The Ippies Awards: NY Ethnic Media Honored

 The Ippies Awards: NY Ethnic Media Honored

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NEW YORK — The 11th annual Ippies Awards once again delivered on its promise: honor the ethnic and community media in the New York area and give them prizes for excellent stories reported in both English and other languages.

In a ceremony held at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media March 28 and attended by about 150 people, this year’s big winners included a Chinese-language daily, a community online site that focuses on NYC’s five boroughs, a Polish-language weekly, and an African-American magazine.

Since 2002, the Ippies Awards have been a tool to strengthen the New York’s ethnic media through collaboration among the sector. They also serve to draw the mainstream media’s attention about issues critical to ethnic and minority communities.

“Awards are a valediction of what you [journalists] do,” said Garry Pierre-Pierre, executive director of CUNY’s Center for Community and Ethnic Media, via e-mail a day before the ceremony. “The ethnic media has few places where its work is recognized, so what the Ippies do is to provide a platform for people to see the great work being published by these publications. The mainstream media take notice, and the journalists from the ethnic publications get energized and want to do better.”

Pierre-Pierre observed that the future of ethnic media “is bright but challenging,” and it was important to make them profitable. He said he believed the web and mobile platforms could help achieve that.
Keynote speaker S. Mitra Kalita, the ideas editor at Quartz, a global economy startup of the Atlantic Media, lamented that newsrooms continue to be predominantly white.

“While your model (of news) and mine have come much closer together,” she told the ethnic media practitioners in the audience, “the composition of newsrooms today remains abysmally white. I argue it's actually gotten worse than when I entered journalism.”

About 93 percent of front-page articles on the 2012 presidential election were written by white reporters, Kalita said noting that “the American Society of Newspaper Editors says minority representation in newsrooms peaked in 2006 to about 14 percent, but it has fallen every year since then."

For this year’s Ippie Awards, there were 183 entries from 56 publications, including from freelancers, according to Jehangir Khattak, awards coordinator. Judges were drawn from the faculty and adjunct professors at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, as well as there were some professional journalists.

For senior reporter Rong Xiaoqing of Sing Tao Daily, who is one of this year’s winners, “The Ippies help promote our work to the broader society and boost our self-esteem by assuring us that our work matters. For me, personally, with some awards shining in the resume — it doesn't hurt.” Xiaoqing has won Ippie Awards in past years.

Below is the list of this year’s winners:
• Best Multimedia Package: “Ripple Effect: Bethpage’s Toxic Plume Creeps Closer to Contaminating More Public Drinking Water Supplies,” by Long Island Press --

• Best Video: “Chinatown After the Storm,” by Fan Bu, Melody Cao, Mumi Zhao and Tian Tian, SinoVision --

• Best Photograph: Joseph Tabacca, – of the funeral for 13-year old Ronald Wallace, a Brownsville boy who was shot in August 2012 --

• Best Design of a multi-media publication: Long Island, Chris Twarowski
• Best overall design of a print publication: Nueva Luz – a journal of fine art and documentary photography published three times a year, Mirian Romais, Olga Omelchenko, Carla Williams and Quiana Mestrich

• Editorial/Commentary: “Inmate to College Student,” by Marlo Scott, Represent Magazine

• Best article on a social issue: “Education in the Bronx,” by Patrick Wall,

• Best story about an immigrant community: “Divided by Affirmative Action,” Rong Xiaoqing, Sing Tao Daily --

• Best Investigative or In-Depth Story: “Big Trouble for Chinatown Lawyers,” by Shuman Deng, China Press