The Advertiser-News and its eight sister publications published by Straus News won 15 awards in the National Newspaper Association’s 2022 Better Newspaper Contest.
The Advertiser-News article “The side hustle is back,” by reporter Becca Tucker, took first place for Best Non-Profile Feature Story. Judges said the story about locals picking up second jobs post-pandemic was “enjoyable, educational and relatable for many, no doubt.”
“The side hustle is back” was also awarded second place for Best Informational Graphic, for its accompanying artwork by director of design Christina Scotti.
Tucker’s article “Latest front in the culture wars: school library books,” also published in Advertiser-News, took first place for Best Education Story and second place for the Freedom of Information Award, which recognizes reporting efforts through the use of Freedom of Information Act requests. Tucker’s winning article explored local book-banning efforts.
“An important subject well handled that puts an important focus on a troubling societal problem today,” said contest judges. “Spotlights how good journalism can impact a significant issue in need of reversal of the trend.”
The Advertiser-News article “Just how dirty is your dirt?” by reporter Jessica Cohen took first place for Best Environmental Story.
“Shoplifting in the era of heavy surveillance,” a story by Tucker about locals stealing from self-checkout, took first place in the Best Business Story category for the Advertiser-News.
“The era of accelerated road rage,” also by Tucker, took second place for Best Profile Feature Story, for the Advertiser-News. Scotti’s accompanying graphics for this story took third place for Best Informational Graphic.
The Sparta Independent took second place for Best Reporting on Local Government for its warehouse development coverage by reporters Becca Tucker, Ginny Privitar and Mike Zummo.
“The Sparta Independent performed a valuable watchdog of government, explaining both the new policy and the public alarm over a proposed mega-warehouse,” the judges said. “Way to stick with it.”
The Warwick Advertiser took first place for Best Localized National Story. Tucker’s winning article examined the race for sheriff in Orange County, N.Y., and the candidates’ ties to the Orange County Oath Keepers, a militia group, and Orange Strong, a new group formed under the same leadership.
“Truly some very gutsy reporting,” the judges said. “Stories like this remind your readers why newspapers continue to play an important role in their lives.”
The Advertiser-News’ COVID-19 coverage by reporter Molly Colgan took third place in the Communication in Crisis category. The winning articles included a piece about New Jersey’s largest COVID outbreak at Woodland Behavioral, updates on the testing shortage and a story about local COVID-19 long haulers.
The Advertiser-News article exploring the substitute teacher shortage, “Substitutes for Substitutes,” also by Colgan, took third place for Best Education Story.
The Advertiser-News story “A new generation of indie bookstores - and readers - emerges post-pandemic,” by Tucker, took third place for Best Feature Story.
The Warwick Advertiser also won third place in the Best Breaking News Story category for Colgan’s coverage of a shooting at Warwick High School’s football game against Newburgh.
Industry Restaurant’s ads, designed by Scotti, took first place for Best Advertising Idea. Judges called the ads “powerful, direct and well-designed.”