Volume 18 • Issue 48 | April 14 - 20, 2006

This Downtown Express photo by Ramin Talaie on Sept. 11, 2005 helped the paper win a photographic excellence award from the New York Press Association.

Express’s editorials, local coverage judged the state’s best

Downtown Express won 10 New York Press Association awards last weekend including first place prizes for coverage of local government and editorials.

In addition, the paper ranked fifth in advertising award points out of the 242 state papers that entered NYPA’s 2005 Better Newspaper Contest.

“We were thrilled to be recognized by our newspaper colleagues for excellence in a number of areas, particularly our coverage of local government and our editorials,” said John W. Sutter, publisher and owner of Downtown Express. “But the real stimulation in this business is trying to write honestly, independently, and forcefully — on a weekly basis — about events that make a difference to the lives of individuals and families in our neighborhood.”

Ten awards are a record for the Express, which won six last year and has increased its total every year since the 2003 convention, the first in which free publications were eligible to enter.

Members of the Washington State Press Association picked the award winners, which were announced in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. April 7 and 8 at NYPA’s annual convention.

“The most in depth coverage of any paper in the category,” judges wrote of the Express’s local government coverage. “Excels in both quantity and quality. Multiple voices in most articles add depth and round out stories. Well done.”

The Express submitted the April 22 – 28 and May 13 –19 issues in the local government category and competed against the largest circulation papers across the state (Division 4).

The six front-page articles those weeks all involved local government. They were about: Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to redirect money collected by the Battery Park City Authority toward affordable housing, Madelyn Wils’ farewell speech to Community Board 1, a look at how the 9/11-related transportation money might be spent after the West St. tunnel plan was canceled, how the derailing of the Goldman Sachs deal in B.P.C. put a neighborhood library in doubt, C.B. 1’s approval of a Tribeca development project, and criticisms of an Environmental Protection Agency testing plan in neighborhoods near the World Trade Center site. Each of those articles was written either by Josh Rogers, Express associate editor, or Ronda Kaysen, the paper’s main reporter.

The May 13 issue also included an op-ed submission in the paper’s “Spending the Community’s Money” series, a group of essays recommending spending plans for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s Community Development Block Grants.

The paper’s award-winning editorials called for the restoration of cultural space at the World Trade Center site (Oct. 7 – 13); criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to disband the World Trade Center environmental review panel (Dec. 2 - 8 ); and called for an open bidding process to determine the value of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Hudson Rail Yards to insure that subway riders would not have had to subsidize a proposed stadium on Manhattan’s West Side (Feb. 4 – 10).

“Editorials do a good job of explaining the issue and take a clear stand each time, supporting their position with facts,” judges wrote. “Solid writing.”

Downtown Express columnist Wickham Boyle took third place in the best column category for her essays on a PATH trip through the W.T.C. site, a luxury car drive and the Terri Schiavo case. “Consistent, well-stated viewpoints, good analogies,” judges wrote of her columns.

The Express won third place in the photographic excellence category on the strength of its July 29 – Aug. 4 issue with a Robert Stolarik cover photo of a sweltering child near the Washington Market Park sprinklers during a heat wave, and the Sept. 16 – 22 issue with a Ramin Talaie Page 1 photo of a silhouetted police officer looking down at the 9/11 memorial ceremonies on Sept. 11, 2005.

“Lots of great photos – nothing boring,” the judges wrote.

The submitted issues also included a photo of nursing mothers protesting for breastfeeding rights at the Winter Garden by Jennifer Weisbord, photos of visitors to an anti-Bush exhibit at the Seaport by Elisabeth Robert, a shot of an abandoned sink and fire hydrant during a heat wave by Milo Hess, soccer photos by Jefferson Siegel and 9/11 ceremony photos by Talaie and Jennifer Bodrow.

The Express came in third for the best use of color while competing against papers in every circulation division. Downtown Express submitted the Nov. 18 – 24 issue which included the paper’s annual Progress Report with color renderings of the W.T.C. memorial, W.T.C. train station, and subway renovation projects, as well as photos of the W.T.C. site by Elisabeth Robert, who also had color soccer photos in the issue. The edition also featured a page 1 photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio of gulls in Battery Park and color photos of the Yankee Ferry by Talisman Brolin.

The May 6 – 12 issue included a color rendering of the African Burial Ground memorial, color photos of the Tribeca Film Festival’s family fair by Robert, a Buddhist ceremony by Talaie and the Battery Park City Springfest by Weisbord.
The judges praised the Express for “effective use of color.”

The paper also won for the best small space advertising campaign for a series of quarter page ads for Andy Jurinko, a painter with a studio across the street from the W.T.C. “Andy Jurinko paintings – just look at those eyes,” the judges wrote. “These are very simple ads that make the reader stop and stare. Great ads.”

The paper took a second place award for its “Got something to say?” house ad encouraging readers to write letters to the editor. The ad was written and designed by the paper’s art and production director, Brett C Vermilyea, and impressed one Washington journalist in particular, who wrote: “I’m going to steal this one!”

The Express won second and third place awards in the multi-advertiser pages category respectively for our Meet the Merchants and Dining Downtown sections. “Overall layout visually stimulating and the mix between photo and text works well,” the judges wrote about the merchants section designed by Greg Miller, an Express graphic designer. The Dining section was designed by Vermilyea and organized by Bruce Biggins, an ad salesperson. The Express took third place in the small space ad category for a Hudson Wine & Spirits ad.

Two other papers owned by Sutter’s firm, Community Media L.L.C., also did well in the contest. The Villager took the contest’s most coveted award, the Stuart C. Dorman, which is given to the paper that earns the most points in editorial categories. The honor is named for the former publisher of the Suffolk Times and the News-Review and The Villager has now won it two years in a row and three of the last five years. The paper, edited by Lincoln Anderson, won first place awards for editorial pages, coverage of elections & politics and coverage of business, financial & economic news.

Gay City News, edited by Paul Schindler, won three awards including first place in coverage of religion.

Community Media L.L.C. finished first in the city and third in the state in combined editorial and advertising points.

The award-winning editions, articles and photos can be found by going to www.downtownexpress.com and clicking on the previous issues link in the upper right corner of the page.


Downtown Express is published by
Community Media LLC.
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