Syracuse Press Club announces 2020-2021 awards finalists

Syracuse Press Club’s Wall of Distinction is located in The Oncenter of Syracuse, N.Y.

Syracuse Press Club congratulates the finalists for the 43rd annual Professional Recognition Awards!

We celebrate the talented journalists in Central New York and their hard work throughout 2020.

We were sad to hold our awards ceremony virtual again this year due to the rising Delta variant cases in Onondaga County.

Just a few weeks ago, this decision wasn’t even on the table. We have been so excited to finally celebrate your hard work together in one room, in person, over food and drinks. But all of us in the news business know how quickly this virus can mutate and spread. Even with high vaccination rates in our county, cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.

We cannot risk even one person getting sick in our effort to celebrate the very same work we did to inform the public of Covid dangers. We feel heartbroken making this decision, but we believe it’s the right one for everyone’s safety.

We will announce winner placements virtually on Facebook Live as we did last year. Your award certificates will be mailed directly to your newsrooms. (If you have a reporter who would prefer to receive certificates directly, please provide their address to us.) 

We are proud to virtually celebrate all your efforts from the past year and a half. Thank you for entering the Syracuse Press Club awards!

Note: The following list is scrambled. First, second and third place winners will be announced in September.

All Media

Below are the finalists for the “Covering Covid Award” (a one-time award for an individual whose body of work throughout 2020 best captured what the coronavirus pandemic meant to Central New York.)

• Baldwinsville Messenger, Ashley M. Casey
•, N. Scott Trimble
• WSYR-TV, Andrew Donovan


Spot News

• WAER, Scott Willis, “Syracuse University Students Get Screened for COVID-19 as They Begin Moving in to Campus Dorms”
• WAER, Chris Bolt, “Several Thousand at Black Lives Matter Rally at Syracuse City Hall Urging End to Police Violence”
• WRVO, Michael Riecke, “Broken window won’t keep 130-year-old downtown Syracuse store from reopening”

Investigative Story

• NCC News, Alex Peebles, “Peebles for the People”
• WAER, John Smith, “The Uncertainty Surrounding Hemp”
• WAER, Chris Bolt, “Measuring the Impacts of Police Reform”

News Feature

• WRVO, Michael Riecke, “Pandemic Puts New York’s college towns at risk of losing population, funding”
• WAER, James Corrigan, “WAER Election Blueprint: Race Relations”
• WAER, Chris Bolt, “How to Warn Kids About Dangers of Vaping? Cornell Program Shows Through a Microscope”

Human Interest Feature

• WAER, Katie Zilcosky, “Syracuse Surge Summit Stresses Equity as Pillar of Economic Plan”
• WAER, Joe Lee, “Black Equity and Excellence in Action”

Sports Story

• WAER, Jenna Fink, “Syracuse University’s Fight for Social Justice”
• WAER, Gil Gross, “Syracuse Stuck with Hyman Through High School Misfortune”
• WAER, Brandon Ross, “The Return of Mack Brown”

Sports Show

• WAER, Karl Moeglein, Gil Gross, Corey Spector and Cooper Boardman, “Syracuse v. North Carolina Countdown to Kickoff”
• WAER, Owen Valentine and Ben Shulman, “Ostrom Avenue Podcast: Basketball Conference Competition Begins”
• WAER, Owen Valentine and Max Chadwick, “Sportsnight: Syracuse Basketball Preview Show Pandemic and Expectations”

Special Program

• WAER, Katie Zilcosky, Chris Bolt, Kevin Kloss and Joe Lee, “Syracuse Speaks: Childcare During a Pandemic”
•, Johnathan Croyle, Sonja Duntley, Sunny Hernandez, Steve Carlic, Katrina Tulloch, Lauren Long, Christa Lemczak and Josh McDonald, “The Condemned”
• WAER, Katie Zilcosky, Chris Bolt, Kevin Kloss and Joe Lee, “Syracuse Speaks: Education Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic”


Non-Daily/Special Interest News Feature

• Upstate Medical University, Amber Smith, “What’s the biology of your cancer? Treatment is moving from one-size-fits-all into the modern era of personalization”
• MyZoo Magazine, Janet Gramza, “Mobilizing Marcy: Animal Care Team Helps Cub Conquer Swimmer Syndrome”
• 55 Plus Magazine, Kenneth Sturtz, “Too Old to Be President?”

Non-Daily/Special Interest Human Interest Feature

• Central New York Magazine, Amy Bleier Long, “CNY Scout”
• Pall-Times, Mike LeBoeuf, “Retiring Hannibal School District clerk continues her efforts to fight breast cancer”
• Central New York Magazine, Mary Jo (MJ) Kravec, “Last Word: with a quaran-teen”

Daily Investigative Story

• The Post-Standard, Chris Baker, “How a British con man lured slumlords from around the globe to Syracuse”
• The Post-Standard, Elizabeth Doran, “Manlius police left armed, suicidal man in home: That doesn’t make sense, experts say”
• Pall-Times, Eddie Velazquez, “Special Report: State documents show grim final years at Ladies Home”

Daily News Feature

• The Post-Standard, Marnie Eisenstadt, “Scenes from Upstate’s Covid ICU: These nurses find hope and strength in deadliest week (video)”
• The Citizen, David Wilcox, “‘It scares me’: Cayuga County’s new drug problem during COVID-19”
• The Post-Standard, Patrick Lohmann, “Politics, Covid and the search for truth: A death in a divided American family”

Daily Human Interest Feature

• The Citizen, David Wilcox, “Barber behind bars”
• The Post-Standard, Marnie Eisenstadt, “The life of the party will have her celebration, not a funeral. No matter what”
• The Post-Standard, Katrina Tulloch, “Coronavirus postponed his first marathon, but Baldwinsville flag runner won’t stop training”

Daily Sports Story

• The Post-Standard, Christopher Carlson, “10 hours before tip, a fan in Texas won free tickets for Syracuse-Duke. He made it, with time for wings”
• The Post-Standard, Christopher Carlson, “Why do we talk about race? A former Syracuse soccer player teaches his coach”
• The Post-Standard, Christopher Carlson, “Dad faced quarantine at senior center due to coronavirus, so his daughter became his roommate”

Spot News

• Cortland Standard, Kevin Conlon and Colin Spencer, “Cortland policeman shot; standoff ends”
• The Post-Standard |, Samantha House and Julie McMahon, “Explosion that rocked Central New York, explained”
• The Citizen, Kevin Rivoli, Kelly Rocheleau and staff, “Violent clashes on Cayuga Nation Land”


• The Stand, Jeff Kramer, “Census Concerns”
•, Brent Axe, “Dear Dino, when you’re ready, we are ready”
• Cortland Standard, Kevin Conlon, “Death of ‘Tom Terrific’ brings back memories of the Sermon on the Mound”


• The Citizen, Mike Dowd, “Dennison is an embarrassment to the county and should resign”
• The Post-Standard |, Marie Morelli, “Walsh, Buckner miss chance to model police accountability”
• Pall-Times, Seth Wallace, “Commentary: As violence against protesters escalates, local officials push peace”


• The Reporter, Rabbi Rachel Esserman, “Hollywood and Jewish refugees”
• The Reporter, Rabbi Rachel Esserman, “Family and finding a home”

Headline Writing

• Central New York Magazine, Mary Jo (MJ) Kravec, “You look radish-ing; Getting back to our roots; Sending good vibes”
• Central New York Magazine, Amy Bleier Long, “Into the Woods; A new chapter; Cast away”
• The Citizen, David Wilcox, “E-aster: Cayuga County-area churches celebrate Holy Week online; ‘A new whey’: Cayuga County company makes sanitizer from dairy; ‘Running on empathy’: Auburn woman runs 50 miles in 4 days for suicide awareness”

Best Magazine

• Family Times, Courtney Kless, Renate Wood, Karley Harmon and Robin Barnes, “Family Times September 2020 Issue”
• Rosamond Gifford Zoo/Friends of the Zoo, Maria Simmons, Janet Gramza and Ryan Wood, “MyZoo Magazine”
• Central New York Magazine, Mary Jo (MJ) Kravec and Amy Bleier Long, “The Good Life, Central New York – September/October 2020”

Best Newsletter/Trade Publication

• Data Key Communications, Caroline Reff and Robin Barnes, “Northeast Dairy Magazine Q4”
• Data Key Communications, Steve Guglielmo and Robin Barnes, “Welding & Gases Today Q1”
• Advance Media New York, Mary Jo (MJ) Kravec, “Syracuse Visitors Guide – Spring/Summer 2020”


Carl Single Award for Spot News Photography

•, Patrick Lohmann, “Trina Tardone and Ms. Dibbles during George Floyd protests in Syracuse”
•, Dennis Nett, “Rally against police brutality”
•, Ricky Sayer, “High School Students Lead Thousands on Youth Black Lives Matter March”

Feature Photo

•, N. Scott Trimble, “Awaiting a presidential winner”
•, Dennis Nett, “A whole new ballgame”
•, Scott Schild, “A child raises their fist in unity during a post-presidential election rally”

Sports Photo

•, Dennis Nett, “Different perspective”
• The Citizen, Kevin Rivoli, “Pumped up coach”
•, Dennis Nett, “The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team celebrates their upset win over Florida State”

Scenic Photo

• The Citizen, Kevin Rivoli, “Crows return home for the night”
•, N. Scott Trimble, “On the bluffs at sunset”
•, N. Scott Trimble, “Eerily quiet at rush hour”


•, N. Scott Trimble, “From live gigs to livestream”
• The Stand, Mike Greenlar, “Light Display”
•, N. Scott Trimble, “Surviving Covid”

Photo Essay

• The Stand, Mike Greenlar and Herm Card, “CNY Bicycle Giveaway”
• The Citizen, Kevin Rivoli, “Gallery: Fighting breaks out between Cayuga Nation police and nation chiefs supporters”
•, Dennis Nett, “Bringing faith to the parking lot”


Spot News

• WSYR-TV, Staff, “Nine people shot at a party in Syracuse”
• WWNY-TV, Emily Griffin, “Bingo! It’s going to the cop shop”
• WSYR-TV, Staff, “Syracuse Protests Turn Violent”

Investigative Story

• WSYR-TV, Andrew Donovan and Jack Estabrook, “Onondaga Nursing Home Investigation”
• CNY Central, Staff, “Green Empire Farms COVID-19 Outbreak”
• WSYR-TV, Julia LeBlanc, Tom Cunningham and Mike Westmiller, “Cortland Hotel Investigation”

TV News Feature I

  • WWNY-TV, Abbey Buttacavoli, “Flag Removal Fallout”
  • WSYR-TV, Lindsay Raychel and Jack Estabrook, “Impact of COVID on Salmon River Business”
  • WSYR-TV, Adrienne Smith, Shawn Wayson, Tom Cunningham, Mike Westmiller, Scott Irving, Jack Estabrook, Mark Folsom, Bill Goldschmidt, Anthony Vecchio, “The Moleskys’ COVID adventure”

TV News Feature II

  • Spectrum News, Briana Smith, “Dire Need for Organ Donors”
  • WSYR-TV, Andrew Donovan and Jack Estabrook, “The Fagan Sisters Series” 
  • WSYR-TV, Nicole Sommavilla, Mark Folsom, Scott Irving, Shawn Wayson, “Remarkable Mary Nelson”

Human Interest Feature

• CNY Central, Brandon Roth and Dennis Harmon, “Rock Steady Boxing”
• Spectrum News, Brian Dwyer, “Keeping Heritage Alive with North Country Irish Road Bowling”
• WWNY-TV, Abbey Buttacavoli, “Bingo’s Back, with a Twist”
• Spectrum News, Iris St. Meran and Tom Walters, “Syracuse Community Honors Longtime Southside Advocate Geneva Hayden”

Sports Story

• WUTR/WFXV-TV, David Zachary Edelstein, “Whitesboro’s Stuhlman Finds New Voice, Role to Support Team During Injury”
• WSTM-TV, Niko Tamurian, “Teenager in the NHL: Joel Farabee finds his way in Philadelphia”
• WSYR-TV, Mario Sacco, “In Their Shoes”

Regularly Scheduled Sportscast

• WSYR-TV, Steve Infanti, Darius Joshua and Grant deBruin, “Friday Night Fever”
• WSTM-TV, Niko Tamurian, Matt Hauswirth and Demetris Nichols, “March Madness takes on a whole new meaning”
• WSTM-TV, Niko Tamurian, “With no sports, Syracuse fans re-live 2003 National Championship”

Special Program

• WSYR-TV, Jeff Kulikowsky, Andrew Donovan, Thomas Fleming, Jim Ehmke and Christina Galvin, “The Battle for the 22nd District”
• WSYR-TV, Dan Cummings, Shawn Wayson, Jack Estabrook, Scott Irving, Mike Westmiller and Tom Cunningham, “Veterans Voices”
• WSYR-TV, Tim Fox, Carrie Lazarus and John Kucko, “Destination New York”

Photo Essay

• WWNY-TV, Jeff Nelson and Craig Thornton, “Jaaron Thomas”
• Spectrum News, Ben Augustine, “Everyday Heroes: American Red Cross Lifeline Award Winner”
• Spectrum News, Tom Walters, “Everyday Heroes: American Red Cross Youth Samaritan”

Video Journalism

• CNY Central, Andy Wolf
• Spectrum News, Tom Walters

Regularly Scheduled Local Newscast

• WWNY-TV, Jeff Cole and staff, “7 News This Evening”
• CNY Central, staff, “Mayor’s Press Conference Exposure”
• WSYR-TV, staff, “NewsChannel 9 at 6:00 June 6, 2020”

Best Weathercast

• CNY Central, Wayne Mahar, “Preparing for a Storm”
• CNY Central, Peter Hall, “Late season snowfall 2020”
• WWNY-TV, Kris Hudson, “Kris Hudson Weathercast”


Breaking News

• The Stand |, Jeff Kramer, “LiteracyCNY Set to Close this Week”
•, Chris Libonati, Patrick Lohmann, Dennis Nett and Scott Schild, “How George Floyd protests went from peaceful to chaotic”
• CNY Central, Jana Barnello and staff, “Deadly Shooting at Rye Day Party”

Multimedia Story

• Spectrum News, Krystal Cole and Tim Roberston, “Cayuga Nurses Returning from NYC with Heart-wrenching Stories, Friends, New Perspectives”
•, Marnie Eisenstadt and N. Scott Trimble, “Scenes from Upstate’s Covid ICU: These nurses find hope and strength in deadliest week”
•, Katrina Tulloch, “Syracuse’s Columbus statue debate: Why we should remove it and why we should keep it (video)”

News Website

•, staff, “”
• The Citizen, Robert Harding and staff, “”
• CNY Central, Jana Barnell, Josh Pietzold and staff, “”


• The Citizen, Robert Harding, “Eye on NY”
•, Kenneth Jackson, “The Hall Monitor”
•, Charlie Miller, “Best of CNY”

Photos & Graphics

• WSYR, staff, “Dealing with Coronavirus”
• Spectrum News, Luke Parsnow, “6 Months In: New York’s Journey from Covid 19 Epicenter to Now”
•, Annabel Hine Otts, “We Are No Longer Asking”

Video Journalism

•, Christa Lemczak, “Coronavirus, The Condemned and the Carrier Dome”
•, N. Scott Trimble, “Covid ICU, Game Faces and Ausable Chasm”
•, Katrina Tulloch, “Syracuse drug kingpin Tyrone Hines gets a second chance on life; Inside Syracuse’s first coronavirus testing site; The man behind the masks”

Best Use of Social Media by an Organization

•, staff, “Social coverage of the BLM/George Floyd protests”
•, staff, “Social coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic”
• CNY Central, Jana Barnello, Josh Pietzold and Sarah Midani, “CNY Central Social Media”

Best Use of Social Media by an Individual

• Chris Baker,, @chrsbakr on Twitter
• David Haas, @SyracuseHistory
• Julie McMahon,, Back in Business


Radio/Podcast News Story

• WICB-FM, Lauren Leone, “Fall Outlook for the Ithaca Economy”
• WAER, James Corrigan, “Free Cancer Screenings Fight Growing Problem during COVID Crisis of Ignoring Other Health Issues”
• WICB-FM, Nijha Young, “Southside Community Center Hosts Town Hall of Black Leaders on Mental Health”

Print News Story

• Utica College Tangerine, Matthew Breault, “A tale of resilience: Some Utica food sources narrowly survive COVID-19’s wrath”
• The Daily Orange, Emma Folts and Michael Sessa, “#NotAgainSU protesters block intersection outside Crouse-Hinds Hall”
• The Oswegonian, Tomas Rodriguez, “UP Makes Changes to Policies Following Shifts in Legislature, National Climate”

Television News Story

• Citrus TV, Ricky Sayer, “The Quietest of Game Days”
• Citrus TV, Ricky Sayer, Erin Lyons, Rob Flaks and Kathryn Goralski, “Special Report: Faculty Under Pressure”
• ICTV, Madison Moore, “Black Lives Matter Movement in Ithaca”

Print Sports Story

• The Daily Orange, Mitchell Bannon, “Coaching double standard plagues women’s college ice hockey”
• The Daily Orange, Tim Nolan, “Return to Form: After beating cancer, Tiana Mangakahia’s return to lineup began with pickup”
• The Daily Orange, Andrew Crane, “‘CEO of the program’: The best stories of John Desko’s 45-year tenure”

Television Sports Story

• Citrus TV, Cameron Macaulay, “Brendan Curry Shares His Homewood Connection”
• ICTV, Dan Passante, “Sports During the COVID-19 Pandemic”
• The NewsHouse, Julia Skeval, Adam Klepp, Justin Glowacki and Jakob Konwiser, “The Creator’s Game”

Radio/Podcast Feature Story

• WAER, James Corrigan, “OCC Students Celebrate Graduation In Drive-Thru Commencement”
• WICB-FM, Jay Bradley and Cella Beakes, “Local Religious Groups Give Community in the Pandemic”
• PRX/NCC News, Rachel Pierce, “Quarantine Says ‘Goodbye’ to the Gym Creep”

Print Feature Story

• Utica College Tangerine, Bailey Hryb, “Body of teen found in Canastota, raises awareness of safety on and off campus”
• The Daily Orange, Marnie Muñoz, “Between 2 worlds: How Syracuse’s racist housing policies created a racial divide”
• Utica College Tangerine, Maria Montero Silva, “Addiction in the time of coronavirus: How COVID-19 affects addiction services in Oneida County”

Television Feature Story

• Citrus TV, Ricky Sayer, “Joe Biden’s Time at Syracuse University Law School”
• NCC News, Morgan Trau, “Mental Toll of Protesting”
• NCC News, Nicole Weaving, “A Wedding Full of Surprises”

Multimedia Story

• Newhouse School, The 61% Project Staff, “61% Project”
• Newhouse School, The Highstakes Staff, “High Stakes: The Risks and Rewards of Legalizing Marijuana”
• Newhouse School, The Socially Driven Staff, “Socially Driven”

Note: The list is scrambled. First, second and third place winners will be announced at the September awards ceremony.

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