Volume 73, Number 49 | April 7 - 13, 2004

The Villager receives 10 NYPA awards

The Villager was voted one of New York State’s best community weekly newspapers, winning 10 New York Press Association awards, including three first-place awards, in NYPA’s 2003 Better Newspaper Contest. The awards were announced last weekend at the association’s annual convention in Saratoga Springs.

One hundred ninety-three newspapers submitted entries in the contest, judged this year by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

“I’m enormously proud of our entire staff and contributors for their dedication to strong community journalism, from editorial to design to community service,” said Villager publisher John Sutter. The Villager’s sister newspapers, Downtown Express and Gay City News, also had strong showings, with Gay City News winning nine awards and the Downtown Express five.

Competing in the largest circulation division, The Villager, based on points in editorial categories, placed fifth overall among the state’s community weeklies. It was the third year in a row The Villager was in the top 10. The Villager took top honors in the state in 2001, based largely on its 9/11 coverage. This year The Villager was the number-one community weekly in New York City.

The newspaper won first place for Editorial Page, which includes editorials, columns, letters, editorial cartoons and other artwork. The judge for this category was especially impressed by Jerry Tallmer’s column on his experience as a New York Post reporter on the day John F. Kennedy died, as well as The Villager’s editorials on the late Tony Dapolito, the Hudson River Park and P.S. 42’s fight to keep a window from being blocked by a new apartment building.

“This wins first place on the strength of Tallmer’s JFK column writing and good, local issue editorials,” the judge wrote.

The Villager did especially well in photography categories. East Village war photographer Q. Sakamaki blew away the competition, winning two first-place awards, in the Spot News Photos category, for his photos of the conflict in Liberia; and in the Picture Story category, for his photographs of the new security wall in the West Bank.

“Fine work by a photojournalist — this work is a great gift to readers,” the judge in the Spot New Photos category said of Sakamaki’s gripping Liberia photos.

“Clearly the best quality,” the judge said of his West Bank photos. “The photographer’s style really stands out. Photographer shows understanding of subjects.”

The Villager won second place for coverage of Local Government, based on submissions including Lincoln Anderson’s reporting on conflict of interest allegations over Pier 40’s redevelopment process and the resignation of Robert Balachandran as president of the Hudson River Park Trust following community opposition to an ice-skating rink planned in the park; Albert Amateau’s reporting on the proposal to replace cabaret licenses with new nightlife licenses; and Jessica Mintz’s article on a raucous Community Board 3 hearing on proposed low-income housing on the Seward Park Urban Renewal Site.

“The Villager seems to go all out to cover its territory,” the judge for this subject wrote, however, adding, “I thought the coverage seemed (of local government at least) to focus a bit much on the controversy and the drama.”

(Clearly, the judge in this category has not spent much time in Greenwich Village or on the Lower East Side.)

The newspaper received a second-place award for staff reporting and photography on the blackout in August.

“Comprehensive coverage of blackout. Informative package of stories,” the judge noted.

The Villager also won second place for Obituaries. The submission included Albert Amateau’s obituary on Emeline Paige, the former Villager editor who penned the Scoopy’s column for many years, and Anderson’s obituary on former Bleecker St. heavyweight boxer turned amputee, T-shirt vendor, Jimmy Gambino.
“Wonderful life stories of fascinating people, highly researched and fluidly written,” the judge wrote.

Villager photographer Lorenzo Ciniglio won second place for Spot News Photos for his shot of police being jostled and having their hats knocked off while trying to control a Chinatown bank panic on Canal St. in April.

Said the judge, “Photographer takes the viewer inside the action — well done in the midst of chaos.”

The Villager took third place in the prestigious General Excellence category, which evaluates the entire paper, from articles and overall content, to design and advertising.

“Intensely local providing good service to readers — good use of subheads — clean typography — nice photos,” the judge said.

The paper scored a third-place award in the prestigious Photographic Excellence category, largely based on photos on the March 22 anti-Iraq war march that ended in Washington Sq., where protesters clashed with police. The protest photos were taken by Talisman Brolin, Federico Savini, Elisabeth Robert and Brett C Vermilyea.

“The March 26th edition carried this entry,” the judge commented. “Photo originality and quality were strong. Really liked the protest photos.”

The Villager also received a first-place award for Best Special Section Cover for the paper’s 70th anniversary special section, which was designed by Vermilyea, the paper’s art and production director.

“The layout of the content is good. I like the organization of the pics in the 0 [in the 70],” the judge said.

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