It was a winning three days for Anton Community Newspapers this past weekend, as editors Daniel J. McCue and Beth Vallianos, and former editor Dave Mock, received six prestigious "better newspaper" awards at the New York Press Association convention held at the Omni Hotel in Albany, New York.
The event was also highlighted by the annual presentation of the Grace S. Anton Memorial Scholarship to two young students with bright futures in journalism.
Mock, the former editor of the Levittown Tribune was honored with two writing awards, third place in the Writer of the Year category and second place for Spot News Coverage. The judges said Mock displayed a "depth of knowledge of the subjects covered and an ability to convey it succinctly."
Mock submitted a variety of articles for this category, including a sports story, an editorial, and a piece on the Levittown 50th Anniversary parade.
In honoring him with an award for spot news coverage, they applauded the October 24 issue of the Levittown Tribune which focused on the community's 50th anniversary celebration. The judges described the issue as a "nicely written and packaged series of stories, filled with nice quotes."
Mock began his career at Anton 14 years ago and served as editor of The Westbury Times and came back last year to serve as editor of the Levittown Tribune. He has since moved on to work at CBS News Radio.
According to Mock this award is, "proof of the dedication of everyone at Anton Newspapers, starting with Mr. Anton."
This year 154 newspapers from throughout New York State submitted more than 3,000 entries. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges from the Maryland/Delaware/Washington, D.C. Press Association.
The awards won by editors McCue and Vallianos were a Writer of the Year award given to McCue at the closing banquet of the convention, as well as awards for feature writing, sports reporting and coverage of religion.
In bestowing the writer of the year award, the judges described McCue as a writer who "is comfortable with the language."
They added, "The way he tells a story is engaging."
Commenting further on the writing and reporting of McCue and Vallianos, the judges described their winning entry in the coverage of religion category, "Manifestations of Hope in Dixie," as "a joy to read."
The judges also lauded the McCue/Vallianos team for their extensive coverage of thoroughbred horse racing in Nassau County.
Of "The Jockey's Life," which received a First Place award, the judges said, "The author definitely knows his subject. Great quotes, good reporting. This story kept me reading to the end, even though I am not a race fan."
Also recognized in the feature writing category was the team's two-part report on the Long Island wine industry.
"A great deal of the credit for the success I've enjoyed must also go to my publisher, Karl V. Anton, Jr., who has given both Beth and myself the freedom to explore some very interesting subjects and stories."
During the convention's closing banquet two students received $2,500 Grace S. Anton Scholarship Awards.
The scholarship was established by publisher Karl V. Anton, a longtime member and friend of the New York Press Association, in memory of his late wife, Grace.
Grace Anton was a columnist, educator, and a lifelong supporter of numerous charitable and civic organizations.
The scholarships were awarded to Noelle Barton, a sophomore at the S.I. Newhouse School of Syracuse University, and Tara Yaekel, a sophomore at the Boston University College of communication.
Ms. Barton is currently working toward a BA with a dual major of newspaper and political science. She has worked since early 1997 as an assistant news editor, editorial board member and staff writer for The Daily Orange, SU's independent, student-run newspaper.
Ms. Yaekel, a two-time recipient of the Grace S. Anton Scholarship Award, is majoring in news-editorial (print) journalism. In addition to her studies, she also worked for her college newspaper, The Daily Free Press, as a reporter and assistant city editor.
For the past two summers, she has worked as a reporter for NYPA member, The Catskill Mountain News.