Times Union Honored with State Press Association Awards

ALBANY – The journalism of The Times Union – from an extensive series on decades of racial inequity to surveillance state government reporting and lively photography – has been honored with numerous awards from the Better Newspaper competition of the New York Press Association.

The Times Union took top honors in its division as the best news website for timesunion.com, with judges hailing it as “clearly superior in every respect to other entries in this category.”

The Thomas G. Butson Award for In-Depth Investigative Reporting went to “A City Divided,” Massarah Mikati and Eduardo Medina’s weeklong series on the damage wrought by nearly a century of neighborhood divestment predominantly black from Albany. The judges called it an “extraordinary effort” with “excellent reporting, historical research, statistical analysis, and connecting the perhaps well-known (maybe not?) history of redlining to its legacy, in real life, today. Great job providing context (showing the path of each day’s stories and how they fit together), photography, layout and attribution for much of the newspaper space to an important topic.

Opinion editor Jay Jochnowitz won first place for a collection of editorials. ” Brave ! Brave ! … Ben Franklin would be thrilled,” the judges said.

Abigail Rubel won Best Sports Feature Film for her career lookback at the Mohawk Colored Giants, the capital region’s best-known black baseball team. “So much has been lost in the dark history of baseball’s segregated past, but so much is gained when a writer does such a good job of uncovering those lost stories,” the judges noted.

Rachel Silberstein won two second honors, for a collection of her reporting on education and in the category of best news or reporting for her coverage of the downfall of former SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras.

Brendan J. Lyons won second place in the Best Reporting category for his story exposing a “VIP” COVID-19 testing program that benefited well-connected people, including former Governor Andrew’s family members. Mr. Cuomo and a number of state lawmakers.

Shayla Colon took third place in the feature film category for her first-person account of her childhood in the shadow of her mother’s death at the World Trade Center on 9/11. “Amazing work,” the judges said.

A collection of chronicles by Chris Churchill took second place in this category. “This writer knows how to warm the hearts of his readers,” noted the judges.

Sarah Diodato won third place in the Best Newsletter category for her work on Saratoga Now, Saratoga’s “unique, hyperlocal coverage – great concept.”

Photographer Paul Buckowski won top honors for photo art for an image of a fisherman perfectly reflected in the water he’s trolling, and an honorable mention for reportage photo.

“The range of these awards is a reminder of the abundant talents of Times Union staff,” said editor Casey Seiler. “Whether it’s major projects, top-notch government surveillance reporting, in-depth commentary or sports coverage, these reporters work hard every day to tell the story of our community and beyond, online and on paper.

The winners in the Better Newspaper contest, which this year was judged by members of the Nebraska Press Association, were announced Saturday night at the group’s annual conference, held this year in Saratoga Springs.

Andrew B. Reiter