The Express News Group — with four weekly community newspapers, a series of monthly lifestyle magazines and the most popular news website on the East End — emerged from a large field of newspapers across New York State to win a total of 47 awards, more than any other news organization, at the annual New York Press Association convention in Saratoga Springs over the weekend.
In NYPA’s Better Newspaper Contest, The Sag Harbor Express took home the prestigious Stuart C. Dorman Award for Editorial Excellence for a record seventh time, and won a first place in the Past Presidents Award for General Excellence category, which recognizes outstanding work across all aspects of a newspaper’s production and design.
The Southampton Press Eastern and Western editions, The East Hampton Press, and The Express Magazine all won multiple awards across all categories of editorial, advertising and design.
“I think I would like working at this paper,” a judge from the Nebraska Press Association, which judged this year’s awards, said in a statement about The East Hampton Press, which won a first-place award for Best Front Page. “Awesome coverage of local issues. Good, clean, modern design that complements local news. Eye-catching images and teasers above the masthead that invite readers inside.”
Annette Hinkle, the Express News Group’s Arts & Living editor, was named NYPA’s Writer of the Year for 2021. Meanwhile, her arts sections swept the Coverage of the Arts category, with The East Hampton Press taking home top honors and the other three taking second, third and honorable mention.
“Hinkle brings arts to life without the over-glorified hyperbole that many writers on this beat fall victim to,” judges said. “Her work covered a broad spectrum of art that dealt with social issues as well as entertainment The stories flow smoothly, often bolstered by excellent illustrations.”
“Annette is an incredibly talented writer and is deeply connected to the East End arts community, so this is a well-earned award that is so deserved,” Express News Group Co-Publisher Gavin Menu said.
He added, “In my opinion, our staff combined is the best in the business. We strive to produce the best and most-trusted community journalism possible at a time when it’s more needed than ever, and we’re honored to do it on the East End of Long Island in front of the incredible communities we serve.”
Led by Photo Editor Dana Shaw, the Express News Group swept the competitive Photographic Excellence category, with the Western Edition of The Southampton Press taking top honors. Shaw also won a first-place award for Best Feature Photo, as did longtime Sag Harbor Express photographer Michael Heller in a separate division.
Heller, who retired from the company last week, won an additional first-place award for Best Picture Story, highlighting a series of photographs and stories about local fisherman.
Sports Editor Drew Budd won first place for Best Sports Coverage in The East Hampton Press, with judges saying that “there are some great stories here, accompanied by amazing photos.” Staff writer Cailin Riley won a pair of sports feature awards and finished third in the Sports Writer of the Year judging.
The company’s design team, led by production managers Sara Mannino Kent and Kerri Cunningham, finished with a second-place award for Overall Design Excellence, while the advertising department won second- and third-place awards for Advertising Excellence.
“In every department, we’ve got talented, committed people who understand the important responsibility we have to our community,” Joseph Shaw, executive editor at the Express News Group, said. “It’s really remarkable to work with such an amazing group — and it’s nice to see their efforts recognized by our peers.”
Deputy Managing Editor Brendan O’Reilly and Staff Writer Michael Wright won first place in the Best News Story category for their reporting on a speech on the House floor by U.S. Congressman Lee Zeldin in the hours following the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Their coverage was “a grand and comprehensive examination of a congressional representative’s stance on the January 6 Capitol riot and the November 2020 election outcome,” the judges said, adding, “This is a substantive example of pure journalism.”
The Express Magazine, led by Co-Publisher Kathryn G. Menu and designer Bryan Boyhan, was the clear winner among glossy publications and was named by judges as the Best Magazine in New York State. The magazine’s Holiday Book edition won first place for Best Special Section Advertising.
“This magazine uses space to highlight its great photography — eye-catching, captivating,” judges said. “Large photos with interesting typography lead to timely topics such as farming on the island, autumn recipes, artists’ inspiration or clams. Very readable. Wonderful cover photography.”
Express News Group writers won awards across an assortment of categories. Features Editor Michelle Trauring won two first-place awards in the competitive Feature Story contest, while Boyhan and Desirée Keegan won second and third place, respectively.
The Southampton Press Eastern Edition won a first-place award for Best Coverage of Health, Healthcare & Science, with Trauring and Keegan teaming up with Wright on what judges said were “a solid package of stories, with good reporting and writing.”
Carlos Sandoval won a first-place award for Best Column in The East Hampton Press, and Stephen J. Kotz won a second-place award for Best News Story.
Newspaper of the Year, won last year by the Eastern Edition of The Southampton Press, and awarded every year to the newspaper with the most total contest points, went to The Highlands Current, a nonprofit news organization based in Cold Spring.
The Express News Group combined finished with 485 contest points, followed by Schneps Media (365 points), which includes the Southampton-based Dan’s Papers; Herald Community Newspapers from Nassau County (250); and the Times Review Media Group (210), which publishes The Shelter Island Reporter, The Suffolk Times and The Riverhead News-Review.
One fine body…