Bronx Times wins big at the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest

The Bronx Times placed second statewide in education coverage in the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. Included in the coverage was an off-campus protest of alleged sexual assaults at Fordham University.
Photo Aliya Schneider

The Bronx Times captured seven awards, five for its editorial prestige, at the 2021 New York Press Association Better Newspaper Contest – a high-water mark for the company.

The annual awards, presented during the New York Press Association’s Spring Conference in Saratoga Springs, New York, weigh outstanding, high-quality journalism produced by newspapers throughout the Empire State.

The Bronx Times’ newsroom was recognized in several of the statewide contest’s editorial categories, including News Story, Feature Story, Coverage of Education and Best News or Feature Series – netting a first-place honor, three second-place finishes and an honorable mention. The publication also received praise for graphic designer Mauro DeLuca’s work with a second and third place finish in the Large Space Ad design category.

“We are very proud of the entire Bronx team,” said Joshua Schneps, CEO of Schneps Media, the parent company of the Bronx Times. “They are dedicated to serving our readers and the community with high quality local news that the Bronx can trust and rely on.” 

The Bronx Times took home first place in the News Story category for Robbie Sequeira’s article detailing a new initiative to match the homeless with furnished apartments and a fresh start. In scoring the submission, the judge said, “The first three paragraphs present a way to combat homelessness. … Coverage is excellent, the story is well written, and the documentation is worked into the piece. Certainly, this is a timely story and shows that something is being done in an unusual way. Story grabs my attention.”

A profile of a west Bronx senior living facility and the role it played to help combat homelessness earned first-place recognition at the state’s annual awards conference in Saratoga Springs, New York. Filephoto

In the same category, Aliya Schneider, who joined the Bronx Times as a digital editor in November, was the runner-up for her overview of the new controversial overdose prevention centers in Manhattan and the possibility of those centers making their way into the Bronx. 

A three-part series the Bronx Times rolled out on the state’s legalization of marijuana and planned implementation also landed Sequeira, a reporter with the company since July 2021, a second-place award in the Best News or Features Series.

The paper again placed second for its Coverage of Education, which included Sequeira’s reporting documenting the alleged rape of a student of Fordham University’s Rose Hill campus and pending court case, as well as Schneider’s coverage of the public outcry of campus students upon learning of the incident. Also, included in the submission was Sequeira’s reporting on vaccination policy inconsistencies within the CUNY network of schools and threats of faculty and staff strikes prior to the September 2021 semester.

“Variety of topics/institutions covered showed great overall coverage,” the judge said. “Particularly like the reporters’ abilities to cover an event but take it to the next level, going in depth with both facts and sources to give the full picture and show both sides of every story.”

Sequeira and Schneider also teamed up to receive an honorable mention distinction in the Feature Story category for their December 2021 retrospective of Ruben Diaz Jr.’s lengthy run as Bronx borough president and as a fixture in New York state politics. 

“It’s gratifying to see the effort that our staff puts in on a daily basis be acknowledged,” said Bronx Times Publisher Laura Guerriero. “I know the community recognizes the level of quality that the Bronx Times is producing, and now the rest of New York state does too.”

The impressive showing by the Bronx Times comes on the heels of an editorial reboot, which began in mid-2021 with the reshaping of the newsroom. Since then, the paper has focused its editorial efforts on tackling a wider swath of the borough, gravitating its coverage toward hard news while also taking on storylines and controversies that require in-depth reporting.

Schneps Media — the parent company of more than 70 other publications across New York City, Long Island, Westchester County, Philadelphia and Florida — took home 36 awards in the Better Newspaper Contest. The chain finished the contest with 365 points, the second-highest total for newsgroups across the Empire State.

Reach Christian Falcone at [email protected] or (718) 260-2541. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes