Volume 76, Number 45 | April 4 - 10, 2007

Above, this photo by Q. Sakamaki of a straphanger covering his ears at the Spring and Lafayette Sts. station illustrated The Villager’s third-place-winning entry for Coverage of the Environment. Below, this comic panel by East Village artist Seth Tobocman appeared in The Villager’s first-place-winning “A Salute to Volunteers” special section last April.

The Villager wins 9 Better Newspaper Contest awards

The Villager won nine awards in the New York Press Association’s 2006 Better Newspaper Contest. The winners were announced last weekend at the association’s annual spring convention in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

A total of 227 weekly community newspapers from across the state submitted 4,084 entries in 78 categories.

Former Villager reporter Ronda Kaysen won first place in Feature Story, the contest’s most competitive category with the most entries. Kaysen’s winning article profiled Anne Hanavan’s recovery from life as a prostitute and drug addict to running a successful boutique on Ludlow St.

The judge of this category wrote: “‘Returning from walking the streets, step by step’ — gritty and emotional and absolutely wonderful. By far the best writing in an enormously competitive category — this is an absolutely excellent piece of work.”

The Villager also won a first-place award in the Special Sections category for its issue on volunteers. Writing articles for this section were Villager reporter Albert Amateau, as well as Jefferson Siegel, Ellen Keohane, Chad Smith and Robert Kreizel. Artwork of New Orleans by East Village comic artist Seth Tobocman was also featured in the section.

“‘A Salute to Volunteers’ — was a standout in a competitive division,” the judge for this category wrote. “A lot of good work here — and it paid off — great job.”

Lincoln Anderson, Villager associate editor, won second place in the Coverage of Local Government category. Anderson’s entry included two articles: “Dissidents are raring for race after party dis, attack letter,” about last year’s heated Community Board 2 chairperson race between Maria Passannante Derr and David Reck; and “Lopez cleared of fraud charge, also of deposit of $170,000,” on the resolution of former Councilmember Margarita Lopez’s misuse of campaign finance funds.

“I’m impressed by this weekly,” the judge wrote. “Spunky and smart. Lincoln Anderson does a great job. This is a close second.”

Downtown’s hometown paper since 1933 also won third place for Coverage of the Environment. This entry included an investigation by Chad Smith on dangerous noise levels at the Spring St. 6 train subway station, plus Jefferson Siegel’s report on the mysterious appearance of dripping mercury inside a residential building at 55 W. Eighth St. in January 2006.

The judge wrote: “This paper covers the urban environment in Manhattan — redefining and setting a new pattern for what increasingly needs to be done elsewhere!”

The Villager also racked up awards in advertising and design categories.

Colin Gregory, retail ad manager, and graphic designer Greg Miller teamed up to take first place in the category Best Color Ad Created by the Newspaper. The winning entry was a “Sopranos”-style ad for Jeffrey’s butcher shop in the Essex Street Mall.

“Cute, cute ad!” the judge wrote.

Showing his design chops, Brett C Vermilyea, The Villager’s art and production director, nearly swept the awards for Best Special Section Cover. Vermilyea’s “Downtown Music Scene” cover for The Villager’s 2006 Community Handbook was first place.

“High color, great use of color — this cover moves me!” the judge wrote.

Vermilyea won third place for his cover of one of The Villager’s Back to School supplements.

“Photos packed with feeling,” the judge said, “not your standard ‘Back to School’ fare — kudos for creativity.”

Vermilyea’s “We Know the ’Hood” subscription “house ad” won third place for Best House Ad/Ad Campaign.

In a somewhat curious comment, the judge wrote: “Ad was self-serving, but informative…”

In the Best Newspaper Image Promotion category, another of Vermilyea’s ads — featuring his artistic photography and the slogan “You get what you pay for” — also was awarded third place.

“A great job of letting people know what they get when they subscribe to The Villager,” the judge said. “You are not just buying a newspaper, you are buying an award-winning product. You really get what you pay for!”

The 2006 contest entries were judged this January and February by members of the Oklahoma Press Association and the New Jersey Press Association.

The winner of the 2006 Stuart C. Dorman Award — given to the paper scoring the most points in editorial categories — was The North Shore Sun, a four-year-old weekly covering Suffolk County, Long Island.

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