State Newspaper Contest Awards Highlight Breadth of Sandpaper Coverage


WIN: Beyond Ambient by Ryan Morrill won first place in the pictorial category.

The SandPaper staff won more than five dozen awards in the New Jersey Press Association’s 2021 Better Newspaper contest, collecting 36 for advertising, 22 for editorial writing and four for photography. The contest was judged by members of the Utah Press Association.

In editorial writing, reporter Gina G. Scala won first place in Special Feature Writing for her coverage of Coast Guard Station Barnegat Light’s weekly helicopter training, writing about education highlighting LBI Elementary School’s interdisciplinary student guide to LBI and crime/police/courts coverage for its stories about last year’s double homicide in Surf City.

Associate editor Maria Scandale won honors in business and economics writing for her article about a local antique store. Sarah Hodgson won first place for best use of social media. Managing Editor Gail Travers and Layout Supervisor Pattie McIntyre won first place in the Editorial Section’s Layout and Content category.

In the editorial commentary category, journalist Rick Mellerup placed first and second for his coverage of the offshore wind debate and current affairs.

David Biggy, Eric Englund, Monique M. Demopoulos, Juliet Kaszas-Hoch, Pat Johnson, Scala, and Scandal received silver in investigative writing for their examination of winter population on the island and the mainland was more high in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Johnson also won second place in environment, health and science writing for a story from ReClam the Bay. Scandal won second place in news writing for its coverage of coyotes in Barnegat Light and journalist Victoria Ford snagged a silver in online news writing for her story about the death of a missing couple from Warren Grove.

For business writing, Biggy, Demopoulos and Scala took second place for their Pandemic in Perspective series. Biggy picked up two additional second prizes for his sports writing portfolio and his new approach to routine reporting. Dredge on-site coverage by Scala Murden at Barnegat Inlet last summer earned him second place in interpretive writing.

Biggy, Ford, Kaszas-Hoch, Scala and Scandal came in third for their coverage of the coronavirus, including vaccine insight, navigating love during COVID-19 and hiring practices. Mellerup took third place for a fresh take on routine reporting for her story about how a lost teddy bear found its way home.

Editor-in-chief Jay Mann took third place in headlines writing. Biggy won third place in the Education and Online News Writing categories.

The entire staff won third place in The SandPaper’s 2021 Holiday Guide.

In the photo categories, which pit weekly photojournalists against photographers from state dailies, photographer Ryan Morrill won first and third place for pictures. Biggy won third place in the photo essay for unmasking the kids and sports photo essay for his summer swim final.

The SandPaper’s advertising team won a dozen first place, 13 second and 11 third place awards, including sweeping the best fashion and personal care ad category.

Chris Seiz, Jeffrey Kuhlman, Nora Devin, Andrea Driscoll and Nina Schulze are among the sales reps and graphic designers who have helped reap the advertising awards.

Staff report


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