Sportswriter Jim Hague, graphic artists Jennifer Merrick and Susan Grzybowski, and saleswoman Marybeth Ponik also won awards.
The NJPA's "Better Newspaper Contest" is entered by dozens of weekly and daily newspapers from around the state each year. The winners are announced each February.The highest weekly newswriting honor in the state went to Jennemann, who started writing for the Reporter chain as an editorial assistant in September, 2000 and was soon promoted to Hoboken beat reporter. The Hudson Reporter chain owns the Hoboken Reporter, Bayonne Community News, Hudson Current, Jersey City Reporter, North Bergen Reporter, Secaucus Reporter, Union City Reporter, West New York Reporter, and Weehawken Reporter.
Jennemann had no journalism experience when he took a job at the chain, but soon dedicated himself to understanding the exhaustive news issues in politically heated Hoboken. He has won awards for investigative reporting over the past several years.
The Reporter chain nominated Jennemann for Journalist of the Year by submitting 10 of his articles from 2004 and a nominating letter from Editor-in-Chief Caren Lissner. Only one daily and one weekly reporter are chosen for the award each year. They are chosen on the basis of journalistic integrity, versatility, news gathering and writing abilities, and impact on the community.
"While it's certainly satisfying to be recognized by my peers," Jennemann said last week, "what makes this award the most rewarding is that these stories, which were the culmination so much hard work by so many people, made a positive impact on a community that I genuinely care about."
Besides working for the paper, Jennemann served as an informal volunteer advisor to Hoboken High School's school newspaper last year, and started teaching a journalism class there in the mornings this year.
Jennemann will receive his award in front of scores of journalists from throughout the state at the NJPA awards banquet on April 21 in Trenton.
Additionally, it was announced last week that sportswriter Jim Hague won second place in the sportswriting category in the competition. Hague, who writes the sports section for the chain, was required to submit three sports columns in the category of "Sports Writing Portfolio."
Hague has covered sports for the Reporter since 1991 and has covered sports in Hudson County since 1985. He is also the beat reporter for Weehawken and North Bergen.
Hague also writes sports for the Associated Press and the Newark Star-Ledger and has been a recipient of previous awards from the New Jersey Press Association and the North Jersey Press Club.
"Although I do write for other papers and associations, I always find my work at the Hudson Reporter to be my proudest," said Hague, who has written a book, "Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man," about former heavyweight champion James J. Braddock, to be released in April.
Like Hague, Jennemann also won a specific newswriting honor - second place in the very competitive "Responsible Journalism/Public Service" category for stories he wrote on the Hoboken Housing Authority's change in executive director last year.
Reporter chain Co-Publisher Lucha Malato said, "Tom and Jim are both longtime, dedicated journalists for the Hudson Reporter. They work very hard and are very deserving of this honor. I am proud to have them on the staff."
Three years ago, reporter Al Sullivan, who currently covers Bayonne and writes a political column for the chain, won weekly Journalist of the Year.
Advertising, graphics awards The graphics and advertising departments also won awards for two advertisements they designed for the Bayonne Community News, a newspaper acquired by the Reporter chain last year.
An advertisement for "Nuance by Nan" designed by Art Director Jennifer Merrick won first place in the "Best Single Ad, black and white, smaller than 16-inches" category. Mary Beth Ponik was the sales representative.
Susan Grzybowski won third place in the "Best Single Ad - color" category for designing the "Bayonne Community Bank: Santa Claus" ad. Ponik was again the sales representative for that ad.
The winners will be honored at a statewide advertising conference on April 8 at the Ocean Spa and Resort in Long Branch.
Merrick said, "I am extremely proud of the progress we are making with the Bayonne Community News and look forward to winning more awards representing our hometown advertisers."
Reporter Co-Publisher David Unger said of the advertising awards, "The Bayonne Community News and the Hudson Reporter staff started working together only one short year ago. These awards show their dedication to producing a quality newspaper for the city of Bayonne. I'm proud of the winners and the entire Bayonne Community News and Hudson Reporter staff."