Five Years of Winning


And a First Place for Katie McFadden


Five years in business, and five years in a row as an award-winning newspaper. The Rockaway Times was once again awarded by the New York Press Association, with this year being a big one for Managing Editor Katie McFadden, who earned a first place win for feature story.

Some of The Rockaway Times crew made the trip up to Albany last weekend for this year’s NYPA Spring Conference and announcement of the 2018 Better Newspaper Contest awards. The event held at the Hilton Albany, featured a program of various lectures from professionals in the newspaper business. Each year, hundreds of staff from newspapers across the state attend this yearly conference.

This year, McFadden took home first place for feature story in Division 4 for her June 2018 story, “The Golden Venture 25 Years Later,” which told the story of rescuers responding to the stranding of the ship that carried nearly 300 Chinese immigrants off of Fort Tilden. The judge’s comments on the story read, “This story is written in such a way that it feels like you, the reader, were actually there at the time the Chinese immigrants were smuggled aboard the Golden Venture. The way the incident seemed one way at first encounter turned out to be something so much more intense. What an incredible situation. It could be a movie.” McFadden received a wooden plaque for winning first place.

The Feature Story category is the most competitive category in the whole Better Newspaper Contest. This year, there were a total of 300 entries in the category. McFadden’s award was for Division 4, which had 49 submissions. This is the third time McFadden has been awarded in this category, with a second place win in the 2017 contest and an honorable mention for the 2016 contest.

That wasn’t the only award of the weekend! The Rockaway Times also took home third place and an honorable mention for Spot News Photo and third place for Picture Story. Andrew Nellen’s photo of his daughter fishing off her porch in a flooded Broad Channel took the third place Spot New Photo win. The judges said, “As it should, the photo tells it all. Nice job.” Dougie MacLeod’s photo of a cop carrying an elderly man away from a fire at Dayton Towers got an honorable mention, with the judges saying, “Wow. Gripping photo.” The Spot News Photo category had a total of 64 entries, with 23 in Division 2, which The Rockaway Times was in.

The third place for Picture Story was a series of photos showing some after Hurricane Sandy scenes and how those areas look six years after the storm. The photos were taken by Publisher Kevin Boyle and other various contributors. This category had a total of 64 entries, with 15 in Division 2.

Fortunately, we weren’t the ones to win Blooper of the Year, like last year! Just goes to show The Rockaway Times is a FREE paper with quality that is always improving!