Suffolk Times honored for ‘general excellence’ at annual press awards

Times Review Media Group, publisher of The Suffolk Times, took home 19 awards at the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest, which was held in Albany over the weekend.

The Suffolk Times won the Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence — the only category to judge all aspects of a print newspaper. “Very clean paper. The layout was well done and easy to follow,” one judge wrote. “Some hard hitting news in it, the death of the high schooler and the piece on Ukraine were both very moving.”

The Suffolk Times was also recognized for photographic excellence, winning first prize in that category. “Nice, clean work, with good differentiation between color and black and white,” the judges wrote. “Nice cropping!”

A total of 154 newspapers submitted 2,657 entries in the contest, competing for awards in 70 categories that span editorial, advertising and circulation efforts.

The awards were presented Friday and Saturday during NYPA’s annual spring convention and trade show in Albany. The conference also featured more than 60 educational forums for community newspaper employees.

“Our mission is to offer our readers exceptional local journalism. The recognition we received again this year reflects the combined effort of our talented team,” said publisher Andrew Olsen. “We are so incredibly grateful for all of their hard work and dedication.”

In all, the company’s newspapers, which include The Suffolk Times, Riverhead News-Review and Shelter Island Reporter, earned a total of 230 points in the contest, which was judged by members of the Colorado Press Association. The 19 awards included seven first place honors, six second place and six third place awards.

Senior editor Steve Wick, digital content director Tara Smith, reporter Tim Gannon and former editor Joe Werkmeister shared a first place award for spot news coverage for reporting on a late January 2022 blizzard and the aftermath of a tornado that tore into Mattituck last September. The judges wrote that the entries demonstrated “solid reporting, clear writing and good judgment.”

Ms. Smith also shared a first place award in the best web project category with former Times Review reporter Brianne Ledda for their collaboration on a multimedia project about the night sky — and efforts to preserve it — in Southold. Local photographer Jeremy Garretson also captured a first place award for best sports action photo for an image he took of an airborne skateboarder at the 2022 Sound & Skate festival in Greenport

Former lifestyle reporter Lee Meyer and freelance photographer David Benthal shared a first place award for best photo essay for a piece going behind the lens with Mr. Benthal that appeared in Northforker’s March 2022 issue celebrating the magazine’s fifth anniversary.

Graphic designer Flora Cannon also won a first place award for best small space ad in The Suffolk Times.

A skateboarder goes airborne at the 2022 Sound & Skate festival in Greenport. (Credit: Jeremy Garretson)

Long Island’s East End was well-represented at the awards. The Express News Group, publisher of the Southampton Press and other local titles, earned the most points in the contest with 14 first place honors including best front page, best news website, best solutions journalism project and best feature story.

The East Hampton Star and Dan’s Papers also took home awards and Riverhead Local earned recognition for its coverage of government, editorial writing and won the best Freedom of Information award.

The Stuart C. Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence, named for the late Suffolk Times publisher, was given to the Times Union, a daily newspaper serving the New York Capital Region.

“Newspapers create a brand-new product on a daily or weekly basis, 52 weeks a year. They work on tight deadlines with small staffs, covering local government, breaking news, sports, business, entertainment and more,” said NYPA executive director Michelle Rea in a statement. “Receiving recognition from their peers in another state is affirming and energizing.  We salute them for the top quality, important work they do.”

Below is a list of awards given to Times Review Media Group and its staff members:

First place

Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence — The Suffolk Times

Spot News Coverage — Tim Gannon, Tara Smith, Joe Werkmeister, Steve Wick, The Suffolk Times

Best Web Project — Brianne Ledda, Tara Smith, The Suffolk Times

Sports Action Photo — Jeremy Garretson, The Suffolk Times

Best Photo Essay — David Benthal, Lee Meyer, The Suffolk Times (Northforker magazine)

Best Small Space Ad — Flora Cannon, The Suffolk Times

Photographic Excellence — The Suffolk Times

Second place

Coverage of the Environment — Brianne Ledda, Bob Liepa, Tara Smith, Joe Werkmeister, The Suffolk Times

Coverage of Crime/Police/Courts — Melissa Azofeifa, Brianne Ledda, Grant Parpan, Joe Werkmeister, The Suffolk Times

Best House Ad/Ad Campaign — Christine Kelly-Smimmo, Flora Cannon, The Suffolk Times

Feature Story — Joe Werkmeister, Riverhead News-Review

Best Column — Ambrose Clancy, Shelter Island Reporter

Art Photo — Adam Bundy, Shelter Island Reporter

Third place

Coverage of Crime/Police/Courts — Viola Flowers, Grant Parpan, Tara Smith, Joe Werkmeister, Riverhead News-Review

Best Obituaries — Melissa Azofeifa, Viola Flowers, Tim Gannon, Riverhead News-Review

Editorial Cartoon — Peter Waldner, Shelter Island Reporter

Feature Photo — David Benthal, The Suffolk Times

Art Photo — Eleanor P. Labrozzi, Shelter Island Reporter

Richard L. Stein Award for Overall Design Excellence — Maria Gennaro, Lauren Sisson, The Suffolk Times