Weekly NYC Paper Sweeps Its Own Awards

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While The New York Times was racking up Pulitzers for its Sept. 11 coverage, a Manhattan weekly near Ground Zero was laureled for its own coverage of the same events.

The Villager, a weekly with an approximate circulation of 10,000, picked up numerous awards in the recent New York Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, which honors community newspapers. (A complete list of winners can be seen at http://www.nynewspapers.com/.)

In fact, The Villager was honored with the Stuart C. Dorman Award, which is presented to the newspaper scoring the highest point total in editorial categories. All told, The Villager picked up 15 awards, including seven first-place editorial prizes, many for coverage of the terrorist attacks and their aftermath on lower Manhattan.

Working from offices only blocks away from the World Trade Center site, the full-time staff of 15 missed its usual Wednesday publication on Sept. 12, but managed to get an issue out by Friday, Sept. 14. A profile of The Villager written for the press association said: “Somehow it seems exactly right that the community newspaper published in lower Manhattan should win the 2001 Dorman Award … [The Villager] has reached a new level of excellence in the last six months.”

Villager Publisher John W. Sutter also reports that his free biweekly Downtown Express, which serves all of lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, managed to survive the permanent or temporary closing of many of its advertisers. Sutter said the paper survived thanks to an emergency city government subsidy that covers one third of the cost of advertising for small businesses. Sutter said he asked the businesses to pick up one third, with the newspaper dropping the last third of the advertising price. And in the interest of providing timely news, the publisher actually increased the publication frequency of Downtown Express to weekly.

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