By Howard Koplowitz
The Bayside Times was recognized as one of the three best weekly newspapers throughout the United States and Canada in the largest circulation category by the Suburban Newspapers of America.
The TimesLedger chain of 14 newspapers took third place in SNA's Newspapers of the Year contest in the non-daily, over 37,500 circulation category.
The Bayside Times is the flagship of the chain, which has a circulation of 72,000.
“This is really as high an honor as you can get,” TimesLedger Publisher Steven Blank said. “It just reflects the talent and dedication of the TimesLedger staff and the fact that we are putting out one of the best weekly newspapers in North America.
“Competing at this level across North America in the biggest circulation group indicates how good a job we're doing in covering these communities in Queens.”
Every facet of the paper — from stories and photos to layout and advertisements — was taken into consideration by judges from the American Press Institute.
They praised TimesLedger for its “newsy, authoritative report of the Bayside community. Solid reporting, writing and editing that address community issues and concerns.”
Judges also said photos were “used effectively throughout the paper” and cited “good packaging throughout the publication.”
“Overall effect is a no-nonsense presentation that enables readers to easily navigate through pages,” they continued. “Related content such as police blotter and listings is well packaged and labeled.”
The chain was also honored for its advertising, with the judges saying it had the “best ad layout in the circulation category. Lots of advertising, which indicates why community weeklies are fairing better than metro dailies.”
The judges looked at three different Bayside Times editions: May 3, 2007; Sept. 6, 2007 and March 28.
The Astoria premiere of “Spider-Man 3” was featured prominently on the front page of the May 3 edition, including a cutout of star Tobey Maguire and a photo of borough residents who lined up to see the event.
The two front-page stories included the city's neglect of a sinkhole in Bayside and the $1.5 billion Willets Point plan.
The Sept. 6 edition featured stories on City Councilman Tony Avella's (D-Bayside) call to pass a law regulating a towing business and the paralysis suffered by Flushing High School football player Blake Hunt prior to the start of the season.
A photo capturing the Queens Farm Museum's Easter Egg Hunt made the front page of the March 28 edition, which included stories of a Bay Terrace man ticketed for parking in his own driveway and Bayside student Kevin Peng winning a state math contest.
TimesLedger has been recognized in prior SNA contests, including a Suburban Journalist of the Year award and another Newspaper of the Year honor.
“We've done well in the past,” Blank said. “We've sustained that effort.”
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.