Photo by Joseph Gargiulo
By Phil Corso

TimesLedger Newspapers took home honors from the New York Press Association last weekend with a total of 13 journalism awards, which recognized one reporter as the Rookie of the Year in the state and cited an ambitious yearlong project on unsolved murders in southeast Queens.

TimesLedger, which covers the diverse neighborhoods of Queens with seven weekly editions, won three first-place awards, five second-place awards, four third-place awards and one honorable mention for editorial excellence.

Newspapers from throughout the state gathered last weekend for NYPA’s 2011 Better Newspaper Contest in upstate Saratoga Springs. The annual contest included 158 newspapers, which submitted 2,437 entries for awards in 60 categories, with 443 awards presented throughout the weekend. Entries were judged by members of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association at the end of January.

Reporter Joe Anuta, who covers Flushing and Whitestone, won first place for Rookie Reporter of the Year. Anuta joined TimesLedger in November 2010 after spending two months as an intern for a weekly newspaper in Brooklyn.

“I was very pleased when I received the news,” Anuta said. “It’s a nice recognition of the many hours I logged covering Queens last year, a testament to the hard work of my editors and colleagues who helped me along the way and inspiration to keep scouring the borough for good stories.”

Anuta was also part of another first-place honor for Best In-Depth Coverage, joining Photo Editor Christina Santucci and TimesLedger reporters Ivan Pereira and Howard Koplowitz for “Shots in the Dark,” a series on the unseen victims of violence on the streets of Queens.

Santucci and former Managing Editor Ian MacFarland captured first place for Best Multimedia Coverage for “Shots in the Dark,” which combined an interactive map of the crime scenes with audio slide shows, comments from readers, dramatic photographs and traditional newspaper reporting.

Santucci received third-place honors in the Photographer of the Year category, an award she received first place for in last year’s contest.

The Jamaica Times won second place in the Best Editorial Page category. Second-place honors also went to the Astoria Times for Photographic Excellence, showcasing images from Tropical Storm Irene and the celebration of gay marriage.

Santucci’s work was also noted in second-place awards given to the Astoria Times for the Best Art Photo and the Best Picture Story to the Flushing Times.

“These awards reflect the hard work and the talent of a dedicated staff,” said Roz Liston, the chain’s editor. “Every member of the newsroom contributed to these awards.”

The Jamaica Times received second place in the Best Education Coverage category for work by Pereira and Koplowitz. The two joined TimesLedger reporters Rebecca Henely and Rich Bockmann to win third place for the Best Crime Coverage Award for their work covering stories for the Forest Hills Ledger.

The newspaper received a third-place award for Best Special Section, produced by Managing Editor Colin DeVries, which recognized the fall 2011 Guide to Queens, a borough guide published twice a year. The Queens sales staff and production department were part of the project.

The company also received third-place kudos for having the Best Special Section — Advertising for its Queens 200 supplement.

Honorable mention was awarded to Anuta and his work in the Forest Hills Ledger for Best News Story on a series of failed attempts by a man to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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