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Paper wins five awards

By Eric Jankiewicz

Times Ledger Newspapers Editor Roz Liston’s editorials won two awards at this year’s New York Press Association contest that pitted hundreds of papers across the state against each other. The paper also received three other awards to individual reporters for their coverage of spot news and local government.

Liston’s laconic and terse editorials won first place, proving that the editorials really are the soul of a newspaper.

The weekly chain covers the diverse neighborhoods of the borough each week with three editions: the Bayside Times, the Flushing Times and the TimesLedger. The awards represented a year of equal diversity with issues covered by the winning entries ranging from racial tensions to political corruption.

Awards for the NYPA’s 2014 Better Newspaper Contest were presented over the weekend in upstate Saratoga, N.Y. The contest received 3,081 entries from 177 newspapers, which competed for awards in 64 categories.

“The editorial awards go the heart of our mission here at TimesLedger – to inform our readers as best we can about the issues of greatest important to the community and to create a platform for constructive conversation,” Liston said. “The reporting prizes captured some of major concerns in Queens from political corruption to police-neighborhood relations to bringing immigrants into the mainstream.

The TimesLedger Newspapers were sold to Les and Jennifer Goodstein in July 2014 under the umbrella of the Community News Group and NYC Community Media. In total the newspapers earned 12 first place awards and 40 awards over all for coverage in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

Liston weaved outrage and a sense of caring every week into the paper with her editorials, which saluted the City Council’s strong female speaker for having the courage to give up some power in the interest of greater transparency. Another needled Gov. Andrew Cuomo for eyeing the MTA’s $40 million transit fund to get a budget deal when his native land of Queens is a transit wasteland and a third called for an end to polarizing rhetoric as tensions mounted between the mayor and the police.

The judges wrote, “These editorials emerged atop a crowded field of entries because they clearly and effectively weaved facts and opinions to present solid positions on issues of local concern and interest. Readers are fortunate to have this newspaper in the community, watching out for their interests. Congratulations.”

The paper also won second place for the best editorial page, which twitted Mayor de Blasio on his chronic lateness and praised Borough President Melinda Katz for taking a tough stand on the actions of the rogue trustees at the Queens Library. Strong political cartoons, a lively letters section and provocative columnists all contributed to the award.

“This was a tight category with the top three places extremely close,” the judges said. “Great use of editorial cartoons, editorials and commentaries.”

In the spot news category, reporter Rich Bockmann received second place for his story on grand larceny and fraud charges filed against Councilman Ruben Wills just as the paper was preparing to go to press. “Great balance of immediate coverage with background information for the reader,” the judges said.

In third place, Juan Soto was cited for a breaking story on the angry reaction Queens’ lawmakers had after the NYPD officers who killed Eric Garner in Staten Island were not indicted. The judges commented that the piece captured “an emotional ruling conveyed from many angles

And reporter Bill Parry received an honorable mention for his extensive local government coverage on a proposed plan to extend Jackson Heights and Corona’s Business Improvement district, a story that sounds straight forward but alarmed the immigrant community.

Reach reporter Eric Jankiewicz by e-mail at ejankiewicz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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