Sam Oglesby, USAID/ State Department officer, in An Loc, South Vietnam in November 1967, standing before a display of local election results, one of the American programs to promote democracy during the war there. | COURTESY: SAM OGLESBY
It was certainly gratifying that, at the recent New York Press Association (NYPA) Better Newspaper Contest Awards in Saratoga, Gay City News earned recognition in eight categories. What was even sweeter, though, was that the wins came in areas where the newspaper challenged conventional media narratives.
One of our first-place awards was for coverage of religion, where a team of writers that included Andy Humm, Duncan Osborne, and Arthur S. Leonard provided in-depth stories about the impact of Pope Francis’ election and about controversies here in the US over religious exemptions that threaten to undermine progress on LGBT nondiscrimination protections.
Even as Francis was widely hailed as a breath of fresh air on gay rights –– and named person of the year by one top LGBT media source –– our reporting dug deeper to discern where the new pope is willing to lead and where he is not.
Regarding religious exemptions, Gay City News reporting documented the dangers the issue poses even to legislation like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, championed by some of our leading advocacy groups, who have so far turned a deaf ear to important –– even if nuanced –– concerns about the way carve-outs for bigotry compromise the protections we think we’re getting.
Gay City News also won first prize in feature writing for a beautiful remembrance written by Sam Oglesby about how anti-gay bias doomed his career in the Foreign Service, the impact that had on his life, and the Kafkaesque way in which State Department guidelines about expunging personnel records now make rectifying that past injustice impossible.
The newspaper’s role in planning and moderating political debates last year in the races for mayor, public advocate, Manhattan borough president, and the City Council seat now held by Corey Johnson earned a third place award in community service.
For the first time in NYPA history, LGBT Pride was recognized as qualifying as a holiday –– and Gay City News won second place in that broad category. The newspaper also placed second in the reporting of politics and elections.
Gay City News won a first place award for special magazine editions for the Wedding Pride quarterly that we publish in conjunction with Brooklyn’s Community Newspaper Group.
The newspaper was recognized with a third place award for coverage of crime and an honorable mention for our editorial pages.
We also want to congratulate our sister publications for their showing in Saratoga.
The Villager won two first place awards –– for a picture story created by Milo Hess and for the newspaper’s redesign on the occasion of its 80th anniversary, a project helmed by Michael Shirey, who also serves as Gay City News’ art director and whose work on our Gay Pride issue was critical to our holiday issue award.
Villager editor Lincoln Anderson snagged a second-place finish for his headline writing, and the newspaper placed third in editorial pages, for an editorial cartoon by Ira Blutreich, and for an art photo by Bob Krasner.
The Downtown Express, edited by Josh Rogers, took home the third place award in the obituaries category.
Winning recognition for editorial and design excellence reminds me of all the people who make it possible for us to produce Gay City News with the standards we always strive to achieve. Though I’ve mentioned just a few contributors here, my greatest reward is the dedication the newspaper receives from every single writer and photographer with whom we work. To all of them, I owe a debt of gratitude I am unable to express adequately in words.