PAPER PRIZE Accolades for Ratner coverage

The Brooklyn Paper
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Praising The Brooklyn Papers “on a courageous piece of work” in its “Not Just Nets” coverage of developer Bruce Ratner’s “Atlantic Yards” plan, the National Newspaper Association this week awarded the newspaper its top prize for Best Investigative or In-depth Story or Series.

The 120-year-old NNA, with 3,200 daily and weekly community newspaper members, is the nation’s largest newspaper association.

Throughout 2004, The Brooklyn Papers coverage of Ratner’s proposal set the newspapers apart from the city’s other media, which ignored or downplayed the project’s impact.

Brooklyn Papers readers were repeatedly reminded that the project was a multi-billion-dollar super-block mega-development involving more than a dozen apartment high-rises and several office skyscrapers. The Papers pointed out that the story was not, as generally portrayed in other media, primarily about construction of an arena for the New Jersey Nets basketball team; the arena would fill only a small portion of the site.

“Your commitment to the truth shines through,” wrote the judges. “This is what it’s all about.”
In a related citation, the NNA awarded The Papers an Honorable Mention for Community Service.

“In many ways, you were just doing your job,” wrote the judges. “However, staying the course when all around you have a different agenda was worthy of recognition.”

Papers Editor Neil Sloane attended the Oct. 1 award ceremony at the NNA’s annual convention in Milwaukee, Wisc., and accepted the prizes on behalf of The Papers.

Additional awards were presented to The Papers for:

•Best Breaking News Story (second place) for “Death on the job,” about a balcony collapse at a condominium under construction in Bay Ridge that resulted in a day laborer’s death.

“Good reaction included with little notice,” the judges wrote.

•Best Serious Column (third place) for Sloane’s piece, “CB2 blows it big time,” which decried the community board’s inability to weigh in on the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning proposal during the rezoning plan’s public review period.

Of the column, the judges wrote:
“An orange in a basket of apples. This is a great example of a lost facet of journalism — alive and well in Brooklyn! Timely, courageous and informative in both meeting coverage and the background you bring in — you’re the expert in your community. Well done.”

•Best Performing Arts Story (honorable mention) for GO Brooklyn Editor Lisa Curtis’ “Water torture,” an interview with the Brooklyn Heights couple who wrote and directed the movie “Open Water.”

•Best Feature Story (honorable mention) for an article headlined “Hoop dream a nightmare for residents, businesses in path of Ratner project.”

In the first place award for The Papers’ “Not Just Nets” coverage, NNA judges cited the work of Sloane and reporters Jess Wisloski and Deborah Kolben.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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