For the sixth consecutive year, Times Review Media Group — publishers of The Suffolk Times, Riverhead News-Review and Shelter Island Reporter — took home more awards than any other newspaper group in the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. The papers won 47 awards and combined to earn 425 points in the contest.
The News-Review finished fourth in total editorial points. The Suffolk Times was the top paper, earning the most points to win Newspaper of the Year, for the second year in a row, and the Stuart C. Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence for the third time since 2009.
A total of 163 newspapers submitted 2,743 entries in the contest. The awards were presented Friday and Saturday in Albany at NYPA’s annual spring conference.
The News-Review earned 10 total awards.
The paper earned first place for Overall Design Excellence. The judges wrote: “Bold headlines, pull quotes and front pages were outstanding.”
First place was also awarded for Best Front Page. The judges wrote: “You can tell that the newspaper team cares about their product and their community.”
News-Review editor Joe Werkmeister won first place for Sports Writer of the Year. He had previously been honored with first place in 2008 and 2010. The judges said: “He is able to capture the most compelling aspects of stories that likely engage readers, not just sports fans. … Joe’s attention to details and ability to describe those details to his readers keeps them engaged and always wanting more. Fantastic work.”
Sports Editor Bob Liepa earned second place for Sports Coverage for the News-Review. He also received first place for The Suffolk Times.
Mr. Werkmeister also earned third-place awards for spot news coverage and sports feature. The spot news award was for coverage of the death of Riverhead police K-9 Rocky. The judges wrote: “A wonderful memoriam dedicated to a canine who gave his life in service of humans.”
The Closer Look podcast published by the News-Review detailing the uncertain future of big box retail in Riverhead also won third place for Best Online News Project or Presentation. Reporters Tara Smith and Cyndi Zaweski contributed to that coverage. Times Review Media Group content director Grant Parpan led the paper’s renewed effort into publishing podcasts in 2018. Mr. Parpan also won first place in the category for a podcast published on The Suffolk Times.
News-Review photographer Daniel De Mato won third place for sports feature photo for his image of Riverhead Little League players and coaches celebrating a walk-off win.
East End news organizations were well represented. The Press Newspaper Group earned the second most contest points among group or chain newspapers with 310. Joseph Shaw, the Press Group’s executive editor, and Sabina Rebis, M.D., won first place for News Story for their reporting on the roots of the opioid crisis. The story also ran in the News-Review as part of the East End News Project’s coverage of opioids on the East End. Times Review Media Group, Press Newsgroup and the Sag Harbor Express also shared a second-place award for Community Leadership for the combined reporting on opioids.
The Independent finished second in editorial contest points and Dan’s Papers tallied the most advertising points. Sag Harbor Express freelancer Michelle Trauring won first place for Writer of the Year.
RiverheadLocal publisher Denise Civiletti won second place for the Thomas G. Butson Award for Investigative/In-Depth Reporting for stories on the proposed sale of land at Enterprise Park at Calverton. RiverheadLocal reporter Maria Piedrabuena won first place for Best Column.
Members of the Wisconsin Press Association judged the contest entries in January.