Blank Slate Media’s newspapers won six awards at the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest this weekend for their editorial page, advertising, design and reporting.
The company’s six newspapers received first-place honors for its editorial page, which judges called “smart, literary and an overall fun read,” while the Roslyn Times also earned the top spot for Overall Design Excellence.
The New York Press Association represents all weekly and small daily newspapers in New York State.
Editor and Publisher Steven Blank said the awards reflect the talent and hard work of the entire Blank Slate team while commending the readers themselves for its editorial page recognition.
“Voting is based on not only the quality of the editorial and the columnists, but the letters that we receive from our readers,” Blank said. “This is an award in which our readers share credit. The quality of our letters is really exceptional. We have a very engaged and informed group of people who are reading and commenting on issues with a wide diversity of opinions they express very well.”
Blank Slate Media and a letter it received from a Great Neck resident were featured by The Washington Post in a 2020 article about the state of opinion sections in local newspapers.
Art director Yvonne Farley, who has worked at Blank Slate since 2016, earned first place for Best Advertising Campaign and second place in Division 2 for Best House Advertisement Campaign.
Farley’s work was praised for standout images and eye-catching visuals.
“I am honored to be recognized among so many talented individuals and I am proud to be part of such a motivated, hardworking and dedicated team at Blank Slate Media,” Farley said in a statement.
Fellow layout editor Lorens Rawlings-Morris, a seven-year veteran of the company, earned first place in the contest’s Best Classified Advertising Campaign, winning praise for organizing sections and sub-categories that were easy on the eyes, judges said.
“I was pleasantly shocked. I didn’t realize that the classified section was a category that was considered, so it’s very nice to be recognized,” Rawlings-Morris said.
Reporter Robert Pelaez, who primarily covers the Great Neck and Manhasset areas, also earned an honorable mention award for Best Freedom of Information-based story for his work on village notices for agendas prior to meetings and covering crime statistics in Nassau County.
“I appreciate the recognition from NYPA on my pieces. It’s indicative of the hard work I and the rest of our dedicated reporters do on a daily basis. The hope is to turn that honorable mention into award-winning articles going forward,” Pelaez said. “I also want to congratulate Yvonne Farley, Lorens Morris, Steve Blank and the rest of the Blank Slate Media staff for their respective awards, resulting in the company’s best performance in the annual competition.”
The 90 points in the contest from the six awards are the best results Blank Slate Media has had in the history of the company. For first-place winners 20 points are awarded, while 10 points and three points are awarded for second and third place, respectively.
The point total was tied for the most among groups in Nassau County, equaling The Herald newspapers, which is published by Richner Communications.
The 50 points Blank Slate received for advertising categories tied for second-highest in the state, behind only The Post-Standard, which serves Syracuse and other communities in Central New York.
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.