ILLUSTRATION BY MICHAEL SHIREY
Gay City News returned this week from the annual Better Newspaper Contest held by the New York Press Association with a total of 11 awards for editorial, design, and advertising excellence. The March 27-28 event, held in Saratoga Springs, was the culmination of competition among 177 newspapers statewide whose nominations were judged by juries of journalists from Texas, in an annual rite in which states are matched for the evaluation of contest entries.
Gay City News, for the second year in a row, placed first in Coverage of Religion for stories that Arthur S. Leonard, Andy Humm, and Paul Schindler wrote about recent controversies over religious exemption laws as well as Michael Luongo’s feature examining the relationship among the Vatican, the Italian government, and that nation’s LGBT community. One judge wrote that Luongo’s piece offered “a perspective I haven’t read elsewhere.”
A first place award also went to the newspaper for its Editorial Pages, the judges lauding “outstanding editorials with well presented viewpoints” and recognizing the work of Kelly Cogswell, Nathan Riley, Ed Sikov, and Schindler. The newspaper’s website homepage also snagged a first place award.
Parent newspaper groups, serving boroughs citywide, earns total of 40 commendations
Gay City News’ art director Michael Shirey scored a first place for Multi-Advertiser Pages for his design of the newspaper’s Family Pride pages, which judges rated a “perfect promotion… nicely designed [with] simple page headers and a single background color [that] provide continuity between pages, while differing colors easily distinguish each advertiser.”
Cogswell received a second nod from the judges with a second place finish for Best Column. In their comments, judges said she has “a great voice and natural storytelling talent” that makes for “refreshing and modern and well-written” columns.
The newspaper was also recognized with a second place in Community Leadership for its role in producing community forums on education and on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.
Duncan Osborne and Schindler were recognized with a third place finish in Coverage of Crime, and Shirey and Schindler were given a third place award for Overall Design Excellence. The design award recognized, in the judges’ words, “a newspaper that puts emphasis on its articles, using design to make long-form journalism readable and accessible.”
Shirey earned a third place for Best House Ad Campaign for the promotion of the Best of Gay City Contest, which the judges said used “brilliant colors and bold graphics” to create “excitement… in the air.”
The newspaper also won honorable mention for Best Use of Photos on Website, for Luongo and Donna Aceto’s chronicling of the Village Halloween Parade, and for Shirey’s design of a Large Space Ad.
Gay City News’ sister newspapers at NYC Community Media also thrived in Saratoga this past weekend. The Villager won 13 awards, including four first place finishes. Editor Lincoln Anderson earned top honors for his Editorials and in the Best News Story category for his piece on the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Cartoonist Ira Blutreich and photographers Milo Hess, Q. Sakamaki, and Jonathan Alpeyrie also earned first place awards.
The Villager was also recognized for Editorial Pages, Overall Design Excellence, Photographic Excellence, Crime Coverage, Coverage of Religion, Obituaries, Columnist, Art Photo, and its LGBT Pride Special Section Cover.
Chelsea Now, edited by Scott Stiffler, earned four awards, including two second place finishes, for its feature writing, and Downtown Express, helmed by Josh Rogers, won a first place award for an art photo by Milo Hess.
The four newspapers’ new affiliates at the Community News Group, which has titles in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, were also winners in Saratoga. The Brooklyn Paper, which is edited by Vince DiMiceli, won first place awards for Rookie Reporter and Best Front Page, with second place finishes in Headline Writing and Spot News Photo. DiMiceli’s Bay News won second place for Coverage of Local Government and Coverage of the Environment.
In Queens, editor Roz Liston’s Bayside Times earned first place for Editorials and second place for Editorial Pages. The Times Ledger, which Liston also edits, earned second and third place in Spot News Coverage and an honorable mention for Coverage of Local Government.
In total, the newspapers of NYC Community Media and the Community News Group, owned by Jennifer and Les Goodstein, earned 12 First Place Awards and 40 awards overall. The Goodsteins’ group placed second among all newspaper groups in New York State at the Saratoga awards ceremony.
Jennifer Goodstein said, “We’re pleased that our newspapers are serving the boroughs across the city with the highest standards of excellence as judged by our peers in the industry. Every week, we're proud to demonstrate the vital role community newspapers play in the neighborhoods that are home to them.”