The staff of the Jewish Exponent took a number of awards for their work as city, state and national organizations honored the best journalism published in 2005.
"Down to Earth," the Exponent's series on Jewish environmentalism won first place honors in two state competitions: a Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Keystone award for best series and a Pennsylvania Society of Professional Journalists Spotlight award for best environmental reporting.
The series, which was published June 9, 16 and 23 last year and was written by Exponent staffers Bryan Schwartzman, Jordana Jacobs and Joshua Runyan. Schwartzman's piece discussed how the Jewish world had embraced the environmental movement. Jacobs' segment reported the way organizations and synagogues had incorporated environmentalism into their programs; and Runyan analyzed the Jewish input on environmental politics.
Schwartzman and Jacobs also won individual awards.
Jacobs won a second place award from the Philadelphia Press Association for special subject reporting on business for her Dec. 22 cover story, "Ho, Ho, Ho, It's Chanukah," on the way Christmas-style commercialism had influenced Jewish celebrations of the festival of lights.
Schwartzman won second place in excellence in arts and criticism news and features from the American Jewish Press Association for his "Playing Out a Sense of History." The piece, published July 14, discussed a play about Uriah Phillips Levy, a 19th-century, Philadelphia-born, Jewish U.S. Naval officer.
The honor was Schwartzman's first AJPA Simon A. Rockower award.
Executive editor Jonathan S. Tobin won several awards for his writing.
Tobin won first place in the AJPA competition for excellence in editorial writing for his Sept. 1 editorial "The Real Threat Doesn't Come From Missionaries" that discussed the planned descent on Philadelphia by the so-called "Jews for Jesus" movement.
The award was the 13th individual Rockower award won by Tobin in his career and the fourth time he has won for editorial writing.
Tobin was also honored for his work in two different categories by the Philadelphia chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, winning first place for both top editorial columnist in the region as well as for best criticism in a competition in which the work of writers for both daily and weekly newspapers in the region was judged.
Tobin's award for best editorial columnist cited three of his "A Matter of Opinion" columns: his June 30 column "Righteousness Comes Cheap," which criticized the "Live 8" concert's prescription of more foreign aid as the best way to help Third World countries; his Sept. 8 "A New Twist on Intelligent Design" about blaming hurricanes on the sins of political decision makers; and his Dec. 8 "Oh Holiday Tree! Oh Holiday Tree!" about the supposed "war on Christmas."
Tobin's award for best criticism cited three of his columns: his Jan. 27 "Who's the Anti-Semite" that blasted a right-wing rabbi for accusing the stars of the film "Meet the Fockers" of fomenting anti-Semitism; his Feb. 17 "Welcome to Eurabia," which reviewed historian Bat Ye'or's book Eurabia about Islam's infiltration of Europe; and his Dec. 22 "Immoral Equivalence" that dissected "Munich," the Steven Spielberg/Tony Kushner film about the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre.
Tobin also won second place in the Pennsylvania SPJ awards for commentary for his "A Matter of Opinion" columns. The award was his ninth career Pennsylvania SPJ award and his fifth for commentary.
Managing Editor Carin Smilk won third-place honors for interviews/profiles from the Pennsylvania Women's Press Association for her Sept. 15 story, " 'Flounder Bill' and His Honey Just Hit 70 Years of Wedded Bliss" about a local couple. This marked the fifth year in a row that Smilk won a PWPA award.
The winners received their plaques and certificates at awards dinners held in the last month.