Fire Island News Wins State and Regional Journalism Awards

While all professional fields have been plagued by setbacks during the pandemic, journalists had no choice but to do their jobs, and at such a critical time in history it was that much more needed.New York Press Association (NYPA) and Long Island Press Club (PCLI) recognized these truths, and that all journalism awards bestowed over the past year were hard won.Fire Island News proudly took home a total of five awards between the two organizations, two with NYPA and three with LIPC. In alphabetical order by last name of lead contributor, they are as follows:Joey Macellaro, First Place Large Space Ad, NYPA 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, “CJ’s Home of the Rocket Fuel.” Only vetted for acceptance into the NYPA in 2019, this first place recognition in such a coveted awards category is a big win for Fire Island News, and such a timely one as CJ’s celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.“Simple message. Great use of white space” wrote the NYPA awarding judge. “Cool logo. Makes me want to go and have a drink!”This is Joey’s first win for Fire Island News.Shoshanna McCollum and Emma Boskovski, Second Place Best Headline, PCLI Media Awards, “Diamonds on the Souls of Our Shores: The Story of Fire Island Sand.” Early in 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic had been confirmed in the U.S., reporter Emma Boskovski offered to write an off-season article while on break from SUNY Geneseo between semesters. The end result was the January 16, 2020 article celebrating the rich geological qualities of Fire Island’s sand. As editor, McCollum assigned the title – however contest judges do not bestow headline awards without the article itself being strong enough to support it.This is the second McCollum/Boskovski collaboration to secure an award for Fire Island News in the headline category. This is also the third Media Award Emma has secured for Fire Island News.Laura Schmidt, First Place, Government and Politics Narrative Category, PCLI Media Awards, “Islip Explores Outsourcing Atlantique Marina Operations.” Seven months before other media sources were writing about Town of Islip’s awarding of a contract to manage Atlantique Marina to two private companies, reporter Laura Schmidt sounded the warning alarm that it was going to happen. She even pitched the idea to this editor. While it was submitted between issues, the editorial team recognized the importance of her article, and posted it on the FINS website as a Special Report on July 28, 2020.This is Schmidt’s first win for Fire Island News and our second award in the Government and Politics category.Lauren Stevens and Pamela Gurman, First Place, Best Front Page Newspaper Layout, Visual Category, “After the Storm … Here Comes the Sun.” The brilliant hand coloring illustrations that grace our publication delight the eye, give readers a moment of respite between news stories, and during the pandemic served another important purpose. Last year our first issue for 2020 was pushed back to July 2020, and budgetary limitations did not permit color pages initially. However when FINS Design Director Pam Gurman of Fat Cat Graphics and this editor saw Lauren’s first illustration for the season, we knew we had found our cover, for it was a color cover after all. Readers could color it in as they saw fit, and some of them did, and then they sent us photos of what their final product looked like. The cover was interactive and a message of hope when readers needed it most.This is Pam Gurman’s third win in this category collaborating with another individual.This is also the third illustration-based award Lauren Stevens has brought to Fire Island News since she became a contributor in 2018.One of those three wins happened late last August, after NYPA finally held their Better Newspaper Award ceremony virtually after multiple postponements and after Fire Island News had finished our 2020 newspaper-publishing season. Lauren received honorable mention in the illustration category for “Let’s go to the NAUTICAL MUSEUM” illustration, published on July 19, 2019.“Great idea and excellent illustration,” wrote the awarding NYPA judge.” I would like to print this out and color it myself! Very creative idea.”Also congratulations to Fire Island News columnists Timothy Bolger and Karl Grossman for their PCLI wins for contributions to other Long Island publications. Bolger won Second Place in the Editorial/Commentary category for his essay in the Long Island Press, “Media Blaming: Not a Coronavirus Cure.” Karl Grossman won Third Place in the same category for his “Give Light and the People Will Find Their Own Way,” which was syndicated in multiple Long Island publications.