Examiner staffers receive state journalism awards at pop-up ceremony in Wolfs Lane Park

Delia Lavallee (left) received from Examiner Executive Editor Zoe Winburn the certificates for the two journalism awards won for a story co-bylined with Sophia Leung.

As the New York Press Association could not hold an awards ceremony this spring, the Pelham Examiner hosted one of its own last week under the pergola in Wolfs Lane Park to confer three 2020 Better Newspaper Contest awards on three of the newspaper’s current and former journalists.

Executive Editor Zoe Winburn presented the framed certificates to Staff Reporter Delia Lavallee, Deputy Managing Editor Sophia Leung and Senior Editor Charlotte Howard.

Leung and Lavallee won Third Place for News Story and Honorable Mention for Coverage of Health, Health Care & Science for their story describing the lives of Pelham frontline medical workers battling the first surge of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Howard, a 2020 graduate of Pelham Memorial High School and executive editor of this newspaper at the time her story ran, won Second Place for Coverage of Education for a piece on the dreams denied to last year’s seniors.

Twenty members of the Examiner’s staff—the largest number to assemble since the pandemic began—attended the presentation, following all proper Covid-19 protocols.

The judge in the News Story category said of Leung and Lavallee’s entry: “This story made me feel—and after decades in the news business, I don’t do that often. Well done.”

“Very strong reporting with excellent writing skills,” said the judge in Health, Health Care & Science of the same story. “Great transitions and headlines that bring the reader in.”

For Howard’s Coverage of Education award, the critique said, “The story captures the anguish, disappointment that the Class of 2020 experienced during the pandemic.”

A total of 151 newspapers submitted 2,440 entries to the Better Newspaper Contest. Only one, the Examiner, is owned, run, edited, written and reported by people under the age of 18. The entries were judged by the members of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers Association.

“It’s particularly gratifying that the honored stories were published as we were coming through the first surge of Covid-19.” said Rich Zahradnik, president of Pelham Examiner Inc. “From the beginning, the Examiner’s locked-down staff kept going, never giving up, as breaking news story followed on top of breaking news story. Almost every development had more than one angle to cover. You couldn’t catch your breath. None of the staffers knew what was to come or how long it might last. That the team could create the space and time to write stories that got deep inside what was happening to healthcare workers and the high school seniors is a credit to the three award winners and the entire staff.”