The Sag Harbor Express took home top honors in its division last weekend in the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.
Held during the association’s annual spring convention in Albany, the contest attracted 170 community weekly newspapers from across the state submitting 3,455 entries. The Express ranked fourth overall in the state in total contest points, and third overall in total editorial points.
In its circulation division, for newspapers with a circulation up to 5000, The Express took the Past Presidents Award for General Excellence with judges commenting: “Well designed paper throughout. Has a voice that seems to speak to the community it serves. Use of color makes stories and ads jump off the page.”
The Express also won a first place in its division for Best Editorial Pages. “Robust editorial pages with strong locally written material. The variety of voices is impressive as is the quality of the conclusions.”
Express photographer Michael Heller brought home two first place awards, one for best sports feature photo of a Ross cheerleader being tossed in the air (“A refreshing new, high-level angle on that old standard toss-em-in-the-air shot”) and one for best feature photo, of a girl leaping off the lifeguard stand at Long Beach at sunset (“Great in every aspect — subject, angle, lighting.”) Heller actually swept the feature photo contest in the division, also taking second and third place with photos of a friendly pirate confronting a young child and a group of basketball players silhouetted in the early evening. Heller also took a third place for art photo.
Other awards included second place certificates for John Bayles’ sports feature on a young autistic boy’s first surfing lesson; in-depth reporting by John Bayles for a series on special education; a color ad created for Harbor Pets; coverage of the arts and coverage of local government.
The Express received third place awards for a feature story by Kathryn G. Menu on an extended family that celebrated its 50th anniversary return to summer in Sag Harbor; overall design excellence for all broadsheet newspapers in the contest; coverage of education; and a special supplement that celebrated Sag Harbor’s 300th anniversary.
The contest this year was judged by the North Carolina Press Association.