The life of a gay artist, photographs from 9/11 ceremonies, images of a painful Holocaust loss, as well as reflections of hope and depictions of ordinary life brought The Hudson Reporter’s staff writers and photographers awards recently in the Garden State Journalist Associations’ contest.
The newspaper chain, with offices in Hoboken and Bayonne, publishes nine newspapers: The Hoboken Reporter, Bayonne Community News, Weehawken Reporter, Jersey City Reporter, Secaucus Reporter, North Bergen Reporter, Union City Reporter, West News York Reporter, and Midweek Reporter.
Staff writer Stephen LaMarca, who recently began coverage of the Hoboken beat, won first place for the Personality Profile award for a story called “The Brute Tells All,” an account of the life and work of a North Bergen artist who tragically died while crossing a highway.
“It’s always nice that our efforts get recognized,” said Editor-in-Chief Caren Matzner. “Stephen went the extra mile for his story by calling the longtime partner of the late artist to get a sense of their intense, creative life together. He could have just written the standard obit, but he took a chance and he got an interesting story as a result.”
Also an award winner, Matzner won first place in Feature Photography for a photo called “Time to Reflect.” The photo was taken in the Willow Terrace neighborhood of Hoboken, where a string of small row houses are.
“I always have my camera handy in Hoboken because there are so many beautiful aspects of small-town life in this square mile,” Matzner said. “When I saw the brownstones and other structures reflected so perfectly in a car window, I had to snap a shot. I’m glad other people liked the photo.”
Senior staff writer Al Sullivan, who works as a beat reporter for the Bayonne Community News, won first place in Photography News for photo called “Bayonne Remembers 9/11,” depicting a yellow rose left on the Bayonne monument in memory of one of the victims of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Sullivan also won first place for a photo called “What’s in a Memory,” a tearful image of a Holocaust survivor whose husband, also a Holocaust survivor, had just passed away.
In the Photo Essay/Story awards, Sullivan’s images of kids at a local school taking part in a world record effort at blowing bubbles also won first place for the collection, “Bubbles for Autism.”
“As for the photos that won, Al Sullivan is a talented observer, so it’s no surprise that his photos win awards the way his newspaper articles have done,” Matzner said.
“This is a reflection of a staff that does quality work on a weekly basis.” – Dave Unger
The Garden State Journalists Association was founded in 1927 as the Hudson County Press Club, and later, when its reach extended farther across the northern portion of the state, it became the North Jersey Press Club. After merging with the Working Press Association, it became the Garden State Journalists Association.
“With an 80-plus-year history, the organization seeks the advancement of journalism in New Jersey,” according to the association’s website, “and promotes the education, professional betterment and interaction of its members. Membership is open to those who live or work in the State of New Jersey and earn their living, full- or part-time, in the field of journalism in all its forms, including news and public relations.”
The competition is unusual in that daily and weekly newspapers compete against each other in each category.
Reporter co-publishers Dave Unger and Lucha Malato said they were proud of the accomplishments of the staff.
“I congratulate the winners for the excellent job they do,” said Unger. “This is a reflection of a staff that does quality work on a weekly basis.”
Malato said she was gratified by the fact that the Hudson Reporter staff received recognition from its peers. She called those working for the Hudson Reporter “dedicated and conscientious.”
“I’m very pleased by their recognition,” she said.
Earlier this year, the writers, photographers, sales and graphics staff were similarly honored by the New Jersey Press Association for work done in 2011.
The Garden State Journalists Association will recognize the award winners at its annual awards dinner on May 24 at the Chart House in Weehawken.