In 2011, an investigative, three-part story looked back on how Manhattan’s Chinatown has changed in the decade since the World Trade Center attack. The story riveted its readers, but most of the city never saw it, because the story by reporters Meng Fang, Tu Yichen and Law Wai Ki was printed in World Journal, the Chinese-language newspaper based in Queens. But on the evening of April 12, 2012, these journalists received broader recognition for their work when they won first prize in the “best investigative story” category at the 10th Annual Ippies Awards.
New York City is filled with community and ethnic media organizations whose journalists shed light on issues often untouched by the big newspapers and radio and televisions news stations, and also provide vital current events information to non-English speakers. For the past ten years, New York’s independent and minority media makers have been honored by the annual Ippies Awards, a ceremony created by Voices of New York, a project of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
This year’s event was emceed by Errol Louis, the host of “Inside City Hall” on NY1, who got his start at the Bed Stuy-based community paper, Our Time Press. Guest speaker Connie Chung spoke passionately about the need for community media, and the obstacles that often prevent mainstream media from covering issues impacting immigrant communities.
“I can look at various stories that I’ve seen lately, for instance, the Muslim that was brutally beaten in her own home, the Asian student who killed a number of Asian students out in California. I saw very little, quite frankly, on those stories compared to other similar stories that occurred to people who were not either Muslim or Asian. I find that very troubling and I think that if you infiltrate the mainstream media, you might be very effective in raising your voices,” said Chung.
This year, the Ippies received over 240 entries from 46 publications and a small group of freelance journalists in the New York area. A panel of judges selected first, second and third place winners in 10 categories. These were the first place award recipients other than the World Journal team:
Best Multimedia Package
First prize in this category was awarded to the staff of the Manhattan news website, DNAinfo, for their project, “Crime and Safety Analysis Delivers Surprises Across the Five Boroughs.” The multimedia initiative organized a variety of crime statistics to paint a broad portrait of crime in each city neighborhood, which users can interact with to break up different kinds of statistics and locations.
The winner of the best use of audio in reporting was Monica Miller of WBGO 88.3 FM, for her story, “Newark Roll Call.” In the radio piece, Miller detailed the growing tension between community members and Newark’s police force.
Nate Lavey from The Forward won this award for “Living Apart in Crown Heights,” which the judges described as a balanced and honest account of the relationship between the neighborhood’s black and Jewish residents, 20 years after the infamous Crown Heights riots.
Nate Lavey’s award winning piece, “Living Apart in Crown Heights,” details relationships between the Brooklyn neighborhood’s black and Jewish residents. Video Courtesy of Jewish Daily Forward.
Riverdale Press photographer Karsten Moran’s image of a gay marriage supporter counter-protesting State Senator Ruben Diaz, Jr.’s anti-gay marriage protest won her the top photo prize. The photograph was featured in the story, “Albany Votes to Approve Same Sex Marriage,” by Adam Wisnieski.
Best Photo Essay
A. Jesse Jiryu Davis, a contributor to the Lower East Side newspaper, the Lo-Down, won for his slideshow,”Strangers.” Davis’ starkly contrasted black and white photographs of Lower East Side residents paint a nuanced portrait of the vibrant and constantly changing neighborhood.
Best Overall Design of an Online Publication
Nick Sadowski designed the Polish-language daily news website, Nowy Dziennik. The judges lauded the site’s clear visual hierarchies and clean design.
Best Overall Design of a Print Publication
Kurt Hoffmann took first place for his design of The Forward, a Jewish daily newspaper. Judges credited Hoffmann’s clever infographics, selective use of photography and organized layout.
Best Editorial or Commentary
In his story “Scam U” for YCTeen, reporter Marco Salazar used his personal experiences as an entrance point to investigate how low-income high school students are pressured into attending under-performing for-profit universities.
Best Article on Immigration or Social Justice
Written for the Haitian community newspaper, Haiti Liberté, reporters Dan Coughlin and Kim Ives’ “Washington Backed Famous Brand-Name Contractors in Fight Against Haiti’s Minimum Wage Increase” explored how people in power suppressed Haitian workers who were making 22 cents an hour.