Volume 74, Number 49 | April 13 - 19 , 2005

A pat on the back for us, and a thanks to all our readers

Last weekend, The Villager won 12 awards for its editorial coverage in 2004, winning the New York Press Association Better Newspaper Contest’s top honor — the Stuart C. Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence.

Winning the Dorman Award is a tribute to a talented staff and a publisher who has faith in them.

While The Villager’s news coverage, writing and photography were what gained us honors, the fact that we cover the world’s most interesting and stimulating urban neighborhoods is our other, tremendous advantage.

In being named the state’s top weekly newspaper, The Villager bested some perennial winners and many other excellent papers. Some of the other top papers in NYPA cover New York City’s suburban bedroom communities, Long Island’s East End with its affluent summer community and the city’s outer boroughs. While these are great papers, The Villager simply has a leg up because of its beat.

Although many didn’t want the Republican National Convention to come to town last summer, it did. You just don’t get an event like the R.N.C. — and the protests that accompanied it — in the suburbs. The Villager’s coverage and photography of the convention, including its anarchist protesters and detainments at “Guantanamo on the Hudson” won awards in several categories. That Downtowners — as they have always been — are so deeply politically impassioned and active is what helped make these stories so compelling.

The same goes for the Critical Mass bicycle rides, also the subject of award-winning articles in The Villager. These rides occur in Manhattan the last Friday of each month starting in Union Sq., and the way the Bloomberg administration and the police are responding to them represents a new, unfinished chapter in the city’s bicycle movement and civil liberties, as well.

Downtown Manhattan is known for its fascinating figures and personalities, which, combined with the skill of The Villager’s writers, was another winning combination. Carmine De Sapio, Bresci Thompson, Helen Gee. These are the sort of legends who define the neighborhoods we cover.

Some of these personalities are our award-winning columnists, who bring their voices — edgy and indignant or strident and committed — to our pages.

The doings of our “local government” also gives us plenty of great material to report on, and, not surprisingly was recognized by the contest judges. From the future of the Seward Park Urban-Renewal Area, redevelopment of the Lower East Side waterfront, ongoing construction of Hudson River Park and coverage of the local community boards, we were at no loss for subjects — subjects about which community members care fervently.

In short, we’re patting ourselves on the back for being named best paper. But we also can’t be happier to be covering a world-famous part of New York City — at once historic and renowned, while also cutting-edge and hip. That — as much as our own efforts — is why we were able to win the big one.

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