Gay City News came out of this year’s New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest with recognition in 13 categories.
Several hundred community newspapers statewide participated in the annual competition, and at the Awards Ceremony in Saratoga Springs April 8-9, Gay City News, the only LGBT publication in the field, won First Place for Editorial Writing, and Second Place for Coverage of Elections and Politics, for Best Editorial Pages, and for Coverage of Religion.
The publications within the NYC Community Media-Community News Group family of newspapers, which is the parent company of Gay City News, won a total of 32 awards during the weekend.
The Editorials for which Gay City News was recognized included a critique of the federal government’s failure to rescind in full the ban on gay men giving blood, a take-down of the New York State Senate for its refusal to allow a vote on transgender rights, and a tribute to longtime marriage equality advocate Evan Wolfson on the occasion of last June’s epic Supreme Court ruling. The judges wrote, “Paul Schindler's columns were, by far, the best entry in this contest. Each installment took a clear and unwavering stance. The writing was exceptional and often biting. Excellent work.”
The Elections and Politics Second Place Award recognized contributions by Duncan Osborne and Paul Schindler, with the judges writing, “Nicely done.” The judges who awarded the newspaper Second Place for Religion Reporting, noting the work of Andy Humm, Katherine Stewart, Duncan Osborne, and Paul Schindler — in large measure on questions of dubious “religious freedom” justifications for anti-LGBT discrimination — lauded the “exceptional coverage of issues that should have more broad media attention.” Gay City News’ Editorial Pages team of Kelly Cogswell, Susie Day, Nathan Riley, Ed Sikov, and Paul Schindler, in its Second Place finish, won praise for work that was “well-researched and strongly focused on the concerns of the target audience.”
Kelly Cogswell also earned a Third Place Award for Best Column, winning the judges’ praise for pieces that “are unique and bring an interesting perspective to readers that’s not written much about in the US.” Photographers Donna Aceto and Michael Luongo snagged a Third Place Award for Photographic Excellence for their coverage of LGBT Pride Weekend. The judges lauded them for being “true to your readership.” A Third Place Award to Andy Humm, Duncan Osborne, and Paul Schindler for Coverage of Crime and Police had the judges’ praising “great reporting and writing. The reporters did a good job of not taking no for an answer with their sources.” Regarding Michael Shirey’s Third Place Award for Best Multi-Advertiser Pages — for Building Families ads sold by Allison Greaker — the judges praised the “nice soft colors, for the most part, a nice variety of color and photos.”
Gay City News also received Honorary Mention for Best News Web Site, Special Holiday Edition (the LGBT Pride Issue), Best Front Page, Overall Design Excellence, and Writer of the Year. The Best Front Page entries, which included the Pride cover, the Twitter treatment of Indiana’s anti-LGBT law debacle, and a provocative skin treatment of the Rentboy.com controversy, all designed by Michael Shirey, were praised as being “clean without too much information distracting the reader.” The judges recognizing the newspaper’s design strengths were full of detailed praise for Michael Shirey’s work in several issues submitted. In giving Paul Schindler Honorable Mention for Writer of the Year, the judges wrote, “Smooth writing, like smooth jazz, is easy to take in. Paul is a fine story-teller.”
Gay City News’ sister publication, the Villager, was also a big winner in Saratoga. Lincoln Anderson, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, won First Place for News Story of the Year, with his moving account of child sexual abuse charges lodged against the late David Lloyd Wilkie, better known as Adam Purple, the godfather of the urban community gardening movement, by his daughter. The judges wrote, “Wow! Such a heartbreaking story about the level of abuse. Like pulling off a Band-Aid, it had to be done and his story was done as well as it could have been.” The Villager also scored top honors in Editorial Pages and Picture Story, by photographer Q. Sakamaki.
Lincoln Anderson also won a Second Place Award for In-Depth Reporting and for Best News or Feature Story, and placed Third as Writer of the Year. The newspaper’s Arts Pages, helmed by Scott Stiffler, who is the editor-in-chief of Chelsea Now as well, won Second Place, and were lauded as “lively pages with bright writing that I’m sure your readers look forward to each issue.” The Villager earned a total of 10 awards.
Chelsea Now garnered Honorable Mentions for Best Column (by Rick Carrier) and Best Obituaries (by Albert Amateau), and Michael Shirey won First Place for Best Small Space Ad (for Kingsway Boxing), about which the judges wrote, “The ad pops off the page with red gloves. The perfect amount of copy.”
Gay City News’ sister publications in Queens garnered four awards, including Second Place in the Past Presidents’ Award for Overall Excellence to the TimesLedger, about which the judges wrote, “Congratulations and keep up the community connections.” In a Third Place Award to the Bayside Times for Best Editorial Pages, the judges wrote, “Hard-hitting editorials; no punches pulled here.”
Community News Group’s publications in Brooklyn won Honorable Mentions for Best Front Page, by designer Leah Mitch, and for Best Graphic, by Sylvan Migdal.