The Sag Harbor Express was one of several East End newspapers to earn honors in the New York Press Association’s 2014 Better Newspaper Contest, the results of which were announced last weekend in Saratoga Springs.
The Sag Harbor Express and the Manhattan publication, The Epoch Times, earned the most contest points for a single flag newspaper. The Suffolk Times, a publication within the Times/Review Newspapers, was named Newspaper of the Year. The Suffolk Times also took home the prestigious Stuart C. Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence.
A total of 177 newspapers throughout New York State submitted 3,081 entries in 64 categories.
“Receiving recognition from our peers is always rewarding,” said Sag Harbor Express editor and co-publisher Kathryn G. Menu. “We earned awards covering all facets of what we do from reporting to photography, design and advertising. It was nice to see the entirety of the Express team honored last weekend, and gratifying to see the East End newspapers, in general, have such a strong showing.”
Sag Harbor Express staff photographer Michael Heller was named Photographer of the Year for 2014. Heller also earned first place awards for spot news photo and sports action photo, taking second place honors for feature photo and art photo, and third place honors for sports feature photo.
“Spent many years standing down first baseline and never got a shot like this. What a capture,” the judges wrote about Mr. Heller’s sports action photo from a Pierson Whalers baseball game.
Advertising director and co-publisher Gavin Menu earned an honorable mention as Sports Writer of the Year for 2014, placing in the category for the third straight year. Cailin Riley, the sports editor for The Press Newsgroup took top honors for the third time in four years.
“This writer gets up close and personal,” the judges wrote about Mr. Menu’s work. “Readers don’t get a recounting of the action—they can also feel the passion, the pain or the glory.”
The paper also earned third place honors for Overall Design Excellence.
“Designers make good use of a 17-inch wide page,” wrote the judges. “The magazine has the look and feel of a national publication but is packed with local content.”
The Express also took top honors for Editorial Page and Advertising Excellence, placing second overall in advertising contest points behind The Epoch Times.
“This newspaper creates advertising that is appealing and easy to read,” wrote the judges. “The ad design has a superior quality that is to the point.”
Other first place awards included honors for Headline Writing, Graphic Illustration, for Best Special Section Cover, Best Holiday Edition for the 2014 Holiday Book, Best Sports Feature Photo by Sag Harbor resident Bryan Downey and for Best Multi-Advertiser Pages for the paper’s “Last Minute Santa” holiday shopping guide.
“Impressive layout and design with a great balance of stories and advertising,” the judges wrote about the 2014 Holiday Book. “Filled with great holiday feature stories making this section a joy to read.”
Second place awards were earned for Coverage of Local Government, Coverage of the Arts and for Best Front Page.
“In every case these stories were well reported and supported with strong imagery or pull-out info,” the judges wrote about the paper’s coverage of local government.
The paper earned third place awards for Best Special Section Cover, Best Real Estate/Home Section for its Spring Home & Garden magazine, and Best Special Section Advertising. The Express also took home Honorable Mention awards for Best News or Feature Series managing editor Stephen J. Kotz and reporter Mara Certic wrote about the environment, for Peter Waldner’s editorial cartoons, and for Best Advertising Campaign.
Overall, newspapers across the East End took home a number of awards. Julie Lane, of The Shelter Island Reporter, was named the 2014 Writer of the Year, while Paul Squire of The Suffolk Times took third in that category behind Denise Civilletti of RiverheadLocal.com, which won several awards throughout the contest.
The Press Newsgroup, the parent company of The Southampton Press, eastern and western editions, as well as The East Hampton Press, also made an impressive showing, placing second overall for total contest points among group or chain newspapers. The Southampton Press Eastern Edition, was honored with a first place Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence, and swept that category in its division with its East Hampton and western editions, among several other awards.
Members of the Iowa Newspaper Association judged the contest for 2014 for the New York Press Association, which is led by Executive Director Michelle Rea. Sag Harbor Express publisher emeritus, designer and consultant Bryan Boyhan is president of the NYPA Board of Trustees.