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THE COURIER/Photo by Tonia N. Cimino
THE COURIER/Photo by Tonia N. Cimino
Our award-winning team: Terence M. Cullen, Cristabelle Tumola, Maggie Hayes and Melissa Chan.

The Queens Courier is breaking news – and breaking barriers.

Not only are we the first-place winners of the New York Press Association’s (NYPA) Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence two years in a row, but our staff of talented writers and artists walked away with numerous other accolades.

Last year, Melissa Chan set the bar by winning third place Rookie Reporter of the Year.

This year, her peers Maggie Hayes and Terence Cullen were also given the distinctive honor, beating out slews of writers state-wide.

Maggie, who covers all of southeast and southwest Queens, and is the editor of our North Shore Towers Courier, was awarded third place for her “excellent portfolio of stories.”

Of her work, the judges said, “Maggie covered each subject with skill and professionalism, using sources to tell the story . . . with a writing style that really works.”

Terence, who covers south Queens and is editor of our Queensborough magazine, blew away the NYPA staff by not only winning first place Rookie of the Year, but also first place Sports Writer of the Year.

NYPA Executive Director Michelle Rea said in her time with the organization, she had never seen such a feat.

“We are impressed by this reporter’s coverage of several challenging stories,” the judges said of Terence. “His reporting style and skills were excellent. This is a writer who seems to tackle any subject with ease and produces readable, well-sourced stories.”

Alexa Altman, our former LIC editor, won second place for Writer of the Year for her “wide variety of stories with strong imagery and a good grasp of language.”

For our coverage of Sandy and other news events throughout the year, we won first place Best In-Depth Reporting and second place Best Spot News Coverage.

“This newspaper does a lot for its community,” the judges said. “This paper saw its job as not just the storyteller of the storm, but the informer as well, and subsequently, by year’s end, the upstanding citizen.”

Our talented staff also took home awards for Best Special Section Advertising and a first-place win for Best Special Section Cover.

And our website, qns.com – your source for breaking news – was classified by judges as “well organized and relevant,” in its second place win for Best Newspaper Website, thanks to the efforts of all, especially web editor Cristabelle Tumola.

“I am so proud of our team,” said Courier co-publisher Joshua Schneps. “They truly deserve to be recognized for their excellence, hard work and dedication. The awards represented both team and individual accomplishments in every part of the business.”

As we forge ahead, The Queens Courier will remain true to our motto, “We’re all about you.” We will, as the NYPA judges remarked, continue to do our community proud.

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