A total of 171 newspapers from across the state submitted 2,634 entries.
The Express earned a first place plaque in the most competitive category, feature story, for a piece written by Marissa Maier about the flooding in a Sag Harbor neighborhood last March (the judges said “Good imagery helps the reader experience what residents experienced.”). Claire Walla earned a first for coverage of local government for a story on in-fighting at town hall (judges said: “Story reads like I was at the meeting.”) and photographer Michael Heller took three first places for best picture story (the fireman’s carnival, “The unique angles of the photos really set the series off.”), sports action photo (a men’s fastpitch softball game, “Great dynamic action shot.”) and sports feature photo (for a shot of a PAL youth football team practicing, “Good composition and use of depth of field.”). The Express’ advertising department also received three first place awards for best color ad created by the newspaper (the Sag Harbor Variety, “Clean – simple – good use of PhotoShop.”), best house ad (which promoted the Express’ group of magazines, “Clean, easy to read, eye-catching campaign.”) and best small space ad (for surveyor F. Michael Hemmer, “Great creativity. Excellent layout.”). The paper also won a first for best front page (one featuring the March floods and a May issue featuring the arrival of a tall ship in the harbor, about which the judges said: “Tons of information with zero clutter.”), in which it competed with all broadsheet weeklies in the state.
The Express received second place awards for advertising excellence, best editorial pages, coverage of the arts, headline writing and its holiday magazine, The Holiday Book. Kathryn G. Menu took a second place for coverage of elections and politics, and coverage of education, while Claire Walla took a second for coverage of local government. Michael Heller took a second as photographer of the year.
The Express won a third place for overall design excellence. Third place awards also went to Claire Walla for best feature story and Marissa Maier for best obituaries.
The entries were judged this year by the Arizona Newspapers Association on January 26 and 27, and included submissions from the 2010 calendar year. The contest awards presentation was held during the New York Press Association’s annual spring convention, held this year at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs.