The Current Wins 18 NYPA Awards

Staff takes home eight first-place honors

The Highlands Current won 18 awards, including eight first-place honors, last week in the annual competition sponsored by the New York Press Association for editorial and advertising in 2020. The paper has won 76 NYPA awards since 2013.

The competition, which included 2,440 entries from 151 smaller and mid-size newspapers across the state, was judged by members of the Pennsylvania Newspapers Publishers Association.

In addition to the NYPA wins, a series by Brian PJ Cronin, The Fading Forest, is a finalist in the annual competition organized by the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for the best reporting in a newspaper with a circulation under 100,000. The other finalists are stories from The Journal News and The Record / NorthJersey.com. The winner will be announced on May 17.

With two exceptions, The Current’s NYPA awards came in the division for smaller papers. It won, for the second time in four years, the Thomas G. Butson Award for In-Depth Reporting, for Cronin’s Fading Forest series. The weekly also won first place in sports features for Michael Turton’s story on Aaron Nastasi, who 20 years ago after a stellar basketball career at Haldane decided not to play in college; and in news stories for Leonard Spark’s report, Placed in Harm’s Way, about a mother’s interaction with the Putnam County child welfare system. Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong won third place in the same category for her report on the battle over proposed development on a Revolutionary War site in Fishkill.

Sparks and Jeff Simms won first place in the news series category for COVID 2021: What Lies Ahead (Cronin took second place for The Fading Forest) and Turton won first place for best columns for “Reporter’s Notebook” (Cronin received an honorable mention for “Out There”). Simms’ article on The Mayor, a well-known chicken-about-town in Beacon, was named the best feature story.

In the advertising categories, Pierce Strudler won first place for best campaign for his ads created for psychologist Michael McKee called “Coping with Stress.” Strudler also won first place for best house ad for his promotion for the paper’s Student Journalists Program.

In design categories, Strudler won second place for overall design among tabloids and Summer Pierre won third place in graphic illustration for a drawing called Comic Sensibilities about a book club she leads.

In other awards, the paper placed third in coverage of the arts and Ross Corsair received honorable mentions in the feature photo and picture story categories. The Current also placed third for general excellence and Chip Rowe finished third among newspapers of all sizes for best online news project for his CurrentPLUS email newsletter for members.

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