Gay City News was recognized five times as part of a strong performance by Schneps Media at the New York Press Association’s (NYPA) Better Newspaper Contest for 2021.
The annual awards, presented at the NYPA conference during the final week of April, acknowledged the outstanding work of newspapers across a wide range of categories spanning from editorial to advertising and photography. Gay City News received one first-place award along with one second-place and two third-place honors. The newspaper also landed an honorable mention.
As a whole, Schneps Media — including AM New York Metro, Brooklyn Paper, Bronx Times, and Queens Courier, and others — won 36 awards, which was the second-most among newspaper groups in the state.
“We are proud of the work our editorial team does every day covering the most grassroots local news throughout New York City and Long Island,” Schneps Media CEO Joshua Schneps said in a written statement. “This past year was particularly a special time to be recognized as our reporters and editors worked tirelessly covering critical topics such as the pandemic and public safety. We have the best team in the business and they play a major role in our coverage area, writing many stories that you can’t find anywhere else.”
Gay City News’ first-place award was for the Coverage of Crime/Police/Courts category. The award-winning articles included editor-in-chief Matt Tracy’s stories about an anti-gay attack on a couple in Staten Island and a gay Black man who died at Rikers; former digital editor Tat Bellamy-Walker’s coverage of homophobic violence in Brooklyn; and Arthur Leonard’s reporting on the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia Supreme Court case. Those stories emphasized on the voices of the most impacted individuals — particularly in the stories about crime.
The judges who handed down the award offered praise for the paper’s work in that category.
“It can be easy to fall into the trap of editorializing or slanting reportage of politically charged crimes or legal stories, particularly for a specialty newspaper that represents a particular community impacted by those stories,” judges wrote. “This newspaper manages to do a good job of reporting the facts of important stories in a clear, accurate and unbiased manner.”
Gay City News also excelled in other areas. Bellamy-Walker’s coverage of a gay teacher who was fired by the Brooklyn Diocese garnered second-place honors in the Coverage of Religion category and prompted judges to commend him for thorough reporting. Bellamy-Walker’s story on a unionization drive at Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF) also translated into a third-place award for Spot News Coverage.
Notably, Gay City News received third place for the Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence, which grades newspapers for overall quality in nine categories, including news coverage, community engagement, editorial pages, front pages, advertising, and more.
“Good concise layout, excellent reporting,” judges wrote.
Gay City News rounded out its performance at the NYPA awards with an honorable mention for Special Sections/Niche Publications-Glossy thanks to our special Impact Awards issue, which celebrates individuals who have made significant contributions in New York’s LGBTQ community. Tracy and Amanda Tarley were recognized for their work on that issue.
“Awards programs can be dull,” judges wrote. “This one was bright! I loved the way the honorees were presented. The advertising was thoughtfully integrated next to the honorees. Nicely done.”
Other Schneps publications also brought home an impressive collection of awards for last year’s work. Robbie Sequeira of the Bronx Times Reporter and Bronx Times received first-place honors for a story about homelessness, while Kirstyn Brendlen and Gabriele Holtermann also picked up a first-place award in the new Solutions Journalism Project category for their coverage of delivery apps in New York City. For Brooklyn Paper, Aidan Graham won the top prize in the Spot News Coverage category for his coverage of a shooting in Brooklyn. Among other highlights, AM New York Metro’s Emily Davenport landed a first-place award for Best Newsletter.
To read more about the results of the Better Newspaper Contest, visit nynewspapers.com.