Longtime Suffolk Times sports editor Bob Liepa was named Sportswriter of the Year by the New York Press Association at the organization’s virtual convention last week.
Mr. Liepa has served as sports editor for Times Review Media Group since 1993 and previously worked as a news reporter covering Greenport. The award comes in a year when the COVID-19 pandemic forced Mr. Liepa to return to news as sports shut down for much of 2020.
“[It was] a year in which I may have written the least sports since I was a full-time news reporter,” Mr. Liepa joked with colleagues.
Mr. Liepa still managed to write enough outside-the-box sports stories to win the award, even writing stories about athletes from the North Fork’s past, including late Greenport standout Gerald Crenshaw, whose obituary he wrote for the paper. He also wrote about a local business owner’s prowess at cornhole — another departure from the high school sports he’s covered for several generations of North Fork locals.
Of Mr. Liepa’s entry into the competition, the New York Better Newspaper Contest judges from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers Association said, “every item was complete, full of details and engaging writing.”
In all, Times Review Media Group claimed 23 awards in the contest, which included 2,440 entries from 151 newspapers competing in 64 categories.
Suffolk Times content director Grant Parpan took home a first place award for Coverage of Local Government for his reporting on the Southold Police Department’s handling of community complaints over a sergeant’s retirement party held during the COVID-19 shutdown and the difficult circumstances residents were faced with following a botched affordable housing lottery last summer. His retirement party coverage also netted a first place News Story award.
Editor Joe Werkmeister was awarded Best Column for his work that regularly appears on Times Review op/ed pages.
“We have an incredibly talented team and it’s nice to receive this recognition, especially given how challenging this past year has been,” said Times Review publisher Andrew Olsen.
It was a good weekend for East End newspapers with The Southampton Press Eastern Edition being awarded Newspaper of the Year and the Stuart C. Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence, named for the late Suffolk Times publisher.
Below is a complete list of awards given to The Suffolk Times:
Sportswriter of the Year — Bob Liepa
Best Column — Joe Werkmeister
News Story — Grant Parpan
Coverage of Local Government — Grant Parpan
Coverage of Education — Tara Smith, Joe Werkmeister, Grant Parpan and Bob Liepa
Coverage of Crime, Police and Courts — Grant Parpan
In-depth reporting — Grant Parpan and Tara Smith
Best Front Page — Maria Gennaro, Grant Parpan and Tara Smith