The Crescent City Jewish News was singled out by the Press Club of New Orleans for a first place prize in Writing and InfoGraphics at the 56th Annual Excellence in Journalism Awards at Harrah’s Casino on Saturday night, July 19.
Both CCJN editor Alan Smason and Xavier University archivist Irwin Lachoff, who contributed to the lengthy article and timeline, were on hand to accept the award at the opulent dinner held in the Harrah’s Theater.
Arlene Smason Wieder, who is CCJN marketing and advertising director, was also cited by the Press Club as an author and contributor to the article. Preparing in Cleveland to attend the Hadassah National Convention in Las Vegas, which starts today, she was unable to attend.
In a nod to her work as president of the Greater Cleveland Chapter of Hadassah, Wieder will be receiving the June Walker Advocacy in Action Award for a program she instituted there in November of 2013 on human trafficking.
All three – Smason, Lachoff and Wieder – are registered members of the Press Club of New Orleans. Lachoff attended with his wife Judy Antin Lacoff, while Smason attended the affair with family matriarch Annette Smith Smason.
“Some people may not realize this, but the Press Club of New Orleans does not judge its own submissions,” Alan Smason pointed out. “The judges for all these awards are not at all local.” Looking over the list of participating professional journalist judges, he noted they represent the Florida Press Club, the Los Angeles Press Club, the Milwaukee Press Club, the Press Club of Cleveland, the Press Club of Southeast Texas, the San Diego Press Club, the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists – Utah Headliners and the Syracuse Press Club.
“Members of the Press Club of New Orleans are often called upon to judge the submissions of these national august bodies of journalists as well,” he continued. “But because of the judging standards imposed in the process, the Press Club of New Orleans Excellence in Journalism Awards are not, strictly speaking, local awards. They are, in fact, nationally judged and, therefore, nationally recognized awards.”
In addition to the recognition of the CCJN, local Jewish investigative reporters David Hammer of WWL-TV and Lee Zurik of WVUE-TV were also singled out for reports they filed as news broadcasters. Zurik was cited with a first place Investigative Reporting award, while Hammer was singled out with a first place Continuing Coverage award. Hammer also received the special Jim Metcalf Memorial Award as the best of the first-place winners in broadcast writing.
Smason also was pleased to note that “Steppin’ Out,” the weekly arts and entertainment program on which he has appeared for the past three years as theatre critic and reviewer, was cited as the Best Talk Show for the first time in its 29-year history. Host and producer Peggy Scott Laborde picked up the award on behalf of WYES-TV.