I waited anxiously to hear the results of the annual New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest, which was held virtually this year. It’s the Oscars of our community newspaper world, and we were in it to win it. AND WIN WE DID!
In the 35 years since I founded our first community newspaper, The Queens Courier, I’ve attended the annual event that brings more than 100 community newspaper publishers and their staff together to learn, dine and cheer for our teams of reporters, publishers, newspaper designers and sales team.
I always looked forward to the program that NYPA Executive Director Michele Rea created to help us in our news business. One of my favorite training sessions were the speakers talking about time management and sales ideas. I always attended those sessions, knowing that doing so would mean sharpening my skills.
Some of the best advice I received was from the speaker who showed to efficiently practice time management. The speaker showed us slides with pictures of a daily calendar, blocked out by hours. His advice: Plan your workday by blocks of hours. That means leaving time to read emails; time to send emails; time to make sales calls; time to visit clients; and time to do “paper” work.
It struck me how important structuring my day is and how precious time—the only thing that limits us in this world—really is.
With COVID holding us captive ahead of this year’s NYPA contest, I missed the camaraderie of seeing my own staff in person and getting ideas from colleagues around the state. At lunch and dinner in past years, I sat at the edge of my seat waiting anxiously for the slides on the big screen to show the winners. I was always so proud to jump out of my seat again and again to accept, on behalf of my staff, the awards they earned.
While this year’s virtual awards ceremony sadly stopped me from popping out of my seat, I cannot stop myself from bursting with pride, as our team won 49 awards in total! Astounding!
Among the many award-winners was Brooklyn Paper reporter Rose Adams, whose stellar work covering deaths in adult care centers during the pandemic in Brooklyn earned a first place THOMAS BUTSON AWARD for in-depth reporting in Division 4, the largest circulation division. The judges recognized her work “as one of the most compelling stories published by a New York state journalist all of last year.” Remarkable considering all that was written on the topic!
Since I started Schneps Media in Queens, I was especially proud to see a first place award for the BEST NEWS WEBSITE in New York state for QNS.com, the online home of The Queens Courier, Ridgewood Times and TimesLedger Newspapers.
Our daily newspaper amNewYork Metro won Best Front Page and earned first place for Spot News Coverage in the largest circulating division.
Dan’s Papers, our latest acquisition, won first place for Best Large Space ad.
And Gay City News won 12 awards, including three for first place! I was especially proud of their honorable mention for the SHARON R. FULMER AWARD for community leadership.
My staff inspired me to believe that this is just the beginning—we can now aim for a Pulitzer Prize! I love reaching for the stars!
Recognizing business leaders
With the sun shining brightly warming our faces and souls we safely gathered leaders in law and real estate at the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City on their rooftop overlooking the spectacular Queensboro Bridge.
My events team gathered these ”stars” and I had the pleasure of recognizing them as they walked the red carpet proudly holding their “Vicki” statues.
Henry Ramos, videographer extraordinaire, brought the event to life, and Mike Kouros of Bravo Sound played each honoree’s favorite music. What fun!
I think the best part of my news business is meeting people who have made an impact on all of our lives and recognizing them for their contributions. Their joy at being recognized was my joy!
Dining out with a chief
Lucky for me, my life is filled with dinners and lunches with friends and business associates.
This week, I met Bryan Polite, the newly re-elected chairman of the Shinnecock Nation in Southampton.
Bryan and I had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants: Union Sushi & Steak in Southampton. The terrific eatery is ably run and owned by Ian Duke, who has created safe places to dine, both indoors and outdoors. My favorite table is in the terrace room.
Thanks to Dr. Peter Micholas, I bring a UVC air sanitizer with me whenever I dine out. I have learned to bring an extension cord with me so I can plug it in wherever I go.
Since I came to be on the East End of Long Island, I wanted to know more about the Shinnecock Nation, a federally recognized tribe with a vibrant leader. They make up a critical part of the community in both land and influence. The tribe owns property and has talked about building a casino since 2007. Those talks continue to this day.
Bryan, a John Jay college graduate, discussed with me his great pride in his nation, as well as his hopes and dreams. He’s a man on a mission with a true passion for his people. I hope to get to know him and his tribe better, as they are a vital part of our community.
Josh and I are scheduled for lunch with his tribal council. Stay tuned!