-to-date!” exclaimed judges.

The Press won First Place in the Special Sections/Niche Publications category for its comprehensive and inspiring healthcare compendium “A Complete Guide to The Future of Healthcare on Long Island 2013/2014,” which included more than a half-down meticulously researched and masterfully written articles by Press Senior Editor Spencer Rumsey.

“It’s a Van Gogh,” swooned the judges. “The section weaves together the real world and the business world, data and perspective, fact and opinion to flesh out and advance one [of] the most important discussions in all our communities.”

Press Associate Publisher Beverly Fortune brought home Second Place honors in the Best Column category for her “Fortune 52” column, which recognizes the lives and works of truly exceptional women across Long Island who may otherwise not receive such attention.

“Finding the story is the charge of every reporter, but for the columnist there’s the added burden of doing so without the news cycle to drive you,” commented judges. “This writer seeks out the people in her columns to make sure her readers know not only what they do but who they are. If the mark of a good columnist is letting a community know more about itself and its residents, Fortune certainly seems to have the hang of it.”

Press Staff Writer Jaime Franchi earned Second Place honors in the Coverage of Education category for her in-depth, exceptionally researched, masterfully crafted, several-thousand-word feature story “We Don’t Need No Education: L.I. Parents & Teachers Revolt Against Common Core,” chronicling the Obama administration’s controversial education reform, its detrimental effects on students, and the growing groundswell of opposition among parents and teachers across Long Island.

“The story is well-reported and well-written,” praised judges. “It gives readers a smart and clear view that brings understanding to a very important topic in education. Well done!”

Rumsey and Twarowski, along with Press contributors Cassidy Kammerer, Catherine Xavier and Steve Smirti collectively were awarded Second Place in the Coverage of the Arts category for a combo entry including Rumsey’s detailed, colorfully written “Abstract Expressionism Reconsidered At the Nassau County Museum of Art” and “Off-Color & On-Target: Ripe Art Gallery Sheds the Skin of Conformity;” Kammerer and Xavier’s vibrant, moving “Sandy Art: Beauty From Devastation;” Kammerer and Smirti’s “Sea Cliff: L.I.’s Artistic Masterpiece;” and “Art League of Long Island: L.I.’s Masters of Fine Art” by Smirti and Twarowski.

The Press nearly swept the coveted Writer of the Year category, with Mian clinching Second Place and Twarowski Third Place.

“Thoughtful, clear and engaging writing,” the judges gushed about Mian, who proudly and enthusiastically proclaimed his devout love of “journalism” and “Afghani food” in his bio. “The stories take you right to the scene and draw you into the people and their tales. Virtually not a word wasted. Highly enjoyable reads.”

Mian also brought home a Second Place nod in the Coverage of Religion category for his cover story “Muslim Americans: Behind the Veil of a Religion Under Attack,” an emotional, insightful probe of the post-9/11 demonization of the Muslim religion.

Judges called it “the best individual story in the category.”

Twarowski grabbed Third Place in the News Story category for “Atomic Warfare,” which judges praised as “an excellent piece of public service.”

The annual Bethpage Federal Credit UnionBethpage Best of L.I.” competition brought home Second Place honors in the Best Special Section – Advertising category, and the Press snatched a Third Place nod in the Advertising Excellence category.

Rumsey, Bolger, Mian and Twarowski shared an Honorable Mention prize in the Spot News Coverage category for “Roosevelt Field Mall: Loud Noise Sparks Shooting Scare,” a piece published within hours of reports of gunfire at the popular shopping mall during one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Christmas Eve. Team work won the day, with writers discovering and reporting that the source of the reported shots was actually a large display case that had been knocked over by a man scuffling with police during his arrest, not gunfire.

Bolger, Mian, Twarowski and Press contributors Samuel J. Paul and Dan O’Regan also shared an Honorable Mention nod in the Best News or Feature Series, for a collection of stories documenting the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy: Paul and Bolger’s “Is L.I. Still Due for the Big One? Experts Differ on Sandy’s Status as ‘Storm of the Century,'” O’Regan’s “Are We Normal Yet? Looking to Katrina for Perspective on Sandy Recovery Timeline;” Bolger’s “Dark Places: L.I.’s Substance Abuse Community Braces for Sandy’s Next Wave” and Mian and Twarowski’s “One Year After: Long Islanders Still Suffering From Sandy.”

The Press also won an Honorable Mention in the Past President’s Award category.

“Superior design and graphical elements help to define the publication,” noted judges. “Very appealing to the eye; fresh and lively.”

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