The Riverdale Press earned its place among more than 160 competing daily and weekly newspapers, picking up 10 awards from the New York Press Association’s 2018 Better Newspaper Contest in Albany last weekend.
The paper’s biggest award was a second-place finish for the Past Presidents’ Award for General Newspaper Excellence. Newspapers are judged from a number of criteria including news coverage, use of pictures and artwork, community engagement, editorial page, front page, and graphic design and typography, among other factors.
Judges — who were members of the Wisconsin Press Association — admitted that choosing a winner between The Press and eventual first place The East Hampton Press was difficult, and ultimately came down to photos.
“While (The Riverdale Press) had good photos, the winning entry was just a few strokes better in that area,” the judges said.
The Press also maintained its place as one of the best-designed newspapers in New York, although it didn’t win first place this year. Instead editor Michael Hinman and publisher emeritus Richard Stein — who contributes regular front-page designs — had to settle for second place behind The Southampton Press. Judges commended the “clean overall design” of the paper, including its “strong editorial page design, headline styles and overall typography.”
Hinman himself earned two awards when it came to the newspaper’s Opinion page. He won second place in editorial writing, covering topics such as the Community Board 8 chair’s attack on those who choose to talk to reporters, term limits on community board members and expansion efforts by the Hebrew Home at Riverdale.
Hinman also earned an honorable mention for column writing (bylined opinion pieces) ranging in topics from newspaper oversight of government (relating to CB8), physical threats against journalists and a celebration of his father’s 85th birthday.
“Talented in a variety of topics, but also writing styles,” judges said about Hinman’s columns. “From easy reading, to more informative.”
Several reporters from the newsroom — including Zak Kostro, Tiffany Moustakas, former intern Aaron Mayorga and Hinman — earned third place for best news story with “a well-written examination of the human cost of urban development and the sometimes impossible fight against it” centered on a small neighborhood inside Kingsbridge Heights that could be targeted for higher-density construction because of existing zoning.
Kostro won an honorable mention in the same category for his coverage of K Grill restaurant’s lawsuit over kosher pricing ahead of the Riverdale Avenue restaurant’s closing.
Kostro and Hinman both won third place for coverage of elections and politics for their work on the state senate primary that saw Alessandra Biaggi defeat longtime controversial senator Jeffrey Klein.
“The newspaper touched the major basis of election/campaign coverage, and did so in a way that was readable and generally easy to follow,” judges said. “And though it doesn’t affect the judging, the pages were well-designed, easy to navigate and well-illustrated.”
Moustakas and photo editor Julius Constantine Motal were awarded third place for their coverage of the arts. That entry included a number of pieces, including a photography exhibit at An Beal Bocht Café, an exhibit about Palestinian life in Bethlehem, and a photo series from a pair of journalists who covered (and were later killed) covering war zones.
Former reporter Simone Johnson also won two awards. She earned a third place for her coverage of education and an honorable mention for her feature story on IN-Tech’s retiring art teacher Bruno Santini.
More than 2,740 entries were considered in this year’s awards, and the 10 wins by The Riverdale Press joined 20 wins from the Herald Community Newspapers chain on Long Island, all of which are owned by Richner Communications.