15th Year Ippies Are Awarded

New York City Council member and chair of the Immigration Committee Carlos Menchaca, addressing the 15th annual Ippies Awards. (Screen shot from CCEM video)

Members of the community and ethnic media gathered at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism the evening of May 18 for the 15th annual Ippies Awards, which honored the best work produced in this independent, non-mainstream media sector in 2016.

Keynote speaker City Council member Carlos Menchaca spoke about the need for information in responding to the federal administration’s “harmful policies that continue to target our people – our immigrants, our Muslims and our undocumented immigrants and the LGBT people.”

In this environment, he said, journalists, elected officials and communities “are all lifting democracy, and it is not easy. We all have to lift that together. That burden is our burden.”

He noted that the hearings on ethnic media that he held last year as chair of the Immigration Committee on the council “changed the game” and brought a new focus by the city on advertising in ethnic media. But, he added, “we are not there yet” and more funding needs to go to ethnic media.

Menchaca represents District 38, which encompasses Sunset Park and Red Hook, as well as other parts of Brooklyn. He gave a shout-out to the Red Hook Star-Revue, noting that while the relationship he’s had with the Brooklyn paper had been “up and down, left and right, in and out.” But he said that this is how journalists and elected officials need to push each other to ensure that information is shared by the communities and New Yorkers who need that information.

As it happens, the Red Hook Star-Revue, founded by co-publisher George Fiala, was honored as the best small circulation (under 30,000) publication this year. The judges said the publication was a “great example of what hyperlocal journalism can accomplish,” and they noted that the community of Red Hook is “lucky to have this local resource.”

Runners-up in the best small circulation category were Norwood News in second place (the paper received the top prize for 2015) and the Polish-language weekly Nowy Dziennik took third place.

The award for best investigative/in-depth story went to BKLYNER for “Troubling Allegations Follow Bay Ridge’s Top Cop” by Rachel Silberstein, and the publication also snagged the top spot for best social issues story with “Elementary School Principal Removed Following Outcry Over Father’s Arrest,” by Alex Ellefson.

Also based in Brooklyn, BRIC TV took first and second place for best video.

The best story about a community went to Denis Cheredov for his story “Russian-Speaking Gays and Lesbians Get a Fresh Start in New York” in ForumDaily, the Russian-language online site.

The 2016 Voices of NY award, given to a member of the community and ethnic press who has done extraordinary work, went to Rong Xiaoqing, reporter with Sing Tao Daily, for the “spectacular job” she does in covering the Chinese community with “sensitivity, detail and nuance.” She also took the third place prize for best story about a community with “Sister Ping’s Alumni,” which the judges called “a haunting account of the legacy of the infamous Golden Venture smuggling ring and its Chinese mastermind.”

Go to the Center for Community and Ethnic Media’s website for a full list of the winners.

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