Blank Slate Media takes home 10 NYPA awards

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From left to right: Judy Epstein and Noah Manskar (Right photo by Sasha Turrentine)

Blank Slate Media won 10 awards last weekend at the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper contest — the most since the company’s establishment in 2010.

Columnist Judy Epstein took home first place for Best Column and assistant managing editor and  reporter Noah Manskar won third place in Rookie Reporter of the Year.

The judges called Epstein’s columns “savory and imminently readable.”

“Many wonderful columnists write readable and enjoyable columns, but what sets Judy’s apart is the flavor of her writing and storytelling,” the judges’ comments said.

The judges called Manskar’s reporting solid, saying the issues were presented “clearly and fully.”

Manskar also won first place in Spot News for his coverage of a former president of Chaminade High School being suspended from serving as a priest amid allegations that he sexually abused a former student.

“I was very excited and very pleased that all the hard work and effort from our very talented staff was recognized in this way,” Blank Slate Media President and Publisher Steven Blank said. “I was also pleased by the fact that the awards included our coverage on such a broad range of topics important to our readers.”

The company, which publishes six weekly community newspaper on the North Shore of Long Island, also won second place for Best Editorial Page for the Williston Times in the contest that includes weekly and small daily newspapers from around the state.

Blank not only commended the staff for its editorial pages, but also the readers who regularly contribute to the opinion section with letters to the editor.

“We won for our opinion pages, which happens to include our editorial and columnists, as well as our readers who send letters to the editor,” Blank said. “So in part, our very involved readers played a significant role in our getting one of more prestigious awards in the contest.”

The Roslyn Times also won third place for the Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence, making it the third time a Blank Slate Media paper has placed in that category.

The Manhasset Times won second place in Special Sections/Niche Publications for its annual guide to Manhasset, being praised by the judges for a “nice community guide” that was very strong on ads.

The New Hyde Park Herald Courier also won third place for Best Front Page and Rose Palacios, the company’s production manager, received a honorable mention for Best Special Cover.

Manskar also won third place in Coverage of Local Government for his reporting on Gerard Terry, the former North Hempstead Democratic Committee chairman, who pleaded not guilty to federal charges of tax evasion and obstruction of the IRS.

Manskar and reporter Joe Nikic received third place in Coverage of Education, and the judges said “the writers delivered the stories concisely but with the information needed to fully grasp the issues.”

Blank said he was happy with how well the judges’ comments “reflected the high quality of the newspapers.”

Litmor Publications, Blank Slate Media’s sister company, excelled in the contest’s advertising categories, with the Garden City News winning first place for Best Large Space ad and third place for Best Advertising Campaign.

This is the fifth straight year in which Blank Slate Media’s publications have won awards since its establishment in 2010. The company won three awards in 2014, including first place for Overall Design Excellence; six in 2013; and three in 2012.

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