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41st Annual Professional Recognition Awards and Scholarship Banquet

April 27, 2019, 6 PM cocktails, 7 PM dinner

at Genesee Grande, 1060 East Genesee St, Syracuse

 Follow syrpressclub on Twitter
2018-2019 Winners Announced
Written by Josh Cradduck   
Thursday, 02 May 2019 19:24

The Syracuse Press Club would like to thank all of you for entering this year's 41st Annual Professional Recognition Awards Contest. Volunteers from numerous press clubs across America judged the entries and selected first, second and third-place winners in numerous competitions in TV, radio, print, online and college journalism categories. Our awards were handed out at our banquet on Saturday, April 27.  ARE YOU IN ONE OF OUR PICTURES? CLICK HERE.

Over 200 people attended the annual event that honors winners in the club’s annual Professional Recognition Awards contest for print, radio, TV, online and college student journalists.

Spectrum News anchor Iris St. Meran and WWNY-TV news anchor Jeff Cole served as the night’s emcees.
At the awards banquet at the Genesee Grande, special club awards were also given to several other journalists: 
Syracuse.com / The Post-Standard editor Steven Billmeyer was awarded the Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award.
Katelynn Ulrich, Spectrum News, was named winner of the A. Brohmann Roth Newcomer Award, given to journalists with less than three years of professional experience.
Onondaga Co Sheriff's Sgt Jon Seeber received the Philip A. Hofmann President’s Award for Best News Source.
Debra Born of Utica College received the DeVesty-Williams Scholarship.  The $2,000 scholarship is selected by a committee of journalism educators and professionals.  They evaluate applicants on their academic achievement, involvement in extracurricular activities, media samples, professional references and a personal philosophy statement.

Robert Harding of the Auburn Citizen was awarded Bill Carey Journalist of the Year Award.

John O'Brien, formerly of the Post-Standard, was added to our Wall of Distinction. 

The full list of winners with judge's comments is listed below. 



Spot News

First place: WRVO-FM, Payne Horning, “Death of Gary Thibodeau offers not closure for either side”

Judge’s comments: “Interesting story told in a most compelling, balanced way, eliciting both understanding and emotion. I wanted more!”

Second place: WAER-FM, Chris Bolt, “Parkland school shooting inspires local high school students to organize march against all gun violence


News Feature

First place: WAER-FM, Chris Bolt, “Ending the Prison-to-Poverty Pipeline”

Judge’s Comment: Very well presented with an interesting open (asking the listener to imagine life upon prison release) and often setting up the next section with a question that engages. Reporter has a relaxed style that works well, casual and interesting in speech pattern and storytelling.

Second place: WRVO-FM, Payne Horning, “To ward off mass shooters, Oswego County church encourages congregation to bring guns”


"Human Interest" Feature

First place: WAER-FM, James Colgan, “Undefeated: Tim Green story”

           Judge’s comments: “Very powerful! Very vivid writing and appropriate background music, strong quotes, a beautifully told story.

Second place: WRVO-FM, Payne Horning, “A new adult day care gives families respite and hope”

Third place: The Ladies’ Room, Jennifer Sanders & Iris St. Meran, “Episode 5: Katherine Switzer"


Sports Story

First place: WAER-FM, Tim Leonard, “From the Pitch to the Gridiron”

           Judge’s comments: A fascinating presentation of an oft-told tale about adjusting to American football”

Second place:  WAER-FM, Connor Federico, The Eric Dungey Legacy”

Third place: WAER-FM, J.D. Raucci, “Boeheim vs. Boeheim II: Coach coaches with and against his son”


Sports Show

First place: WAER-FM, Dana Grey, James Colgan & Connor Federico, “Countdown to Kickoff: Pregame for Syracuse v. Clemson”

Judge’s comments: A variety of voices come together to tell the story of a historic win a year before, and everything that’s happened since.

Second place: WAER-FM, Dana Grey, James Colgan, Jonathan Hoppe & J.D. Raucci, “Countdown to Kickoff: Pregame for Camping World Bowl”




Investigative Story/Series

First place: The Citizen, Megan Ehrhart, “Weedsport DPW scandal”

Judge’s comments: Wow. Great reporting instinct and dogged follow-through paid off. Very, very hard choice between first and second place.”

Second place:  The Post-Standard, James Mulder, “Secret deals uncovered at Upstate Medical University”

Third place: The Post-Standard, Douglass Dowty, “Syracuse cops push doctors to probe man’s rectum for drugs: What country are we living in?”


News Feature/Series

First place: The Cortland Standard, Jacob DeRochie, Nicholas Graziano & Catherine Wilde, “Bringing to Life Brownfields”

Judge’s comment: This is a very thorough discussion about brownfields – what they are and how they can be used. It contains important the public should be aware of, especially those who reside in communities with brownfields. Map is especially useful. Well researched and clearly written.

Second place: CNY man, found insane, nears freedom after 6 years after drowning son; Recovery or injustice?

Third place: The Post-Standard, Douglass Dowty, “Syracuse fraternity brothers explain crude skits: ‘We thought it was OK’”


"Human Interest" Feature/Series

First place: The Post-Standard, Chris Baker, “A stroke paralyzed his hand; 2 months later Todd Hobin rewired his brain to play again”

Second place: The Post-Standard, Patrick Lohmann, “Just after burying slain stepson, Syracuse man rushes to save boy, 12, dying of gun shot”

Third place: The Post-Standard, Lindsay Kramer, “The most valuable play; Doctors save a fallen football player’s life”


Sports Story

First place: The Post-Standard, Nate Mink, “Why is Syracuse football QB Eric Dungey so fearless? We went to Oregon to find out”

           Judge’s comment: Unbelievable situation, obviously the result of dogged beat coverage

Second place: The Post-Standard, Donna Ditota, “The maturation of Syracuse basketball’s Frank Howard: How perseverance paid off”

Third place: The Post-Standard, Stephen Bailey, “Syracuse DB Antwan Cordy’s grueling rehab powered by love, counseling, religion”



News Feature/Series

First place: Syracuse New Times, David Haas, “Highway Robbery”

Judge’s comments: “Highway Robbery” provides an important look back at Syracuse history and Interstate 81 … The reporter does an excellent job of research that shows what happened to the people and businesses that lost their neighborhoods. Well researched and written, it also serves as a cautionary tale for any future changes to the highway.

Second place: The Stand, Ashley Kang, Divya Murthy, Bianca Moorman & Zachary Krahmer,“Prison to Family” series

Third place: The Catholic Sun, Renee K. Gadoua, “What’s in a name?”


"Human Interest" Feature/Series

First place: The Stand, Juliana Whiteway, “Four generations of the Bright Family”

Judge’s comments: This was a difficult category to judge because there was so much good work entered. “Four Generations” is well-written, enjoyable. Not many family businesses last this long and this story tells us why. Good detail.

Second place: Syracuse Woman Magazine, Lorna Oppedisano, “Creating a safe space for everyone”

Third place: Upstate Medical University, Amber Smith & Susan Keeter, “Science is Art is Science”


Sports Story

First place: Syracuse New Times, Matt Michael, “Sports story series”

Judge’s comments: All you could want to know about Syracuse basketball is here in this well-written series that looks at coaches, players, traditions and challenges. It is obvious that the writer knows his subject and put much time into research and interviews.

Second place: New York Horse Magazine, Janis Barth, “Thoroughbred”

Third place: The Stand, Mike Zawisza and Kai Nguyen, “Kings of New York”



Best Magazine

First place: CNY The Good Life, Mary Jo Kravec & Amy Bleier Long, “Nov/Dec 2018”

Second place: Family Times, Reid Sullivan, Michael Davis, Robin Barnes & Rachel Barry, “A New Best Friend”

Third place: New York Horse Magazine, Janis Barth & Darren Sanefski, “Blanket Weather 2018/19”


Best Newsletter / Trade Publication

First place: CNY The Good Life, Amy Bleier Long, “Central Upstate MFG edition 6”

Judge’s comments: Features a strong, clean layout that is very attractive. Stories are well-written and cover a variety of topics of interest to readers.

Second place: Upstate Medical University, Leah Caldwell, Amber Smith, Jim Howe & Susan Keeter, “Cancer Care magazine”



Spot News

First place: The Post-Standard, “Drunk driver kills 3 in hit-and-run crash”

           Judge’s comments: The writer brings one victim to life in a quick turnaround.”

Second place: The Post-Standard, “Arson fire kills 4, including infant and mother”

Third place: The Cortland Standard, Shenandoah Briere, “Blaze sets off ammo in Dryden gun shop”



First place: South Jefferson Journal, Kathy Taber-Montgomery, “She was right, I was changed forever”

Second place: The Post-Standard, Johnathan Croyle, “‘Cedar Chest Killer’: The murder that held Syracuse breathless in 1938”

Third place: The Reporter, Rabbi Rachel Esserman, “Should I be offended or not”


Front Page Design

First place: Syracuse New Times, Michael Davis & Greg Minix, “Front Covers”

           Judge’s comments: Successful use of eye-catching imagery and typography to match image and story.

Second place: Syracuse New Times, Michael Davis, Greg Minix, Rachel Barry & Robin Barnes, “Syracuse New Times 2018”

Third place: Cortland Standard, Steve Sbelgio, “Forged by War”


Headline Writing

First place: CNY The Good Life, Mary Jo Kravec, “Farm to Table”

           Judge’s comments: Clever, fun headlines that fit the subjects and capture the readers’ attention.

Second place: Syracuse New Times, Bill DeLapp, “SNT Headlines”



First place: The Cortland Standard, Todd McAdam, “Great Thoughts on Music”

Second place: The Cortland Standard, Todd McAdam, “Make Brownfields Green Again”



First place: The Reporter, Rabbi Rachel Esserman, “Soviet immigrants with a side of humor”             

           Judge’s comments: An intelligent critique

Second place: The Stand, Lyle Michael, “Harriet Possesses Syracuse Stage”

Third place: The Post-Standard, Jacob Pucci, “Dropkick Murphys smack a pinch-hit grand slam”


Carl Single Award for Spot News Photo

First place: The Citizen, Kevin Rivoli, “Dairy farm fire”

           Judge’s comments: This is such a compelling image. It illustrates what the story is and strikes us with the blackness of the subjects and brightness of fire lights. It captures a frantic moment and takes us to the scene.

Second place: The Post-Standard, Dennis Nett, “Boy left without father”

Third place: The Post-Standard, Dennis Nett, “Another senseless homicide”


Feature Photo

First place: New York Horse Magazine, Michael Davis, “Praying for a Good Ride”

           Judge’s comments: The photographer captures a moment that shows the subject having a moment with herself. The combination of her focus, colorful surroundings and boys in the background paint a nice picture of the day for us. A striking piece.

Second place: The Post-Standard, Michael Greenlar, “Raindrops”

Third place: The Stand, Jordan Larson, “South Side Photo Walk”


Sports Photo

First place: The Post-Standard, Dennis Nett, “In Your Face”

           Judge’s comments: “Stop action was perfectly timed!”

Second place: The Post-Standard, Dennis Nett, “Agony and Ectasy”

Third place: Baldwinsville Messenger, Herm Card, “Zach Motondo singles to right to open Challenger Baseball season”


Scenic Photo

First place: The Citizen, Kevin Rivoli, “Sunset at the lake”

           Judge’s comments: Though it looks as though this was an effortless photograph it tells us so much. It shows us how mother nature appeared at one time. It also shows us the simple, dark silhouette of a fisherman who chose to engage at this point of the day along this backdrop. It’s a truly awe-inspiring moment.

Second place: Syracuse New Times, Michael Davis, “Secret Caverns”



First place: The Post-Standard, Dennis Nett, “Big Expectations”

Judge’s comments: This portrait tells us so much already about this player. He’s focused and towers over the court, illustrated by this creative visual which shines a light on him and his athleticism.

Second place:  The Post-Standard, N. Scott Trimble, “The Sun Sets on a Legendary Coach”


Photo Essay

First place: New York Horse Magazine, Michael Davis, “True Grit”

           Judge’s comments: Great story line done in pictures, made me want to see more.

Second place: The Post-Standard, Michael Greenlar, “The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team”

Third place: New York Horse Magazine, Michael Davis, “Nationals”


Graphic Illustration

First place: Syracuse New Times, Rachel Barry, “The Arts Issue”

           Judge’s comments: Nice clean illustration that depicts the arts in a unique and pleasing way.

Second place: Syracuse New Times, Giacomo Calderoni, “Student Survival Guide”

Third place: Syracuse New Times, Greg Minix, “Moses and the Best of Syracuse”



Spot News: 

First place: CNY Central, Katharine Gensel & Michael Benny, “Syracuse Northside Block Fire”

           Judge’s comments: Facts up front. Solid, comprehensive coverage.

Second place: WSYR-TV, Staff, “Town of Onondaga Triple Fatal Hit and Run Crash”

Third place: CNY Central, NBC3 News Team, “Midland Ave Shooting”


Investigative Story/Series

First place: CNY Central, Matt Mulcahy, “The Gary Thibodeau Case”

Second place: WSYR-TV, Andrew Donovan & WSYR Photographers, “North Syracuse School District Penalty Coverage”


News Feature/Series

First place: WWNY-TV, Garrett Domblewski, “What Farmers Face, Parts I & II”

Judge’s comments: An in-depth look at an overlooked crisis relevant to small business owners and the public. All of the entries in this category were extremely compelling. The winner featured a way of life that is endangered. Well done!

Second place: WBNG-TV, Jackie Prager & Chris Overby, “Summertime Crime”

Third place: WSYR-TV, Olivia Ugino & Bill Goldschmidt, “Family of Mute Swans living on Oneida Lake Euthanized”


"Human Interest" Feature/Series

First place: WWNY-TV, Patrick Malowski, “Jeremy’s Journey”

Second place: WSYR-TV, Farah Jadran & Tom Cunningham, “Saluting Moms”

Third place: WBNG-TV, Esperanza Gutierrez & Chris Overby, “Honor Flight”


Sports Story

First place: Spectrum News, Katelynn Ulrich & Ben Augustine, “Gordon International Bonspiel”       

Judge’s comments: Fun story, well told. The reporter did, by far, the best job of the bunch mixing track and sound for a really enjoyable story.

Second place: CNY Central, Niko Tamurian & Quindell Williams, “Bulldogs Band Together for Special Teammate”

Third place: WWNY-TV, Mel Busler, “Go-Kart Driver Overcomes Obstacles”


Regularly Scheduled Sportscast

First place: CNY Central, Niko Tamurian, “The End of the Ride for a Legend of Lacrosse”

Judge’s comments: Like the live aspect, and it was really clean live. Two nice, human stories within one podcast. Good stuff.

Second place: CNY Central, Niko Tamurian, “Syracuse Football Caps Off Incredible Season with Camping World Bowl Win

Third place: WBNG-TV, John Laughrin, “Larry Burneal Sportscast”


Regulary Scheduled Newscast

First place: WSYR-TV: "March Snow Storm, March 2, 2018" 

Second place: WWNY-TV, "7 News 6 PM, November 7, 2018"


Television Special Program

First Place: Jennifer Sanders and Jack Estabrook, "Hidden History: Syracuse 8 January 13, 2018" on WSYR-TV.

Second place: Sistina Giordano, Jim Beebe of WSYR for "Look Back, Act Forward Remembering Pan Am Flight 103 December 20, 2018"

Third place: WSYR-TV’s Jim Teske, Marty Sicilia, Mark Folsom, Jack Estabrook, "Labor Day Storm: 20 Years Later September 6, 2018"



Photo Essay

First place: Spectrum News, Tom Walters, “Youth Group Presents Lion King”

           Judge’s comments: Really well done. Colorful, fun, great use of nats and music and sound. Just beautiful to watch. Great job.

Second place: WSYR-TV, Rob Hackford, “Pie Baking”

Third place: Spectrum News, Tom Walters, “Opening at Rudy’s”


Video Journalism

First place: Spectrum News, Tom Walters

           Judge’s comments: Well done stuff. All three pieces well shot and well edited.

Second place: Spectrum News, Ben Augustine

Third place: Spectrum News, Katelynn Ulrich


Best Weathercast

First place: WSYR-TV, Kate Thornton, “December 24, 2018”

Judge’s comments: Kate gave a succinct explanation along with many helpful specifics for viewers planning their days. There was a nice flow to her story, and it was all delivered with an approachable, conversational story.

Second place: WKTV, Bill Kardas, “February 6, 2018 6 p.m.”

Third place: CNY Central, Molly Matott, “February Storm: From Rain to Snow”



Breaking News

First place: syracuse.com, Sarah Moses Buckshot & N. Scott Trimble, “Fire ravages apartments on Salina Street in Syracuse, ‘I’ve lost everything’”

           Judge’s comments: Powerfully told story, with excellent use of video and sound bites to bring readers into the scene and allow them to truly feel what the victims are feeling. Outstanding breaking news coverage.

Second place: Timothy Robertson, Jeremy Long & Eric Spado, Spectrumlocalnews.com, “Midland Avenue shooting”


Multimedia Story

First place: syracuse.com, Christa Lemczak, Katrina Tulloch & Marnie Eisenstadt, “30 years of Lockerbie: Eyewitnesses recall bombing of Pan Am Flight 103”

Second place: mysouthsidestand.com, Saniya More, “Change Maker: Karen Loftin”

Third place: syracuse.com, Katrina Tulloch, “Kyaw Myo of Burma shares struggle to settle in Syracuse”


News Website

First place: Staff, syracuse.com

Second place: Robert Harding, Staff, auburnpub.com

Third place: Spectrum News, Staff, spectrumlocalnews.com



First place: cnycentral.com, Matt Mulcahy, “Guilty until proven innocent, the lesson of Gary Thibodau’s case: Matt’s Memo”

           Judge’s comments: Powerfully written.

Second place: ubancny.com, Kenneth Jackson, “The Hall Monitor”

Third place: syracuse.com, Charlie Miller, “Best of CNY”


Photos & Graphics

First place: mysouthsidestand.com, Bob Gates, “Carefree Youth”

Second place: urbancny.com, Annabel Hine Otts, “The Yeti Wall”


Video Journalism

First place: Syracuse.com, Christa Lemczak, Brent Axe & N. Scott Trimble, “Syracuse’s Air Gait; Hemp in NY; 15th Anniversary of 2003 NCAA Title”

           Judge’s Comments: Great use of video to tell the stories. Overall best use of videography in storytelling.”

Second place: Syracuse.com, Jacob Pucci, Katrina Tulloch & Charlie Miller, “Best Day in Upstate New York”

Third place: Syracuse.com, Katrina Tulloch, Charlie Miller & Jacob Pucci, “New York State Fair”


Best Use Of Social Media By An Organization

First place: syracuse.com, Douglass Dowty, Michael Greenlar & Allie Healy, “30-year-old evicted from parents’ house”

Judge’s comments: This entry made great use of unique video and social media to push a story with viral tendencies even further into the world.

Second place: mysouthsidestand.com, Ashley Kang & Greg Munno

Third place: syracuse.com, Christa Lemczak, Katrina Tulloch & Allie Healy, “I-81 endorsement, fastest way around, best NYS fair food”


Best Use Of Social Media By An Individual

First place: David Haas, @SyracuseHistory

Judge’s comments: These are fantastic posts about Syracuse history! Not only are they original, intriguing and educational. They received tons of audience engagement. Well done!

Second place: Syracuse.com, Christa Lemczak, “Condo tax breaks, Quadrant system explained, Chinese New Year”



Best Radio News Story

First place: NCC News, Sabrina Maggiore, “Plan to Exhume Former Spanish Dictator Sparks Controvery”

Judge’s comments: Explained a complex international story with humanity, balance historical context. Good use of archival nat sound to add facts and flavor. Emotional interviews that showed how Franco still divides Spain. Ms. Maggione clearly researched and understood her subject. Journalism as it should be done.

Second place: NCC News, Elisa Candiotti, “SU Students Learn Life Lessons as They Help in Puerto Rico Recovery”

Third place: WICB, Hannah Breisinger, “Ithaca’s ‘March for Our Lives’ Rally Focuses on Intersectionality”


Best Print News Story

First place: The Daily Orange, Catherine Leffert, Jordan Muller, Sam Ogozalek & Kennedy Rose, “SU suspends Theta Tau fraternity after video of ‘extremely racist’ behavior surfaces”

Second place: Utica College Tangerine, Samuel Northrup, “Hiding in Plain Sight: Threat Suspect in Strebel During Lockdown”

Third place: Utica College Tangerine, Kaitlyn Tambasco “UC Student among 20 Killed in Limo Crash”


Best Television News Story

First place: NCC News, David Edelstein, “Jewish Community Center security”

Second place: NCC News, Michael Lehr, “Negev Bedouin Fight for Equality in Israel”

Third place: ICTV, Amanda Chin, “Playground for All”


Best Radio Sports Story

First place: NCC News, James Colgan, “The Bear”

Judge’s comments: A tribute to a broadcasting legend pulled together quickly and expertly and told well. Ending with the instrumental fade-out from “Thunder Road” was a nice touch.

Second place: NCC News, Anthony Mazzini, “The Rise to Success from a True Freshman”


Best Print Sports Story

First place: Utica College Tangerine, Samuel Northrup, “A Fading Tradition: White-Tail Deer Hunting in New York State”

Second place: The Daily Orange, Matt Liberman, “Redemption: Alton Robinson faced up to 20 years in prison on a robbery charge. Now he’s gearing up for a season leading the Orang’s defense.”


Best Television Sports Story 

First place: ICTV, Jack Arpey, “Balancing Athletics and Academics”

Second place: SUNY Oswego, Brittany Cairns, “Oswego State Captains Reflect on Whiteout”

Third place: NCC News, Jose Cuevas, “Boxer”


Best Radio Feature Story

First place: NCC News, Ford Hatchett, “Country Nation”

Judge’s Comments: A well-produced musical journey with great song clips, good interview and a dynamic narrator – a nice package. Fun, and tricked me into learning stuff.

Second place: WICB, Sophie Johnson & Madeline Lester, “Tap vs. Natural: Residents Navigate Water Choices”

Third place: NCC News, Katie Silcosky, “Stepping Up and Into a Healthier Life”


Best Print Feature Story

First place: Utica College Tangerine, Kyle Riecker, “Local Haunts: Three historically creepy places to visit this Halloween”

Second place: The Daily Orange, Haley Kim, “The journey home: 5 Scotsmen biked more than 3,000 miles to commemorate the victims of Pan Am Flight 103”


Best Television Feature Story

First place: NCC News, Karthik Venkataraman, “Banana Jack”

           Judge’s comments: Loved this story. Really well done. Beautifully laid out, well-written, love the stand-up.

Second place: NCC News, Chris Venzon, “Jacsen Kutic”

Third place: NCC News, Tom Austen, “Peace by Design”


Best Multimedia Story

First place: The Newshouse, Bryan Cereijo & Jacob Gedetsis, “In this Corner”

Second place: The Newshouse, Staff, “NEHA”

Third place: The Newshouse, Hannah Malach, “Naloxone Nation”




 "Don’t be deluded into believing that the titular heads of the networks control what appears on their networks. They all have better taste."
--Edward R. Murrow

Wall of Distinction

Laura Hand Wright


Laura Hand is probably best-known as the news anchor on WSTM-TV's "Action News at Noon," but she has many other jobs at the station -- and has taken on many roles in community organizations as well.
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