Jeff Wernick wins 2023 Transparency Award from Syracuse Press Club

Jeff Wernick wins the 2023 Transparency Award from Syracuse Press Club.
Jeff Wernick wins the 2023 Transparency Award from Syracuse Press Club.
(Photo: Jeff Wernick wins the 2023 Transparency Award from Syracuse Press Club.)

The Syracuse Press Club is thrilled to announce the first of our 2023 special club honors.

We congratulate Jeff Wernick of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for winning the 2023 Philip A. Hofmann Transparency Award!

The Transparency Award, formerly known as the President’s Award for Best News Source, is given to those who provide access, information, and insight to journalists covering stories important to the citizens of Central New York.

Jeff Wernick worked in the the news business for 25 years before joining NYS DEC as a public information officer in April 2020. In his role at DEC, Jeff handles media inquiries from across the state on topics that range from the Brownfield Cleanup Program, to deer hunting season, to invasive species prevention efforts.

In her nomination of Jeff Wernick for the Transparency Award, WSTM’s Assistant News Director Kaitlyn Serrao wrote:

“Sometimes it can feel like we are in a battle with public information officers to get information on stories. Jeff Wernick is someone who not only provides interesting stories, but makes them easier than ever to absorb and share with the public. Wernick comes from a news background, so he often provides logged interviews, great video, and excellent background for his stories he is pitching.”

Jeff also organizes press conferences, writes press releases, travels with DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, and provides content for DEC’s social media pages. Jeff writes the “Forest Ranger Week in Review,” highlighting the efforts of forest rangers during difficult rescues and wildland fires.

Jeff graduated from SUNY Oswego in 1995 with a B.A. in broadcast journalism and a minor in business administration. Following graduation, he was hired as a sports producer at WTEN, the ABC affiliate in Albany.

In 1999, Jeff left WTEN to join the news team at WNYT, the NBC affiliate in Albany. He started as a part-time associate producer, and was promoted to weekend producer three months later. He was later promoted to 5 p.m. producer, 11 p.m. producer, 6 p.m. producer, and eventually Executive Producer for the entire newsroom. After 10 years as WNYT’s Executive Producer, Jeff joined the NY DEC as a public information officer in April 2020.

Thank you, Jeff, for setting a stellar example for news sources and public information experts across Central New York. SPC President Katrina Tulloch will present Jeff Wernick with the Transparency Award at the awards banquet on Saturday, May 6, 2023.

Meet past winners:

• The 2022 News Source of the Year was Deanna Ryan of the Cayuga County Health Department.
• The 2021 News Source of the Year was Kathleen Paice Froio of Upstate Medical University.
• The 2020 News Source of the Year was the Onondaga County Clerk’s Office.

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