This has been a year of milestones for the Jewish Exponent: The paper not only celebrated its 125th anniversary but within the last few weeks has instituted a brand new online operation (still found at jewishexponent.com), along with a redesign of its print product.
As the year draws to a close, the paper recently received news of the last of its record 31 journalism awards for the work it produced in 2011.
Back in June, the paper reported on the first 15 awards the Exponent pulled in between the annual Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter’s “Spotlight Contest” and the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s Keystone Awards.
Since then, the newspaper garnered awards in three other competitions. The first of these was the annual American Jewish Press Association’s Simon Rockower Awards.
In the category of Excellence in Feature Writing, Staff Writer Bryan Schwartzman received second place for “Riding Rough Tide of Muslim Relations,” which looked at Muslim-Jewish relations in the city and suburbs.
In the category of Excellence in Overall Graphic Design, Graphics Editor Julia V. Elkin and her staff took first prize.
In the Philadelphia Press Association’s annual awards competition, the Exponent racked up several prizes in the weekly newspaper division.
Executive Editor Lisa Hostein won both second and third places for editorial comment.
Staff Writer Schwartzman got a second place and an honorable mention in the newspaper writing category for the above-mentioned “Muslim Relations” and “The Untold Story of Josh Fattal,” about the release of the local Jewish hiker held for two years in an Iranian jail for spying.
Schwartzman placed first in sports coverage from the PPA for “She Makes Aliyah to Have a Shot at Soccer,” about a local woman who went to Israel to see if she could play professionally.
The Exponent took two places in headline writing: third place to Senior Editor Robert Leiter for “South Dakota Lawman Hunting for Wider Exposure” and honorable mention to Features Editor Michael Elkin for “This Bat Man Not at Home as Crusader.”
Also in sports, Elkin won honorable mention for his “Jews and Baseball” piece concerning the nearly sacred relationship Jews have toward that particular spheroid.
In special subject writing, Leiter won third place and honorable mention for “Approaching Shoah, Again and Again,” about a trip to Berlin, Germany, and “A Land of Grey Specters,” about the American premiere by Philadelphia’s Wilma Theatre of the Polish play Our Class, based on the Jedwabne massacre of Jews during the Nazi period.
Two freelancers for the Exponent captured PPA awards: Jared Shelly nabbed third place in business coverage for “He Brews He’Brews Not Just for Hebrews” about Jewish microbrewers, and photographer Gregory Bezanis took second place for his photo of the National Museum of American Jewish History that accompanied the story, “With One Year Down, Museum Takes Inventory.”
PPA also gave second place to the Exponent for overall weekly coverage.
Last but not least, the Society of Professional Journalists Philadelphia Chapter gave Leiter third place in the criticism category based on three samples of his former weekly book column.