The Pelham Examiner won four awards for its journalism in the New York Press Association 2021 Better Newspaper Contest, including recognition for education and news coverage and as a best newspaper website.
The Examiner was honored with First Place for Coverage of Education (division 1), Third Place for News Story (division 1), Third Place for Best News Website (open category) and Second Place for Spot News Photos (division 2). This is a record number of Better Newspaper Contest awards for the Examiner and the first time it has taken a first place in a category in the competition, which included 132 newspapers that submitted 2,481 entries. The paper, which was founded in June 2018, is the only member of the NYPA staffed by people under the age of 18.
The NYPA, the professional trade group that represents a vast majority of the state’s daily and weekly community newspapers, announced the awards during ceremonies April 29-30 in Saratoga Springs. The competition was judged by members of the Nebraska Press Association and the National Newspaper Association.
In winning First Place for Coverage of Education, the Examiner submitted a total of five stories:
Rowe and Owen-Michaane elected to Pelham school board; $80.3 million budget approved – By Bella Caruso
Pelham Board of Education violates Open Meetings Law: state panel – By Pelham Examiner editors
NEW HUTCH OPENS: First Pelham primary school built in 91 years – By Mila Banfield
News analysis: Class of 2021 lives a gap year – By Sophia Leung
The judges particularly singled out:
Problems revealed in equity audit are lived experience for BIPOC grad and parents, who call for changes – By Sophia Leung and Cristina Stefanizzi
The contest judge wrote: “Great overall coverage of education. I was especially impressed by the equity-audit coverage for its variety of sources and experiences, bringing life to a more technical topic.”
TRUMP’S RIOT: Pelham reacts to attack on American democracy won Third Place for News Story.
During the course of the afternoon and evening of Jan. 6, 2021, 12 members of the Examiner’s staff marshalled to get reaction on the ongoing attack on the U.S. Capitol from all of Pelham’s elected officials. They were Zoe Winburn, Nick Lieggi, Charlotte Cohn, Georgia Russello, Oliver Tam, Margot Phillips, Lucy Cole, Sophia Leung, Tommy Roche, Katja Fair, Ulysses Conrad, Cristina Stefanizzi and Audrey Levenson.
“I thought this was a fantastic idea to interview local politicians after Jan. 6 and print their responses,” said the judge. “It’s good for a community to know how their leaders feel about this type of behavior. It was put together well, just great.”
Coverage of Education and the News Story category are two of the hardest awards in the contest to win because of the number of entrants. Any development can become a news story. And most community newspapers focus heavily on covering school districts and their schools because that’s what readers want. A first place in this category against all of the professionals in the division is exceptional.
The Examiner took Third Place for Best News Website in a competition open to newspapers of all sizes. The Albany Times Union captured first place this year, the Ithaca Times second and Honorable Mention went to the Highlands Current, which won the contest’s highest honor, Newspaper of the Year, for the total number of awards it collected.
Of the Pelham Examiner website, the judge said, “Well done site with good all-around coverage. Short on advertising. Student-run site is unusual to say the least. Well done.”
Second Place for Spot News Photos was awarded to Daniella Cherner, an Examiner founder now studying at Tulane University. She rode out Hurricane Ida in New Orleans and provided the paper with photos of the aftermath.
Said the judge, “The angle is what pulls the eye to the photo. Great job!”
Here are stories on the awards the Pelham Examiner has received in the NYPA Better Newspaper Contest in previous years:
Pelham Examiner wins awards for news, education and healthcare coverage from state press association
Pelham Examiner wins honorable mention for Best News Website from NY Press Association