Courier Wins First Place
The Putnam County Courier has nabbed first place for in-depth reporting on the Vincent Leibell corruption scandal, one of five statewide awards for excellence in reporting and advertising given to the Courier and its sister paper during the annual meeting of the New York Press Association, Publisher Elizabeth Ailes announced.
The Press Association met over the weekend at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs. Representing Ailes’s newspapers were Douglas Cunningham, associate publisher of the Courier and the Putnam County News & Recorder, who took part in the state board meeting of the group on Thursday, as well as Associate Editor and Reporter Annie Chesnut and Graphics Assistant and Photographer Chris Layton.
Throughout the weekend, the Press Association also gave out its coveted Better Newspaper Awards—and Ailes’s newspapers received two first-place citations. The first went to the Courier and Cunningham, for In- Depth Reporting, including a Sept. 22 special report, “Money Greased Putnam Scandal,” which examined the role of the Putnam Community Foundation in Leibell’s wrongdoing. The after-effects of the scandal continue to this day, and the Courier continues to vigorously report on developments.
In other categories, the newspapers received 2nd Place recognition for an Art Photo by Chris Layton; a 3rd place award for Coverage of Local Government, much of it led by Chesnut; and an Honorable Mention for Best Small Space Ad, again designed by Mellon.
“We are committed to serving our communities with the best journalism we possibly can, both in a news sense and in connecting advertisers with valuable customers,” Mrs. Ailes said after the awards were announced. “I congratulate Doug, Matt, Ann and Chris, for their outstanding work this past year. It is a pleasure to work with these fine people. They are professionals, and know how to work as a team. We will continue to strive for excellence in our papers and accountability from public officials in our communities.”
The key take-away message this year, said Chesnut upon returning from the statewide gathering, was this: “Weekly newspapers, particularly in small communities like the ones we serve in Carmel and Cold Spring, are flourishing. It was very positive to see such optimism.”