ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Yael Katzwer, the managing editor of the News-Record of Maplewood and South Orange, as well as the West Orange Chronicle, and Rebecca Panico, a Union County LocalSource staff writer, have been honored by the New Jersey Press Association in its 2017 Newspaper Contest.
Both publications are owned by Worrall Community Newspapers.
Katzwer won a first-place award in the division for weekly newspapers with a circulation of fewer than 6,500 in her coverage of crime and courts, and also took second-place award for environmental, health and science reporting.
Katzwer’s first-place win was for a series of stories that dealt with the saga of former Maplewood Police Chief Robert Cimino and police misbehavior toward black teens in town. The second-place win was for coverage of the detection of lead in the water at schools in South Orange and Maplewood.
The judges lauded Katzwer in the environmental-health category for “great detail on an urgent threat as real as the water communities depend on.”
Panico was awarded second-place award for the Robert P. Kelly Award, a category among weekly publications with a circulation more than 6,500 for full-time reporters with fewer than 12 months experience.
She was chosen for a pair of articles submitted: one on the debate in Linden about whether to allow marijuana sales within the municipality if the state legalizes or decriminalizes the drug, and a second on an investigation uncovering the disciplinary history of Hillside Police Chief Vincent Ricciardi.
The judges commended Panico for her “solid, thorough reporting.”