Editorial: East End community newspapers, recognized for excellence, deserve and need your support

Each year community newspapers across New York State enter their best work in the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. This year’s winners were announced virtually, as NYPA’s annual convention was canceled because of COVID-19.

The newspapers that enter their work — in categories such as Overall Excellence, Best Feature and Best Front Page — are separated based on circulation. Small papers compete against other small papers; larger circulation and chain newspapers compete with others like them.

As we looked over the long list of winners we were struck by the overall excellence and editorial quality of all the East End newspapers, from our own — The Suffolk Times, Riverhead News-Review and Shelter Island Reporter — to the Independent (which ended its print run this year), the Sag Harbor Express, the East Hampton Press and Southampton Press. (Riverhead is also fortunate to have an excellent independent news site in riverheadlocal.com.)

In short, all the papers won in very prestigious categories, including Best Front Page, Best Photography, Best Feature Story, Overall Design, Best Editorial Page, Best Column and Sports Writer of the Year. 

We are extremely proud of the quality of the journalism our three newspapers publish every week and post throughout the day on our websites. We are living through a period where truth is something people argue about — often bitterly and with the lowest kind of name-calling — where people can’t tolerate anyone who doesn’t think like them and where members of our political parties barely talk to each other, let alone cooperate to address the most serious national and regional issues. 

Certainly, the last five months, as the pandemic did its damage, have been challenging for everyone. But we have now seen a revived spirit of entrepreneurship as businesses begin to open their doors and welcome the public back.

As we enter this critical period, we want to reinforce the message that our staff is determined to keep you fully informed about what is happening — in our schools, in our governments and in our business community. We have no more important job.

The prestigious awards from NYPA reinforce for us, as for the other East End papers, that we are doing our best. As the business community has struggled to find a new path forward, we have turned more and more to our readers to help us with our mission by paying to access our content. We humbly ask you to help us, as our future is very much tied to the well-being of the North Fork. 

We are asking that you consider purchasing a digital subscription ($52 per year/$6 per month) at a time when we need each other more than ever. We are grateful for your support.

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