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TimesLedger wins 2 awards in North American news contest

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The TimesLedger Newspapers won two awards in Suburban Newspapers of America’s annual editorial contest for 2009.

The newsroom staff of the chain of 14 Queens weeklies, based in Bayside, won first-place honors in the best continuing coverage category for its exhaustive reporting on the closing of three Queens hospitals within three months.

The series of stories about the shuttering of St. John’s Queens Hospital in Elmhurst, Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica and Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills traced the origins of their worsening financial problems, efforts by the communities to save the institutions and the ensuing threat of a health crisis in Queens.

“I think the award reflects the news staff’s commitment to cover the consequences for Queens from the loss of three major hospitals,” said Roz Liston, TimesLedger’s editor. “We thought that was an extremely important story for the borough and we expended a lot of our resources on it over a period of several months.”

TimesLedger’s editorial staff also won third-place honors in the best breaking news category for “Monserrate in limbo after arrest.”

The award was given for the chain’s coverage of the arrest of former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate on domestic abuse charges in December 2008 and its immediate aftermath.

“The entire staff jumped on the story about a state legislator being arrested in an assault case and covered all the bases in what turned out to be a major political development in Queens,” Liston said.

Both awards were given in Class D for non-dailies with more than 37,500 circulation located within North America.

SNA receives thousands of entries every year for its editorial contest. The contest recognizes editorial excellence.

TimesLedger belongs to Community Newspaper Group, which is a subsidiary of News Corp.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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