The Sag Harbor Express was named Newspaper of the Year at the New York Press Association convention last weekend in Saratoga Springs. The Express earned the most contest points in the state for a single flag newspaper, based on editorial and advertising awards given out during NYPA’s 2013 Better Newspaper Contest. The paper scored 415 points to best its closest competitor by 120 points.
A total of 158 newspapers submitted 2,760 entries to the contest, competing for awards in 63 categories, including Newspaper of the Year, the Stuart C. Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence and the John J. Evans Award for Advertising Excellence.
The Express placed first overall, second in editorial contest points and third in advertising contest points.
“The content is a good mix of hard news, features, and sports, with plenty of family/living material added to the mix,” wrote judges. “It’s great to see such a robust opinion section, with plenty of local letters and nice house editorial voice. The paper is very solid, as are the special sections which accompanied several entries.”
Advertising director and sports editor Gavin Menu placed second in the Sports Writer of the Year contest and earned a first-place award for sports coverage. Cailin Riley, the sports editor of The Southampton Press, finished first in the Sports Writer of the Year competition for the second year in a row.
“A great sports story should be entertaining and easy to read,” wrote the judges. “Gavin met both criteria in smooth writing that flowed well in each of his submissions.”
Mr. Menu also earned top honors for sports feature story. His piece explored the impact of concussions on the game of football, from a local and national perspective.
Express staff photographer Michael Heller took third place as the state’s Photographer of the Year. The Express also earned a first-place award for photographic excellence, with Mr. Heller placing first for best feature photo, sports feature photo, art photo and spot news photo.
“Michael exhibited a solid proficiency and consistency with the camera in a variety of challenging lighting conditions,” wrote the judges.
The Express also took top honors for education coverage, for Peter Waldner’s editorial cartoon, for best special section for “The Summer Book,” for best special section advertising and for best house ad.
The staff earned a first-place award for Best News or Feature series for a June 2013 issue dedicated to tick-borne illnesses on the East End.
“This series is remarkably sophisticated with deep, current research behind each story, lively, well-edited writing throughout, and a very attractive design,” wrote the judges.
Annette Hinkle was awarded a first-place prize for her feature story “Forgotten Dead Poets? Nevermore,” a story looking at Walter Skold’s mission to visit the graves of dead poets across the country. Ms. Hinkle followed that with a second place award for a feature story on local reactions to the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.
The Express also earned nine second-place awards, five third-place awards and three honorable mention awards, including a nod to editor Kathryn G. Menu for best news story.