Sag Harbor Express staff traveled to Saratoga Springs, New York, this past weekend for the annual New York Press Association’s convention and Better Newspaper Contest. The Express returned with 32 awards, including the Stuart Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence, the state association’s highest award for weekly community newspapers.
In all, 158 newspapers competed in the contest, held this year at the Gideon Putnam Resort. The contest was judged by the Washington (State) Newspaper Publishers Association. In some categories The Express competed in a circulation division of up to 5000 or 7000, and in some categories competed directly against all newspapers in the contest.
Photographer Michael Heller led The Express team taking home five first place awards, including photographer of the year, for which he competed across all circulation categories. The judges said of Heller’s body of work: “Impressive portfolio — great technical photographer and great artistic photographer. Perfect blend of artistry and storytelling ability.” Heller also took firsts for Sports Feature Photo (“Nice use of layering, depth of field and crisp focus…”); Art Photo (“Lines are perfect — especially from upper right-hand corner. Serves well in black and white, but is outstanding in color.”); Spot News (“Hurricane homeless — not your typical storm photo. Truly unique and compelling.”); and Picture Story, for a series of photos taken at Ground Zero the night and morning after 9/11 which The Express ran on the tenth anniversary of the attacks (“Be proud of this photo story!”).
Other first place awards went to Claire Walla who brought home two — one for Best Feature Story on a migration of Equadorians to the East End (“Claire has written a poignant portrait…”) and one for Best News Story on the closing of Stella Maris (“The first quote about parents and teachers feeling ‘blindsided’ establishes the story’s relevance and significance…”).
Express sports writer Andrew Rudansky took a first for Sports Feature on surfing during Hurricane Irene (“This is really a good read with excellent descriptive storytelling.”)
Express Magazines also did well. Voyeur took a first for Best Special Section (“Unique and unusual treatment, Beautiful layout.”) and Spring XO took first for Best Advertising Special Section (“Good variety of stories that are well written, lending interest to advertisers of all kinds.”)
Express staff also received first place plaques for Editorial Pages (“Great insight into local issues with solid writing all around.”) and Coverage of Local Government (“It’s great to see enterprising reporting.”)
The Express received nine second place awards, including those for General Excellence, Advertising Excellence, Special Holiday Edition (“The Holiday Book”), Best Special Section Cover (“Summer XO”), Best Small Space Ad (“Wines and Spirits Direct”), Feature Story (by Annette Hinkle), Sports Feature (by Claire Walla), Spot News Photo (by Michael Heller) and Sports Action Photo (by Michael Heller).
The Express took nine third place awards, including those for Best Real Estate/Home Section (“East End Home & Garden”), Best Special Section (“The Summer Book”), Best Large Space Ad Campaign (“Paddle Diva”), Best Color Ad (“Paddle Diva”), Best House Ad Campaign, Best News Series (by Claire Walla), Art Photo (by Michael Heller), Feature Photo (by Michael Heller) and Sports Feature Photo (by Michael Heller).
And finally, The Express received an honorable mention for Editorials.
Among the top awards received by other local newspapers competing were first places for Cailin Riley of The Southampton Press (Eastern) for Sports Writer of the Year; The Southampton Press (Western) for General Excellence in its division; The Shelter Island Reporter for Front Page and Editorial Page in its division; The Southampton Press (Eastern) for Overall Design Excellence and Photographic Excellence in its division; The East Hampton Press for Best Front Page in its division; and The Suffolk Times of Mattituck for Overall Design Excellence and Advertising Excellence in its division.