Niagara Gazette

April 15, 2013

Gazette's DeLuca, Neiss win distinguished awards

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Gazette took home two top awards during this past week’s New York News Publishers Association ceremony in Albany.

Features Editor Michele DeLuca was recognized for Distinguished Feature Writing for “Wallenda Watch: Leaders hope ‘Wallenda Fever’ is contagious.” DeLuca wrote a series of columns leading up to the famous aerialist’s walk across the Niagara Gorge last June.

Winning entries in the Distinguished Feature Writing category showcase good writing in non-deadline situations, according to the association. Submissions include personality profiles, trend stories, narratives and general features and must demonstrate style, originality and the ability to connect emotionally with the readers.

Photographer James Neiss was in turn recognized for Distinguished News Photography for his “Rescue Turns Tragic.” The February 2012 image shows rescuers pulling a man from the icy waters of Hyde Park Lake.

Winning entries in the Distinguished News Photography category stress news value, timeliness, communicative effectiveness, and skill as shown in composition and technical quality.

Neiss has also received the Bernard J. Kolenberg Award for best in show from the New York State Associated Press Association for “Rescue Turns Tragic.” The photo won first place for spot news in the group’s annual awards contest.

He also earned the grand prize in the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association’s 2012 photo contest for the February 2012 image.

“Once again, these awards highlight the quality of our newsroom staff,” Gazette Publisher Peter Mio said. “I’m proud of Jim and Michele and the recognition they have received.”

Added Managing Editor Matt Winterhalter, “Michele’s columns did a great job of capturing the buzz downtown and throughout the area leading up to Wallenda’s historic walk — and what more can you say about Jim’s amazing photo? It perfectly captures the tragic nature of the rescue.”

DeLuca and Neiss were officially recognized by the New York News Publishers Association at the Continuing Excellence Banquet and Reception on Wednesday in The State Room in Albany. The Gazette competed against newspapers in the 10,000 to 24,999 circulation class.