Fire Island News Takes Home Two with NYPA Better Newspaper Competition

Photo by James Hardy.

Better Newspaper Awards were announced the New York Press Association (NYPA) Spring Conference in Albany earlier this month, with Fire Island News winning two trophies within prestigious editorial categories.

Joining our publication only last summer, Christopher Verga won Second Place recognition in the Sports Feature Article category for “The Fat Tire Bike Ride on Fire Island,” published September 2, 2022.

“Unique story, style and writing made me feel like I was there on the fat tire bikes,” wrote NYPA Executive Director Michelle Rea in the Awards Conference directory. “Short and sweet, but a very succinct and interesting story. Felt like a combination of a travel, sports, and interest piece.”

Author of six books with Arcadia Publishing and History Professor with Suffolk Country Community College as well as John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Verga joined the Fire Island News team as our history columnist. Being the multi-faceted individual that he is, soon Chris was contributing articles on other subject, including fat tire bike riding, as he is an enthusiast of the sport.

Fire Island News writers Joey Macellaro, Robert Levine, Nicole Cardone, Hannah Flynn, Samantha Salerno and Shoshanna McCollum also share a First Place NYPA Better Newspaper award for their contributions in the Best Obituaries category for 2022.   

“We should all be so lucky to have an obit section like this,” the Conference directory reads. “It shouts community and caring and honor for the lives of all who have died. It says ‘This person was important to our community.’ Each is a gem, capturing the specialness, the uniqueness of each person. They don’t need to be long. They tell the story of the person so well because each detail, anecdote and quote is purposeful, meaningful and personal. So lovely. So honorable. A privilege to read them.”

The contributing writers included a broad spectrum of voices from rookie reporters to veteran columnists with this publication. This recognition also further celebrates the lives of beloved individuals lost across the Fire Island communities in 2022. The excellent page design work of Pamela Gurman and meticulous eye of Managing Editor Lorna Luniewski helped clinch the winning of this important award, and accepting it is our honor and privilege.

New York Press Association members compete against their peers in the annual Better Newspaper Contest on a statewide basis. The contest groups papers of similar size and compares them against one another in categories such as news, photography, and advertising. With approximately 4,000 entries each year, judging of the annual contest is conducted by members of a fellow state press association that rotates on a random basis.

Fire Island News was accepted into NYPA membership in 2018, becoming the only Fire Island based publication to satisfy their vetting criteria to date.