GHENT–The Columbia Paper received four awards for journalism from the New York Press Association at the association’s annual conference held last week in Saratoga Springs.
Editor and reporter Diane Valden received two of the awards, both for news reporting. Reporter Debora Gilbert was recognized in the “In-Depth Reporting” category and editor and publisher Parry Teasdale received an award for editorial writing.
The members of the Press Association are community newspapers of all sizes throughout the state, and its Excellence Awards are part of the annual Better Newspaper Contest in which papers of roughly similar size submit entries in specified categories and are judged by journalists from another state. The Columbia Paper competes in Division 1, which includes papers that circulate fewer than 5,000 copies a week.
Ms. Valden won a second place award for her reporting on the shooting of a horse in Copake in a story headlined “Who shot Luna?” published October 13, 2011. The story was cited for the quality of the writing and the reporting.
She won a third place award for “New bear dropped off here,” a report on a bear that had wandered from Connecticut to Poughkeepsie and was then transported to southern Columbia County by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The judge said that story, published May 5, 2011, was “fun,” adding that the “informal nature of the writing is catchy.”
Ms. Gilbert’s award was a Second Place in the In-Depth category for her story on the gift from the Barbara Bush Foundation to the Hudson School District for the Hudson Family Literacy Program. The judge in this category did not comment on any of the winning entries.
Mr. Teasdale received a second place award for editorials, based on three entries: an anti-Semitic remark by a Taghkanic town official, urging state Senator Steve Saland to vote for the same-sex marriage bill and one on stormwater that pollutes the Hudson River when the City of Hudson sewers overflow. The judge described the editorials as “readable, eloquent and timely.”