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Reporter rocks newspaper contest with 10 awards

Courtesy illustration

The New York Press Association (NYPA) honored your hometown newspaper this past weekend with 10 awards for editorial excellence.

The association’s “Better Newspaper Contest” fielded nearly 3,000 entries from 163 newspapers across the state, and were judged by the Wisconsin Press Association. The prizes were awarded at NYPA’s spring conference in Albany on April 5-6.

The awards the Reporter brought home to the Island from upstate were across the board, for news and feature articles, columns, photography and our front pages.

Editor Ambrose Clancy and staffer Charity Robey took first and second places for feature writing — what NYPA described as the most competitive category in the contest.

Mr. Clancy’s look at the history of slavery at Sylvester Manor topped all entries in the Reporter’s circulation division. The judges noted that the “descriptive lede [newspaper speak for the opening sentence or paragraph] drew us in, telling of a night spent in slaves’ living quarters in this old mansion. The writer crafted a strong story of a part of Shelter Island in the 17th century and beyond.”

An etching of a sailing ship on an attic beam at Sylvester Manor, made sometime in the 1830s by William Pharaoh, an indentured boy who lived there.

Second place went to Ms. Robey for her profile of Alex Olinkiewicz, with the judges noting the skill with which she presented “a young man with Asperger’s syndrome, as he copes with the world around him.”

Ms. Robey was also awarded honorable mention in the Writer of the Year category, for the ability, the judges said, to take the reader “to the actual location of her stories. We felt we were in the deer stand with her, on the Shelter Island shoreline, at the grill or in the Zabel’s living room.”

Charity Robey

Annabelle Woodward, who came to the Reporter last summer as an intern, won two awards for her reporting and writing. Ms. Woodward took second place for the Coverage of Religion category for a three-part series on the Island’s most populous religious congregations.

“The writer’s touch for prose and attention to detail serves the community and the religious leaders well,” the judges wrote. “The writer clearly did her due diligence in historical research and in so doing portrayed the great importance these congregations hold to the higher ideals of humanity within the community.”

But Ms. Woodard wasn’t finished with award-winning work, taking a second place in the News Story division for a report on underage drinking and the securing of fake I.D.’s here.


Eleanor P. Labrozzi took first place for Feature Photography for a remarkable cover photo from last March of a deckhand at North Ferry clearing slush and ice from the deck in the middle of a storm.

“This evokes a wonderful mood of a ‘dark and stormy night,’” the judges said, describing this classic photograph.


Reporter photographer Beverlea Walz was awarded an honorable mention in the same category for her iconic summer image of three girls doing handstands on a picnic table at Crescent Beach. The judges summed up her photograph simply and perfectly: “Pure joy!”


Mr. Clancy was awarded second place in the Best Columns category. The judges praised his “vivid” style and his “subject matter is the stuff of life and the imagination. He makes us want to subscribe to his newspaper.”

The Reporter’s editor also won third place in the Coverage of Crime category for a series of articles about the Reverend Canon Paul Wancura case that stunned the Island.

“All the pieces,” the judges wrote, “put together to depict the home invasion — the hospitalization, the death, the services and the impact on the community — are all strongly written … and created emotions.”


And finally, the face that the Reporter presents to its readers every Thursday — the front page put together by Mr. Clancy and Art Director Judy Clempner — was honored by the press association with second place in its division.

“Beautifully designed front pages,” the judges said. “Great use of photos. Headlines are perfect. This clean, crisp paper draws you in with a beautifully organized layout.”

Congratulations to all for these major achievements.

And most of all, thanks to the Reporter’s readers and advertisers, who support and inspire us, week in and week out.