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TimesLedger wins 10 Suburban Newspaper awards

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Suburban Newspapers of America is a non-profit trade association serving the suburban and community newspaper industry. Its members include more than 2,000 newspapers published across North America with a combined total circulation exceeding 22 million.Competing against other SNA members, the TimesLedger received honors in a variety of categories, including election coverage, photojournalism and sports reporting. The diversity of recognition, Publisher Steve Blank said, was a testament to the high quality of journalism practiced in the TimesLedger newsroom."It says we're doing an excellent job serving the communities we cover in every aspect," Blank said. "It's really the full gamut of what a good newspaper should be doing."Blank also pointed out that the TimesLedger competed extremely well against papers owned by some of the largest newspaper companies in the country.Besides the first place honors, the TimesLedger staff took home six second and third place awards. The three second place awards were for local election coverage, photojournalism and Best News Series. Rounding out the honors were three third place awards - for Best Feature Series, another Best News Series and Best Sports Section. The 10 awards in 2005 bring the TimesLedger's four-year total awards from SNA to 30. The paper netted five SNA awards in 2004, 10 in 2003 and five in 2002.The award for Best Special Section perhaps best embodied the overall strength of the staff at the TimesLedger. The section, entitled "The Diverse Cultures of Queens," was published on April 14 and featured a number of articles about the lives of the myriad ethnic groups comprising Queens' population. One of these stories, a feature by Assistant Managing Editor Rashmi Vaish called "The Borough of Babel," also won first prize for Best Feature.The story, a look at the evolving demographics of the nation's most ethnically diverse county, was interspersed with Vaish's personal impressions of Queens. Vaish, who came to the United States in 2002 from India, said she was very honored by the award."It is the first time I've won anything for something I've written," she said. Vaish also pointed to the award for the special section as emblematic of the hard work and good journalism by the TimesLedger staff. The section, she said, required good reporting and research from the staff reporters.The award-winning story in the best breaking news category was about an elderly Rego Park man killed while crossing the thoroughfare known as the Boulevard of Death in Queens and was written by Zach Patberg. The in-depth reporting award was won by former TimesLedger reporter Dustin Brown for a series of eight stories plus sidebars that he wrote about the immigrant journey from Ecuador to Queens. The series was based on eight months of reporting from both Queens and Ecuador.In second place, the Forest Hills Ledger won for its election coverage of state and congressional races. Photo Editor Andrew Uloza took second-place for his photo coverage of the Queens Sikh community celebrating 400 years of the holy book that is the basis for their religion.Patberg also won a second place honor for a series of news stories he wrote on a drunk driving accident in Flushing in which an 11-year old boy was killed and his 12-year old friend injured that became the catalyst for the passage of a tougher DWI law in Albany. In third place in the same Best News Series category, several TimesLedger staffers took honors for their extensive coverage of a savage bat attack on a black man in a predominantly white neighborhood in Queens. Matthew Monks received a third-place award for Best Feature Series on a homeless man in Astoria who had his writing published in Esquire Magazine. The TimesLedger sports staff, led by Sports Editor Dylan Butler and reporter Mitch Abramson, took third place for Best Sports Section.Reach Reporter Craig Giammona at news@timesleder.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext. 146.

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