- In Pictures
- Meat Market
- Union Square
The Villager won six first-place awards and 13 awards over all — ranking it among the top five community newspapers in the state — in the New York Press Association’s 2011 Better Newspaper Contest.
The awards were given out this past weekend in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., at NYPA’s annual spring convention. Contest entries were judged in January by members of the Washington Press Association.
(The Villager shares content with the East Villager, which was launched two years ago. Entries from The Villager were submitted for the contest.)
The Villager won first place for Headline Writing. The judge for this category was clearly high on the paper’s entries, such as, “Pot activist still in the joint: ‘It was all medical marijuana.’ ” That headline was from a March 2011 front-page article about Bleecker St. Yippie icon Dana Beal being jailed after getting caught transporting cannabis cross-country.
“Clever headlines help catch reader’s interest. Good job!” the judge for this category wrote.
Veteran journalist Jerry Tallmer won second place for Best Column. Tallmer, 91, was one of the “founding fathers” of the Village Voice in 1955 and a former critic and all-purpose newspaperman for the New York Post. One of his columns in his winning entry, “Could hacking scandal fell the biggest hack of all?” looked at the Rupert Murdoch newspapers’ phone-hacking scandal through the lens of Murdoch’s takeover of the Post in the late 1970s when Tallmer was still on staff there. Right away, Tallmer was troubled by what he saw of the ruthless Murdoch.
The judge for this category wrote, “Tallmer uses his own history and knowledge to enhance the stories he shares with his readers. His style adds depth to his columns and helps place contemporary issues in context.”
In a year that saw a veritable plethora of special sections for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by numerous newspapers, The Villager’s stood out from the crowd, earning honorable mention. The judge for this category was particularly affected by Villager Publisher and Editor John W. Sutter’s piece on how he perceived the disaster through the reactions of his two young children, Cici and Noah.
“A great edition, well laid out,” the judge wrote of “Out of the Ashes,” The Villager’s 9/11 special section. “I enjoyed reading the variety of stories and the images were captivating. Nice opening piece by publisher John Sutter — very well done for a small piece. I had to recognize it.”
Other contributors to The Villager’s 9/11 special section included Tallmer, Kate Walter, Patricia Fieldsteel, Clayton Patterson, Muneeza Iqbal, Heather Fenby, Gerard Flynn, Villager Associate Editor Lincoln Anderson, Tequila Minsky and Amy Dellasala, plus photos by Lawrence White, Bob Arihood, Patterson and Minsky.
The paper also garnered honorable mention in Coverage of Health, Healthcare and Science. Included in this entry was Associate Editor Anderson’s article on a free-standing emergency room in Union Township, N.J., “Just across the Hudson, a model for the Village’s healthcare future”; as well as an article co-bylined by Villager reporter Albert Amateau and Anderson on the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System’s plan for the city’s first 24/7, free-standing emergency department at the former St. Vincent’s Hospital O’Toole building, at 12th St. and Seventh Ave.
It was really a banner year for photography for The Villager in 2011.Jefferson Siegel’s photos — including this one — of police arresting and pepper-spraying demonstrators at an Occupy Wall Street march near Union Square last September won first place for Spot News Photos. Above, young women reacted in shock and pain — as fellow protesters tried to wash their eyes with water — after being zapped in a sneak-attack pepper-spraying by former First Precinct Commander Anthony Bologna.
The paper won first place in the very prestigious category of Photographic Excellence, which is judged on all photos throughout two issues of the newspaper. The coverage by Villager “shooters” of Occupy Wall Street actions featured prominently in the submission.
“Photos tell the best stories of all the entries,” the judge for this category wrote. “Engaging, well-composed, cropped and displayed. These photographers know how to capture the emotion of the moment. Artistic expression — creative shots. Even portraits and scenery photos display originality. Excellent eye!”
In addition, Jefferson Siegel won first place for Spot News Photos for his shots of Occupy demonstrators being pepper-sprayed and arrested during a mass march near Union Square in September. One of Siegel’s images captured young female O.W.S. marchers crouching down and reacting in shock and pain after being gratuitously pepper-sprayed by former First Precinct Commanding Officer Anthony Bologna. Another of Siegel’s shots had an Occupy protester gazing straight into the lens while she was being taken down to the ground and cuffed behind her back by police.
“Great moment filled with emotion, tension and drama,” the judge for this category wrote. “Way to get down on her level and solicit her attention.”
Jason B. Nicholas won second place for Spot News Photos for his shots of the police eviction of the O.W.S. tent city from Zuccotti Park in November. His photos showed young protesters making their last stand, seated on the ground around the camp’s kitchen, with linked arms, some with bandanas pulled over their faces. As the police were moving in, some protesters’ expressions clearly showed fear, others defiant anger.
“Captures emotion in many faces and incorporates ‘occupy’ into the image,” the judge wrote. “There is no doubt what we’re looking at.”
As he does nearly every year, Q. Sakamaki won first place for Picture Story. His images of the devastation and aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in his native Japan blew away the judge in this category.
“This photo essay says ‘picture story’ in the true sense,” the judge marveled. “Not a word need be said. The masked people looking at the dead bodies, the burnt photographs, the wide-angle destruction. Incredible!!”
The Villager also dominated the Art Photo category. Bob Krasner won first place for his image of Philip Mortillaro, owner of Greenwich Locksmiths, at Seventh Ave. South and Morton St., looking through an artwork of welded-together spoons the locksmith created.
Milo Hess won third place for Art Photo for his shot of a pedestrian being “kicked” by a figure on a billboard on Spring St. in Soho.
“The art in the photo is beautiful. But you have enhanced it by showing it in the background with motion unfocused,” the judge for this entry noted.
The Villager’s Ira Blutreich won both first place and third place for Editorial Cartoon. His first-place toon played off the fact that the missing Bronx Zoo cobra was getting more tweets at one point than celebrity train wreck Charlie Sheen. The image showed a smiling “Miss Cobra” wrapped around Sheen like a boa constrictor while the snake smacked Sheen’s “goddesses” with her tail.
“I like the timeliness of the topic and the flow of the image,” the judge wrote.
Blutreich’s third-place winner showed Derek Jeter’s 3,000th baseball hit sailing into outer space past the Space Shuttle on its final mission.
“Timely, and a strong use of the narrow space. Well done,” the judge praised.
In advertising categories, The Villager won third place for Best Large Space Ad for an advertisement created for Gaslight and G2 Lounge in the Meatpacking District. Colin Gregory, The Villager’s retail advertising manager, graphic designer Jamie Paakkonen and Gaslight co-owner Matt de Matt collaborated on the winning design.
“This ad manages to deliver a lot of information while still giving a good feeling for the location(s),” the judge said.
The Villager won 12 awards in editorial categories, earning 150 points, good enough to rank the newspaper fifth best among community weeklies in all New York State. One hundred fifty-eight newspapers — ranging from the powerhouse Southampton Press to the lesser-known Skaneatels Press — submitted nearly 2,500 entries in 60 categories for the competition.
Community Media also did exceptionally well as a group, with The Villager’s sister papers taking home numerous awards in many top categories. All of the plaques and certificates earned Community Media a total of 325 points, ranking in fourth place among the state’s group or chain newspapers.
Downtown Express earned first place for Spot News Coverage for its reporting on the early-morning eviction by police of Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park, where the movement had been encamped for two months. The report, by Aline Reynolds, Cynthia Magnus and John Bayles, was written under deadline pressure since the paper’s deadline was later that same day. Downtown Express also won second place for editorials, including one on O.W.S. and Zuccotti Park that, while offering support for Occupy, urged better logistical planning to facilitate the protesters’ long-term presence.
Gay City News won second place for Coverage of Local Government for its reporting on the historic passage of gay marriage in New York State, and also third place for Headline Writing, Best Editorial Page and Coverage of the Arts. It also won five advertising awards, and second place for graphic illustration.
Chelsea Now won first place for Coverage of the Arts, as well as third place for Coverage of the Environment for an article by Bonnie Rosenstock on excessively hot temperatures on artificial-surface sports fields in Chelsea.
Of the newspaper group’s impressive showing at Saratoga, Community Media Publisher and Editor John W. Sutter said, “It feels good of course to be recognized by our newspaper colleagues for doing good work. But the real satisfaction in this business comes from trying to write honestly, fairly and independently every week about local issues that have meaning in the lives of our readers.”