Publishers, reporters, photographers and advertising executives gathered in Albany over the weekend for the annual New York Press Association Spring Conference and Better Newspaper Contest, which awarded The Sag Harbor Express and its lifestyle-oriented Express Magazine with 20 awards across a variety of categories.
The Express earned a total of 220 contest points, the most of any single-flag newspaper in New York State.
“It goes without saying how proud we are to represent the community of Sag Harbor and to have our work recognized by fellow journalists as a result,” The Express co-publisher Gavin Menu said. “What was truly inspiring, however, was the overall tone of the conference, that newspapers and community journalism are more important now than ever.”
Associate editor Michelle Trauring, who covers arts and news features for The Express, was named the 2018 Writer of the Year, emerging from a crowded field of 44 other entries. “Selecting the best writer from such a diverse field was nearly impossible,” the judges wrote, “but the writings of Michelle Trauring stood out to me better than any other.”
The contest featured a total of 2,273 entries from 163 different weekly and daily newspapers across the state. The Sag Harbor Express earned first-place awards for its coverage of the arts and coverage of religion, while The Express Magazine won first place for Magazine, while also being honored separately for its Summer Book and Holiday Book editions. The magazine also won first place for special section advertising and the paper’s Spotlight on Health issue won for best special section on newsprint.
“Your magazine and sections should be an inspiration for all looking to produce a top-shelf product,” judges said. “Hats off to your staff.”
East End news organizations were well represented in Albany, with The Suffolk Times winning Newspaper of the Year for the second straight year, along with the prestigious Stuart C. Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence, which The Express had won the previous three years. The Southampton Press eastern and western editions, The East Hampton Press, The Independent, Dan’s Papers, The Shelter Island Reporter, The Riverhead News-Review and RiverheadLocal.com also took home awards from the contest, which was judged earlier this year by members of the Wisconsin Press Association.
In one of the more compelling moments of the weekend, The Express shared a second place award for Community Leadership with the Press News Group and the Times Review Media Group for the East End News Project and their combined reporting on the opioid crisis.