BY THE VILLAGE SUN | The Village Sun is Downtown Manhattan’s No. 1 award-winning newspaper. Don’t just take it from us — but from the New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.
The Sun racked up six NYPA awards, including first place for best news story, second place for headlines and third place for editorial pages and coverage of religion. The Sun even snagged first place for best promo “house ad.”
The honors were handed out in Albany on March 31 and April 1 at NYPA’s annual spring conference. One hundred fifty-four newspapers from around the state, mostly community papers, submitted entries. The contest period covered 2022. This year’s entries were judged by members of the Colorado Press Association.
Lincoln Anderson, The Village Sun’s editor, won first place for News Story for his article “Security Upgrade: Block associations near Washington Square Park hire guards.” The report described how, last summer, two block associations near the park — frustrated with their streets being used as open-air “drug dens” and toilets — hired private security, and how the guards patrolling the block of W. Fourth Street between the park and Sixth Avenue were armed with handguns. The residents group was advised by a local security expert that the guards needed to be armed since the drug dealers are known to carry weapons.
The judge for this category wrote, “This is a very compelling story about Greenwich Village neighborhoods hiring their own security firms to do what residents think police are unable to do — curb homelessness and drug-related crime in the street. The most compelling aspect is the hiring of armed security guards. … Gunpoint gentrification? I want to read the follow-up.”
The small start-up Sun also won not one but two awards for Headline Writing — second place and honorable mention. This was in an open division for all of New York State, meaning the Sun was competing against newspapers of all sizes, some with much larger staffs, resources and circulation.
Among the paper’s winning headlines, written by Anderson, were “Addicted to the pickle: New racket sport is totally whack” and “Holy sheath! Man brains straphanger with samurai sword in wooden scabbard.” Another was “Arsenic and saving face: City says tainted water tests at Riis Houses were all wet.”
“Lots of energy, great word play, nicely written and engaging,” the judge for this category wrote.
A second entry by the Sun for headlines that won honorable mention included the likes of “Frozen ‘Cube’: Iconic Astor Place sculpture’s pivoting days in the past?” and “Double play: Jackie Robinson Museum honors baseball great who spent his life fighting for civil rights.”
Commenting on this second batch of headlines, the judge wrote, “Shows plenty of thought and a love of words came into play here. Keep up the good work.”
The Village Sun also won third place for Coverage of Religion. The articles included Mary Reinholz’s report on the traditional Latin Mass — which Pope Francis wants suppressed — being said in East Village churches, plus Anderson’s report on the New York Archdiocese allegedly trying to sell off the shuttered St. Veronica’s Church, on Christopher Street, according to a group of congregants who keep vigilant watch on the house of worship.
“Decent enterprise stories with good sourcing,” this judge wrote. (An enterprise story is one where a reporter finds and fleshes out a story on his or her own, as opposed to something readily obtainable, such as from a press release.)
In a very prestigious award, The Village Sun won third place for Best Editorial Page. Again, this was a single, open-division category — not broken out into several award divisions by circulation numbers — meaning the Sun was judged to have the third-best editorial page out of all the community newspapers in New York State.
The entry required editorial pages from three different months. The Sun launched a monthly print version only last September, so there were just four months to choose from — but it proved enough. (Most of the Sun’s contest entries were online articles posted on thevillagesun.com.)
Editorial pages include the editorial, letters to the editor, opinion columns or first-person pieces, plus photos, editorial cartoons or other artwork.
“Easy to jump into opinions all over these pages,” the judge for this category wrote approvingly of the Sun’s entry. “Perfect sprinkle of snark in the house edits [editorials] give these pages a strong and vibrant voice.”
The newspaper’s October editorial pages included a talking point by Bill Weinberg, “An argument against the anti-bike backlash,” plus an editorial on the importance of preserving cultural institutions and de facto community centers in the East Village, including Theater for the New City, Theatre 80 St. Mark’s and the former CHARAS El Bohio.
The Sun’s November editorial pages included an editorial advocating for saving the Elizabeth Street Garden in the wake of a judge’s annulling and voiding the city’s negative declaration that an environmental impact study was not needed to build the Haven Green housing project there. Calling the lawsuit verdict a chance for a “reset,” The Village Sun urged Mayor Adams to break with former Mayor de Blasio and ex-Councilmember Margaret Chin and preserve the beloved garden. Instead, the editorial urged, the housing should be shifted to the open, water-shaft site at Hudson or Clarkson Streets, where many more units could be built, or the federal garage site on Howard St. A talking point by Soho artist Harry Pincus, “What, me worry? Yes, all this too shall pass,” along with his accompanying illustration, was also part of the November editorial page. Pincus’s column starts out with his scoffing at a “Birds Are Not Real” (i.e., they’re drones) rally in Washington Square Park, then goes on to riff about the critical, upcoming midterm elections, New York City’s affordability crisis, Texas’s governor bussing migrants here, and finally — in the view of a veteran of life “who has seen it all before” — puts it all into perspective. Mac McGill’s “The Politician” illustration added artistic flair and another touch of wry commentary to the November pages.
The December editorial pages included an editorial, “Elephant on a scooter,” about Ydanis Rodriguez, the Department of Transportation commissioner, meeting with editors and reporters from the city’s community and ethnic newspapers, and stressing to them that cars are no longer tenable in space-starved New York City and that more people should walk and bike for their health. But Rodriguez was then bombarded with questions and complaints from the media about how one of their readers’ top concerns is the explosion of e-bikes, mopeds and scooters going every which way on the streets and sidewalks. The concerned Fourth Estate members demanded to know if D.O.T. and the city were doing anything to address the chaotic situation. December also featured a notebook piece by writer Michele Herman about how the Harry Potter movie that came out in November 2001 was a welcome and uplifting relief — for children and parents alike — after the world-rocking devastation of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Finally, The Village Sun won first place for Best House Ad / Ad Campaign. Featuring a fan of three of The Village Sun’s print issue front pages, the ad copy tells readers what they won’t get in the newspaper — namely, “half-baked conspiracy theories,” “cutesy blog posts about trivial stuff” and “regurgitated agency press releases.” What they will get, the ad states, is “real, local community news, arts, columns and more that you’ll find nowhere else.” The ad copy was by Anderson and the design was done by Dariya Akdeniz.
Besides The Village Sun, there are three other newspapers that specifically cover at least part of Downtown Manhattan. Two of them are not members of NYPA, so could not participate in the contest. The other won one NYPA award.
The winner of this year’s Stuart C. Dorman Award for editorial excellence, for the paper garnering the most points in editorial categories, was the Times Union of Albany. Boasting a daily print circulation of 67,000, plus a digital version, and owned by the Hearst Communications corporation, the Times Union employs more than 425 people.
Congratulations. You’ve worked hard to merit these awards. So pleased to have you as my community paper.
Congratulations! Well deserved!
congrats… downtown news is covered by you!
Way to go, Lincoln!
“Newspapers are the schoolmasters of the people. That endless book, the newspaper, is our national glory.”-Henry Ward Beecher
Way to go, Lincoln! You’ve always been the best!
greatly deserved … the village sun is always shining!
Congratulations on the multiple awards!! All your diligence and effort are rewarded. Great affirmation! Lincoln, continued great good luck.
yes lincoln, congratulations on all your well-deserved awards. glad to be on board with spreading and sharing your newspaper with others. all the best and keep on rockin!
Am I surprised? Nope
I am so delighted for you, Lincoln. Long overdue for your excellent work!
The Village Sun is truly shining…on you, Lincoln, and on all your work and your dedication to good journalism. I feel lucky to have it as my community paper. Congratulations!!
Great news! Well deserved!
Fantastic! Great news! Congratulations, Lincoln!
Congrats Lincoln! You have earned these awards!!
Well done Lincoln. Congratulations on the well-deserved accolades. Bravo!
We are grateful that you continue to provide the much-needed resource of community-centric news coverage and broad reporting of our downtown issues and interests.
Keep up the great work.
A combination of talent, experience and hard work. Well done!
Congratulations, Lincoln Anderson! Your hard work pays off for the paper and the community!
Congratulations. Great work.
Congrats, Lincoln! Well deserved
Congrats, and thank you for helping to keep the hood alive!
Great job! So glad you are getting recognized for all the hard work you do!!
Congratulations, Lincoln, Mary, and Dariya! It takes a Village! Well-deserved with your unique creative acumen and passion for the news shining through all you do, Lincoln!