Tag Archives | Tim O’Brien

New! NJ SPJ contest categories

Our chapter IS accepting entries for an expanded 2018 journalism contest!
Click here to get an overview of our contest.
Click here to go directly to our contest submission form.

Last year we scaled back our contest to four signature award categories. This year, we are expanding the competition to 11 categories, including:

  • The Ron Miskoff award for outstanding journalism educator of the year.
  • The Barbara Reed award for outstanding ethnic publication.
  • The Gabe Pressman award for best video news story.
  • The Herbert Morrison award for best audio news story.
  • The David Carr award for Reporter of the Year.
  • The Grassroots Journalism award for best coverage by a weekly or hyperlocal.
  • Best investigative journalism by a weekly publication.
  • Best investigative journalism by a daily publication.

We will still honor the winners of our traditional signature awards:

  • The Stuart and Beverly Awbrey award for public service by a weekly or hyperlocal publication.
  • The Tim O’Brien award for best use of public records in a story.
  • The Wilson Barto – for outstanding “rookie” journalist of the year.

What I particularly like about these new categories is that they will also keep alive the legacy of the people for whom they are named.

Barbara Reed and Ron Miskoff are former presidents of the New Jersey SPJ chapter and loyal SPJ members.

David Carr was an inspirational reporter for the New York Times and an SPJ member who lived in Montclair.

Gabe Pressman was a legendary New York City television journalist who got his start at the Newark Evening News.

And Herbert Morrison was the radio reporter whose dramatic on-the-scene report of the Hindenburg explosion will never be forgotten.

Watch for more details in early January on contest guidelines and how to enter.

New board member

My Record colleague Melanie Anzidei recently joined the SPJ New Jersey board of directors. Melanie covers Hackensack for the newspaper. She will fill the unexpired term of Matt McGrath, who stepped down from the board recently.

I’d like to close the year by thanking all our board members for their work on behalf of SPJ during 2018.

They are:

  • Jane Primerano, regional director
  • Miriam Ascarelli, vice president
  • Emily Kratzer, secretary
  • Elizabeth Oguss, treasurer
  • Melanie Anzidei
  • Robert Bugai
  • Nicholas Hirshon
  • David Levitt
  • Claire Regan
  • Bob Schapiro
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Award winners improve NJ

From left, Nicholas Muscavage, Stephen Stirling, Karin Price Muller, Susan Livio and Christine O’Brien at the NJ Society of Professional Journalists awards lunch June 16, 2018.

The winners are …

Plumbers in New Jersey crooked? It’s a negative stereotype, but one reporter’s work exposing exploitative business practices won her the Awbrey Award for community journalism.

Karin Price Mueller was one of the winners of our Signature Journalism Awards who spoke eloquently about their work during our lunch on June 16. We gathered at the Maize Restaurant at the Robert Treat Hotel in Newark.

Her “Bamboozled” column, which runs in the Star-Ledger and at NJ.com, garnered these comments from members of SPJ’s Alaska chapter, which judged the contest:

“Her research and writing, including excellent use of significant community input, led to direct results. ‘Bamboozled’ fairly demonstrated the questionable practices of one of New Jersey’s largest plumbing companies. And it helped victims win refunds and apologies, while keeping other community members from being ripped off. I would imagine her effort especially helped improve the lives and finances of vulnerable residents, especially those with low incomes.”

The O’Briens

In introducing the Tim O’Brien Award, for best use of public records, his daughter Christine O’Brien recalled her late father’s love of getting into a story, digging for facts and the spirit of the newsroom.

The judges gave first place to Sean Sullivan and Stephen Stirling of the Star-Ledger and NJ.com, for a story about failings in New Jersey’s medical examiners’ offices. Their comments were:

“Even in this worthy field, one entry stands out: Death and Dysfunction, by Sean Sullivan and Stephen Stirling of The Star-Ledger and NJ.com. This work displayed tenacity in applying open records requests, skill in writing and presentation, and solid results that rippled through the Office of the Governor, Attorney General, Department of Health and elsewhere. It will affect millions of citizens. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once proclaimed, ‘Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.’ These journalists have added an emphatic ‘Amen’ to that observation.”

Second place went to Susan Livio, of the Star-Ledger and NJ.com. The judges said: A heartbreaking story of human frailty and failure, ‘The Last Good Night,’ (is a) more circumscribed but no less compelling story, notable for its solid foundation, unusual access and gripping narrative.

Third place went to David Matthau and Sergio Bichao, of New Jersey 101.5, for revealing that doctors can still practice after criminal sexual offenses, with the judge saying “That surely was shocking news to patients all over New Jersey.”

The Barto

The Wilson Barto Award for Rookie of the Year went to Nick Muscavage of the Courier News in Somerville.…

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