Hudson Reporter Senior Staff Writer Al Sullivan, staff writer Amanda Palasciano, and Senior Graphic Artist Lisa M. Cuthbert will pick up awards on May 23 at the Garden State Journalists Association’s 66th Annual Journalism Awards Dinner at The Chart House in Weehawken.
Each year, the association’s Memorial Journalism Awards recognize the year’s best in print and broadcast journalism. This year’s awards are for the year 2012.
The annual contest is open to all reporters, editors, graphic artists and photographers (print, online and broadcast) who live, work in, or produce stories about New Jersey.
The Reporter newspaper chain, with offices in Hoboken and Bayonne, publishes eight newspapers: The Hoboken Reporter, Bayonne Community News, Weehawken Reporter, Jersey City Reporter, Secaucus Reporter, North Bergen Reporter, Union City Reporter, and theWest New York Reporter. The company also publishes Jersey City Magazine and 07030, which focuses on life in Hoboken.
Online versions of the newspapers appear at www.hudsonreporter.com.
Sullivan, whose writing appears primarily in the Bayonne Community News, won awards in three different categories.
His story “Code Heart,” an account of how the cardiac unit at Bayonne Medical Center saved the life of a Bayonne man who, without prior symptoms, suffered a massive heart attack and had to be revived three times, was awarded first place in the Science/Health/Educational/Medical category.
“This story all but wrote itself,” Sullivan said. “I merely followed the trail of what he did and what the doctors did and the story came out well.”
Sullivan was awarded second place for his story “Almost Homeless” in the General News category, which detailed the impact of the economic recession on one resident of Bayonne and her frustration at seeking help from local and Hudson County officials.
“ ‘Almost Homeless’ ” evolved out an effort by me to help someone I knew who had become homeless,” Sullivan revealed, “and to show all the obstacles they had to go through to deal with the Hudson County bureaucracy.”
In the Spot News category, “Recovery Begins,” his story about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the city of Bayonne, was awarded honorable mention.
“The award for this story was really won by the Hudson Reporter,” Sullivan said, “made possible by our ability to react to the storm and set up our operations in a remote location because our office in Hoboken was dark.”
Investigative stories make things happen
Amanda Palasciano won two awards for investigate reporting for stories in the Hoboken Reporter.
Palasciano wrote “Dry Dock Property For Sale?,” a story about various proposals for the Hoboken waterfront, some of which local residents were largely unaware. Just days after the story ran, NJ Transit sent a letter to Mayor Dawn Zimmer saying that the transit agency was no longer pursuing a purchase of Dry Dock. City officials had sought a response from the agency for months, but they gave one only after the story ran.
The story was awarded first place in the Investigative Reporting category.
Palasciano’s other story – actually a series of two stories – also made a big impact. “Follow The Money” focused on Councilman Michael Russo’s campaign finance practices, and arose from questions in a letter to the editor of the Reporter about why Russo never filed his campaign finance forms during his 2008 race. Since the questions were factual, Palasciano pushed Russo to answer them and did research into campaign financing. As a result of the two stories that ran regarding the issue, Russo filed all the required forms.
“Investigative reporting isn't something I would have ever thought I would get an award for, let alone two,” said Palasciano when she learned of the awards. “I do know, though, that when you are passionate about figuring something out, the writing takes on a life of its own. I’m really stoked about this award, and feel like it really validates the fact that hard work pays off. Oh, and I’d like to thank my mom for passing on her innate detective skills.”
Editor in Chief Caren Matzner complimented the staffers on their recognition. “The stories and artwork that won really show the diverse talents of our staff. Several of the stories actually made something happen that was in the public interest, which is what journalism should do when it can. Often, it takes the public to read the stories and write letters or react, as well. A community newspaper works best when its readers are working with it, giving us ideas and following up with letters drawing attention to a story that ran.”
Senior Graphic Artist Lisa M. Cuthbert won awards in two categories.
“This is the first time I entered the Garden State Journalists Association contest,” she said, “so I’m honored and thrilled to have won these awards.”
In the Front Page Layout category, her cover designs for the all-county edition of the Hudson Reporter in the wake of Hurricane Sandy on Nov. 11 and for the Bayonne Community News of Nov. 7 were awarded first and second place, respectively.
Her design for “Up in Smoke,” a Jersey City Magazine article about the impending loss of the iconic smokestacks on the downtown Powerhouse building, won First Place in the Feature Story Layout category.
Co-Publisher Lucha Malato congratulated the award winners. “The Hudson Reporter staff all work hard and it is good to see them appreciated by their contemporaries,” she said.