Long Island Press writers were honored with 10 awards for their local news and entertainment coverage during the annual Press Club of Long Island (PCLI) annual gala Wednesday at Woodbury Country Club.
Among the many honors, the club awarded Timothy Bolger, editor in chief of the Long Island Press, with a rare Exemplary Service to PCLI prize for his unprecedented report card grading nearly 200 local municipalities on their responsiveness to public records requests. The 18-month investigation published in March was a joint project between the Press and PCLI, where Bolger chairs the Freedom of Information Committee.
“We can’t thank the judges enough for recognizing the hard work of the Press team over the past year,” Bolger said.
PCLI is the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, a national nonprofit trade organization that advocates for members of the media.
In addition to Bolger’s award, writers for the Press came home with three first place prizes, five second place awards and came in third place in one category.
Bolger and former editor in chief Christopher Twarowski won first place in the crime and justice category for their work on the Long Island Serial Killer investigative series, which included the Press breaking the first major update regarding the victims in the case in years last December.
Jaime Franchi, the longtime Press reporter covering school issues, won first place in the education reporting category for her series on the local movement of opposition to the controversial Common Core curriculum and its many standardized tests.
Richard Murdocco, whose column on local planning and development issues was regularly published in the Press, won first place in the column category. His blog, The Foggiest Idea, also won Best Blog Maintained by an Individual.
Winning second place in the arts category was Spencer Rumsey, the longtime Press senior editor, for “Love of Hollywood’s Golden Era Brings Generations of Filmgoers
Together at Cinema Arts Centre,” a feature about the Huntington-based independent movie theater.
Twarowski, Press multimedia reporter Rashed Mian and Michael Conforti, the Press’ director of new media, won second place in the breaking news category with “Single-engine Plane Crashes in Syosset, 3 Dead.”
Twarowski, Mian, Rumsey and Bolger shared second place in the crime and justice for coverage of Long Island corruption and cover-ups, including the cases of Ex-Suffolk Police Chief James Burke, Nassau Exec Ed Mangano and Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto.
Franchi and Press freelancers Tristram Fox and Sylvia Durres won second place in the entertainment category for their stories, “5 Real-Life Stranger Things – Montauk, Long Island Parallels“; “Leonardo DiCaprio & Nina Agdal in Hamptons Fender-Bender“; and
“Loud, Rowdy & Hilarious: Rock Star Jim Breuer Destroys Mulcahy’s.”
And Franchi also won second place in the sports feature contest for her story, “The Battle of the Selden Hills Warriors & the Seven Beasts,” a story about a local running club.
Finally, Bolger came in third place in the in-depth reporting category for “An Inside Look at How Skelos Trial Exposed Slimy Side of NY,” an explanatory story about the federal corruption trial of ex-New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre).