Blank Slate Media took home seven awards from the Press Club of Long Island for news, headline writing and commentary at the group’s annual gala Thursday night at the Woodbury Country Club in Westbury.
The publication, which puts out six weekly newspapers covering the North Shore, won first place in the category of education reporting, second place in best community weekly newspaper, editorial and government and politics reporting and third place in editorial, best headline and humor column.
“It’s nice to get recognition for the quality and effort we put into the coverage of our local communities,” editor and publisher Steven Blank said in an interview.
Blank Slate Media’s lone first-place award came from coverage of racial disparity in state aid for North Shore School districts by former reporters Robert Pelaez and Steven Keehner.
Two editorials by Steven Blank commenting on former Manhasset Superintendent Vincent Butera, who left the district following a 2020 investigation that found he violated the school district’s sexual harassment policy, and the cross-endorsement of Nassau County judges won third and second place awards, respectively.
Blank said despite not having the same resources as other competing publications such as Newsday a commitment to doing a good job will always produce good journalism.
“A lot of it is about being smart with your resources, being efficient and determining what we’re going to cover,” Blank said. “We have to be selective in what we focus on.”
The Williston Times was awarded a second-place finish in the category of best community weekly newspaper while coverage of the timing of agenda postings before village meetings by Pelaez and reporter Brandon Duffy earned second place in the government and politics category.
“It is an incredible honor to be recognized by the PCLI for our work,” Pelaez said in a statement. “Holding governments and educational institutions accountable is something the staff at Blank Slate takes pride in continuously and I am proud to have contributed to those efforts.”
Former reporter Steven Keehner won a third-place award in the best headline category for a story on a potential dog park in Great Neck’s Allenwood Park titled “Great Neck goes mutts over dog parks”
Columnist Judy Epstein, whose work has appeared in various newspapers since 1997, won third place in the humor category for her column “A Look on the Lighter Side: Who Needs Rules? Not These Players!”
“I am quite honored to be recognized for my work by the Press Club of Long Island, and delighted to be in the Blank Slate newspapers,” Epstein said in a statement.
The awards follow an impressive showing for the publication earlier this year in the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper contest, where Blank Slate Media won six awards for their editorial page, advertising, design and reporting.
Blank Slate Media began operation in 2010 with the purchase of three newspapers – the Great Neck News, New Hyde Park Herald Courier and the Williston Times. The company ultimately grew to six newspapers with the opening of the Manhasset Times, Roslyn Times and Port Washington Times.