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TimesLedger captures 27 journalism awards

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The 16 Queens weeklies under the TimesLedger banner received high praise for coverage in areas ranging from in-depth reporting and feature writing to crime and political reporting. The papers also won four awards for photography and one for advertising. The annual contest's results, which were announced at last weekend's NYPA spring conference in Albany, were based on more than 4,000 entries from nearly 200 papers statewide."I'm thrilled to get recognition for producing what I know has been quality journalism," TimesLedger Publisher Steve Blank said. "It took the hard work of a lot of talented people who share the commitment to provide the best possible coverage for the Queens community."The Jamaica Times won a first place Past Presidents' General Excellence Award, with judges commenting on the paper's "great hard-news coverage."Another southeast Queens edition, the Laurelton Times, took first place in coverage of crime, police and courts. Woodside Times reporter James DeWeese also earned first place for best news story for his follow-up piece on three young immigrant sisters who were severely injured in a fire that also took both their parents. Judges cited his "tight writing, good organization and great news judgment." Flushing Times reporter Cynthia Koons took first place for election coverage, with judges commenting it was "obvious that an immense amount of work was expended on local coverage." "I feel very fortunate as a reporter to have been able to cover such a suspenseful race with the right combination of editorial direction and autonomy," Koons said.Other first place finishes went to the Forest Hills Ledger for editorials and to Whitestone Times photographer Vic Nicastro for a spot news photo of a dramatic car accident scene. The Flushing Times won a second place general excellence award. Continuing the chain's crime and courts sweep, the Glen Oaks Ledger and the Ridgewood Ledger both won second place, with judges citing the work of Ridgewood reporter Matthew Monks and Koons. The Queens Village Times took third place for crime coverage."It's unfortunate you have so much crime...but it's fortunate you cover it so well," judges commented.For spot news coverage, DeWeese's report of an escaped circus tiger and Bayside Times reporter Sophia Chang's story of a gruesome murder also won second place accolades. Reporter Michael Morton won second place for a Glen Oaks Ledger feature photo of a woman grimacing over a flu shot as well as second place for his in-depth look at how the Jamaica AirTrain development has affected the area's economic growth. Reporter Courtney Dentch took second place prizes for her news story about a wife's frustrating search for her husband and a feature story on a disabled student's quest for a diploma. For a seven-part series that examined immigration between Ecuador and Queens, former reporter Dustin Brown took home a red ribbon for in-depth reporting.Both the Bayside Times and Forest Hills Ledger won second place prizes for best editorial page, and the Queens Village Times took second place for coverage of local government. The Glen Oaks Ledger was recognized with a third-place award for its education coverage. Dentch won third place awards for her Jamaica Times in-depth reporting on crime and a feature photo of a grieving family in the Fresh Meadows Times. Sports editor Dylan Butler won third place for columns on high school sports, and photography editor Andrew Uloza captured third place for a spot news photo of a firefighter reflecting on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.Morton, who alone landed a total of three individual awards and five other coverage awards, also placed third in the feature category for a story about a dying cancer victim enjoying one last classical concert.Though he described his job as stressful, Morton attributed part of his journalism success to TimesLedger's willingness to "let me develop my own ideas and run with a wide variety of stories."TimesLedger's art department also snagged a third place advertising award for a Bayside Times large space ad.

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