Long Island Press Wins Top Honors at SPJ Press Club of Long Island Awards


The Long Island Press brought home 15 honors at the 2014 Society of Professional Journalists’ Press Club of Long Island (PCLI) Media Awards Thursday, clinching nearly a dozen of the competition’s top prizes and dominating several key categories.

Founded in 1974, PCLI is a local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s largest and most broad-based journalism organization. Its annual contest and awards dinner recognizes journalistic excellence across media outlets throughout Nassau, Suffolk and the region. It was held at Woodbury Country Club on June 5.

News organizations of all genres and sizes—from small community websites and weeklies to behemoths such as Long Island’s lone daily newspaper and the TV network its parent company also owns—go head-to-head, judged across more than 80 categories for the very best journalism.

The Press, which only published 12 issues last year, took home nine First Place honors across many of the contest’s most competitive categories. These include: Crime & Justice, Environment, Health, Arts, Entertainment, Sports Feature, Non-Local News/Feature, Video: Government/Politics, and Humor.

Press Editor in Chief Christopher Twarowski took home First Place honors in the Environment category for his investigative cover story “Atomic Warfare,” documenting the relentless 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.

The expose also earned First Place honors in the Health category.

Press Managing Editor Timothy Bolger took Third Place in the Environment category for his in-depth, comprehensive “Gas Pains: Offshore LNG Port Proposal’s Critics Fear Fracking Exports on Horizon.”

Press contributor Shelly Feuer Domash earned First Place in the Crime & Justice category for her exclusive, probing cover story into the infamous $6 million theft at JFK’s Lufthansa Terminal, titled “The Heist: Nassau Cop Breaks Silence on Mob Case that Left 16 Dead, $6M Missing,” which offered new revelations into the 1978 case and predated a historic arrest in the case by the U.S. Attorney’s Office by two months.

Press Multimedia Reporter Rashed Mian grabbed a First Place nod in the Sports Feature category (despite the Press’ lack of a sports section) for his colorful, insightful and well-researched cover story “Julius Erving and the Nets’ Glory Days on Long Island.”

Mian’s in-depth “Hollywood East: Behind the Scenes of L.I.’s Booming TV and Film Industry” also snatched First Place in the Entertainment category.

Twarowski, Mian and Press Publisher Jed Morey won First Place in the Non-Local News/Feature category for “Revolution’s Family Tree: Blood-Soaked Roots of the Liberty Tree Bear Fruit Once Again in the Digital Age.” The several-thousand-word cover story was reported throughout Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland—including at Fort Meade, where the National Security Agency is headquartered—and is an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the handful of independent journalists and activists covering U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning’s court martial.

Twarowski and Press Staff Writer Jaime Franchi brought home Third Place accolades in the Best Headline category for their Pink Floyd-inspired title “We Don’t Need No Education: L.I. Parents & Teachers Revolt Against Common Core.”

Franchi also won Second Place in the Editorial/Commentary category for Press sister publication Milieu Magazine with her revealing “Not So Blurred Lines,” addressing the controversy surrounding Miley Cyrus’ tuckus-gyrating twerking on the VMAs.

Press contributor Peter Tannen earned the First Place in the Humor category for his hilarious Just Sayin’ column “Long Island Slowly Drifting Toward Connecticut,” which sparked fear and consternation among some readers that did not realize it was an April Fool’s joke. The satire was also unfortunately reprinted as an actual news story by several local websites.

Mian and Twarowski brought home First Place honors in the Video: Government/Politics category for their 12-minute mini-documentary “NDAA, Indefinite Detention, and the Battle Raging Against the Most Important Law You’ve Never Heard Of,” chronicling journalists’ and activists’ attempts to stop a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act to legalize the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens and raise awareness about the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers.

The duo was also honored with Second Place nods in the Video: Neighborhood/Community category for their powerful short “Superstorm Sandy One Year Later: Much Work Still to be Done,” documenting the ongoing struggles of aid workers and residents still coping with the decimation wrought in the storm’s wake.

Twarowski’s “Atomic Warfare: Sick Employees Seek Justice in Lawsuit Over Former Nuclear Site in Hicksville” was awarded Third Place honors in the In-Depth Report/Series category.

Press contributors Cassidy Kammerer and Catherine Xavier were honored with a First Place prize in the Arts category for their moving, masterfully crafted “Sandy Art: Beauty from Devastation,” which brought to life local artists’ emotionally gripping, literal transformation of hope and life from the utter wreckage and decimation left in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Press contributor Steve Smirti and Twarowski shared Second Place nods in the same category for their colorful and fascinating “Art League of Long Island: L.I.’s Masters of Fine Art.”