This November, Clarion took first place in four categories in the International Labor Communicators Association (ILCA) annual labor media awards. Judges gave the PSC’s newspaper the top prize for best editorial or column, best analysis, best profile and best photo, among all local union newspapers published in the US and Canada.
Brooklyn College psychology professor Nancy Romer won first place for best editorial or column for an opinion piece in the December 2009 Clarion. Her editorial questioned the CUNY Research Foundation’s decision to spend $500,000 of University research money on a union-busting law firm during contract negotiations with Research Foundation employees. “Romer’s clear-eyed exposition guides readers through a potentially confusing thicket of details,” the judges wrote. “Using a low-key approach that respects her readers’ intelligence, Romer builds a case on facts, not invective yet reaches an inescapably damning conclusion.”
Eric Laursen took home the prize for best analysis, for his examination of the relationship between the erosion of private-sector pension plans and the growing attacks on public-sector pensions. “We’ve never seen this issue explained so clearly,” the judges wrote. Laursen’s article is in some ways even more timely today than when it was first published.
Freelancer Pat Arnow has worked for a variety of labor publications, and this year her work for Clarion won an unusual pair of prizes in two different categories: best profile and best photograph. Judges praised her profile of former PSC Health & Safety Committee co-chair Dave Kotelchuck as offering “a complete picture of a man with many facets,” from Kotelchuck’s early civil rights activism to his career shift from physics to workplace safety and health. Arnow’s photo prize was for a shot of a striking worker at the Stella D’oro bakery in the Bronx confronting 2009 mayoral candidate Bill Thompson outside the factory gates.
AFT & METRO LABOR
Clarion also received two first-place awards in July in the annual labor media competition among locals of the American Federation of Teachers, the 1.5-million-member national union to which the PSC belongs. Clarion’s designer, Margarita Aguilar, was cited for best design among the AFT’s largest affiliates, while Associate Editor John Tarleton tied for first place for best feature, with his account of Queens College geology professor Stephen Pekar’s research in Antarctica on global warming. Clarion also placed second for general excellence, behind California Teacher.
Earlier in the summer the NYC Metro Labor Communications Council cited Clarion for best illustration among the area’s largest union locals, for Greg Nemec’s illustration on the cover of the Summer 2009 issue. Metro also cited Clarion’s reporting and feature writing, with Tarleton’s second-place award for coverage of the recurrent Blackboard software breakdowns that afflicted CUNY in Spring 2009, and Nicole Lisa’s third-place nod for her profile of Brooklyn College’s Annie Hauck-Lawson, who explores the social fabric of food in New York City.