Top honors for ads, art, investigative reporting, magazines

Reporter chain wins 17 awards in prestigious statewide competition

The reporters, graphic artists, and advertising account executives for the Hudson Reporter newspapers recently won 17 awards in the annual Better Newspaper Contest run annually by the New Jersey Press Association. The awards included a clean sweep for the company’s three lifestyle magazines. The publications competed with daily newspapers, weekly papers, and newsmagazines from around the state.
Members of the graphics and sales staffs won eight awards for work that appeared in the various Reporter papers and the Bayonne Community News. The staff writers won seven awards for investigative and feature stories, plus two awards for photography.
The newspaper chain, founded in 1983 in Hoboken, publishes eight newspapers: The Hoboken Reporter, Bayonne Community News, Weehawken Reporter, Jersey City Reporter, Secaucus Reporter, North Bergen Reporter (also serving Guttenberg), Union City Reporter, and the West New York Reporter.
The company also publishes the lifestyle magazines 07030 Hoboken, Jersey City Magazine, and Bayonne – Life on the Peninsula.
The winning stories and photographs appear not only in print, but on by town.
Co-publishers Dave Unger and Lucha Malato were gratified by the recognition accorded their work force.
“Once again, our talented and hard working editorial, sales, and graphic departments have brought recognition and accolades to our company, and we couldn’t be more pleased,” said Co-Publisher Lucha Malato.
“It’s always gratifying to see our staff recognized for their role in informing the public,” said Co-Publisher David Unger.

All three magazines win

The company’s three glossy lifestyle magazines swept the Best Niche Publication category, winning first, second, and third place awards.
The company’s newest magazine, Bayonne – Life on the Peninsula, was given first place by judges who said, “Life on the Peninsula indicates a clear sense of community, culture, and way of life.”
For “Solid editorial content, historical perspective, and trending issues,” Jersey City Magazine was awarded second place in the same category. Third place was awarded to Hoboken 07030, which the judges described as “packed with local information, history, and personalities.”
“I would like to acknowledge the superb work of our freelance writers and photographers and our in-house designers,” said Kate Rounds, editor-in-chief of the magazines. “Their creativity and professionalism can be seen on every page of these three outstanding publications.”

Reporting awards

In his first year writing for The Hoboken Reporter, Steven Rodas won two first place awards. He was given the prestigious Robert P. Kelly Award for new reporters, for a pair of stories: “Thrown out of council meeting, resident files suit” was written after the Hoboken City Council ejected a resident who was trying to publicly criticize the husband of Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “City lost most people in one zip code, but still no 9/11 memorial in Hoboken” detailed the ongoing process to establish a city remembrance for its lost residents. The NJPA judges commented, “great writing and reporting.”
He also won in the Coverage of Election & Politics category for three stories he submitted on the Hoboken school board race. The judges commented, “excellent submission.”
Rodas shared a first place award with Senior Staff Writer Al Sullivan in the very competitive Responsible Journalism – First Amendment Award category for a story that arose after the writers obtained a trove of emails indicating the Hoboken mayor’s husband may have encouraged the dismissal of the executive director of the local Housing Authority, under the headline, “Garcia may modify lawsuit against the city.”
“Holy cow,” commented the NJPA judges who conferred the award. “Way to hunt down the information and not back down to intimidation.” Their comment on intimidation was in reference to numerous correspondences the newspaper got from the mayor’s husband’s lawyers in relation to the stories.
The judges also declared “excellent” a story by Rodas, “Better safe than Sandy,” about Hoboken’s ongoing efforts to protect the city from the kind of flooding that devastated the municipality after the 2012 hurricane. That story won second place both in the reporting category and for the headline.
Rodas thanked his present and past mentors and employers in journalism, saying that in addition to the Reporter staff, “I’d like to thank Jim Hoffer and Daniela Royes of WABC TV, Frank Carlevatti of Fox 5 News, the editorial staff at The Jersey Journal, and NJCU professor Theta Pavis for being instrumental as I navigate the world of media.”
A first place award went to Al Sullivan and Managing Editor Gene Ritchings in the News Writing category for their story in the Jersey City Reporter, “In the eyes of the beholder.” The story revealed how a city official had taken a grant for litter control and used to hire mural artists to decorate various locations around Jersey City.
“Obviously this story is the result of a deep look at what appears to just be a neighborhood issue,” the NJPA judges said. “The reporters followed the dispute into a much larger venue, looked at the various angles of the mural funding, decision-makers at all levels, and the impact.”
Sullivan was awarded second place for Investigative Reporting for his exclusive, “JC schools may be 7,000 seats short.”
For his story “Montgomery Gardens 2.0” in the Interpretive Writing Category, Sullivan was awarded third place. The story explored the demolition of a derelict housing project to make way for new affordable housing, and raised questions about where the displaced long-term residents of the project would find new homes. “In-depth reporting on the demolition of a failed 1950s-era housing project,” was the judges’ comment.
Sullivan said, “Although many of these awards bear my name, in truth, the stories are part of a collaborative effort that includes the entire editorial staff, in-office discussions, polish added by editors, and a layout staff that helps give these stories a vibrant visual appeal. These are winning entries for every member of our staff.”
Editor-in-Chief Caren Matzner said, “Everyone works incredibly hard to put together publications that make a difference in readers’ lives in small and large ways. It’s harder than ever to get public information and fight the spin that comes from all sides in order to find out the truth, but our writers do it for hours each day, every day. Our graphic artists find creative ways to grab the attention of our very busy readers. We chose this profession because we care about our communities, and we take our mandate seriously.”
Anyone with questions or comments on the publications can email or contact the staff at the email addresses listed in the staff box.

Photography and photo features

The Reporter received two awards for photography.
Senior Graphic Artist and Photographer Terri Saulino Bish and Editor Caren Lissner were awarded second place for a news picture story in The Hoboken Reporter headlined “Hawk Flocks to Benny Tudino’s for Lunch.”
North Hudson reporter Art Schwartz’s news picture story “Red means GO” in The North Bergen Reporter received a third place award and praise from the judges, who commented, “Photographer well positioned to capture key moments in the ceremony.”

First place in graphics and sales

The Reporter’s sales and graphics teams scored first place, second place, and third place awards for excellence in graphics design and art work.
A first place Best Special Section Cover award went to Senior Graphics Artist Lisa M. Cuthbert for a story headlined “Tick…Tick…Tock” in The Bayonne Community News. The judges commented, “Who can resist kids on the cover? Love the title!” The special section was a Christmas pullout.
“It’s really fantastic that we won so many awards individually and collectively,” Cuthbert said. “It speaks volumes of the talent at The Hudson Reporter. Congratulations to all!”
First place was awarded Graphics Artist Alyssa Bredin and Advertising Manager Tish Kraszyk in the category Best External Promotion Piece or Media Kit for a “Women in Business” feature in The Secaucus Reporter. In the same category, Bredin and Kraszyk were awarded third place for “Destination Dining” in The Hoboken Reporter.
Bredin received the second place award for Best Use of Small Space in a color publication for a Weehawken Reporter ad for a freelance writer.
Third place for Best Restaurant/Entertainment Ad in color was awarded to Senior Graphics Artist Pasquale Spina and Account Executive Melissa Bridda for an advertisement for Helen’s Pizza in The Jersey City Reporter, with the judge’s recognizing the design’s “great flow, keeps readers’ attention from top to bottom.”
The Advertising Awards Celebration for retail and classified advertising and online advertising winners will be held on April 16. Press Night for editorial, online (editorial) and photography awards will be at The Manor in Hamilton on April 7.

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