The Gazette receives journalism awards


The two awards The Gazette received. (Image from the Gazette)

HAMMONTON—The Hammonton Gazette received two prizes from the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists (NJ-SPJ) in July 2021.

Gazette Editor-in-Chief Gina Rullo received a Certificate of Excellence in Investigative Reporting, and Rullo and Gazette Publisher Gabriel J. Donio received the Courage Under Fire Award for a series of articles published regarding the commercial actions of Mayor Stephen DiDonato.

Robert Schapiro, the president of the NJ-SPJ, said The Gazette who decided which prizes were awarded.

“The New Jersey board of directors did not award the investigative journalism award… These awards are judged by a foreign jury; we have no control over them. But, she won another award with the same story that is conferred by the New Jersey board of directors, and that was Courage Under Fire, ”Schapiro said.

Comments from the out-of-state jury for investigative journalism, which Schapiro provided to The Gazette– noted that Rullo “confronted the mayor of a small town who clearly tried to end the story”.

“Its impact was not necessarily large, but significant nonetheless. It was clear that the journalist and the newspaper had been targeted before, during and after the publication of these articles. The fact that neither backed down shows their commitment to uncovering the truth, ”the comments read.

According to the information that Schapiro provided to The Gazette, the Courage Under Fire Award is “given to those who maintain journalistic integrity when this involves a real risk to their reputation, career or even their personal safety or freedom.”

Schapiro said Donio only submitted Rullo’s name for this award.

“We thought he should get it as well, because we’ve had cases where reporters have fought against the town hall – or whoever it is – and there are threats against the ad base, and publishers are fighting. fold… We think of editors as journalists, and when they are under pressure, then they are very good journalists, ”Schapiro said.

The NJ-SPJ Courage Under Fire Award includes the following words engraved on marble under the image of a lion:

“The Courage Under Fire Award is given to those who maintain journalistic integrity when it involves a real risk to their reputation, career or even their safety or personal freedom,” the award says.

Schapiro said the Courage Under Fire award had not been awarded for two years.

“This year we handed out quite a few, and most of it went to photographers. Those of Gina and Gabriel are the only ones not to have gone to the photographers. This is precisely because newspaper advertising is such a precarious thing these days. A lot of newspapers just hang on. It takes guts. This is what my colleague, who judged for the Courage Under Fire award, said: this story has taken guts. It was a series of stories, and they stuck to it – and there was a threat. When they threaten your advertising, there is a threat, ”Schapiro said.

Rullo said she was “honored to receive these awards”.

“It’s wonderful to see investigative journalism being recognized. Much hard work has gone into these articles. I want to thank everyone who helped, ”said Rullo.

The NJ-SPJ, which was founded in 1959, hosted an awards ceremony and gala on July 28 at 7 p.m. at the Harvest Moon Brewery / Cafe in New Brunswick, NJ.

The full list of the 2021 NJ-SPJ Journalism Award winners is as follows:

• Lifetime Achievement Award for Press Freedom and Government Transparency:

New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg

• Lifetime Award for Excellence in Covering New Jersey and Courage Under Fire Award for its COVID-19 coverage (two awards): Brenda Flanagan, Featured News in New Jersey

• Best NJ Coverage by New York City Media: WNBC-TV, for the report by Chris Glorioso

• Best Coverage of the NJ by Philadelphia Media: Philadelphia Investigator, for the report by Melanie Burney

• Reporter of the Year — The David Carr Award: Julia Martin, record for his collection of works documenting the pandemic year of Montclair.

• Certificates of “Excellence in reporting”: Isaac Avilucea, Trentonian; Lindy Washburn, record

• Educator of the Year — The Ron Miskoff Award: Theta Pavis, University of New Jersey City

• Certificate of “Excellence in journalism training”: Leo Sacks, Rutgers School of Communication and Information

• Rookie of the Year: Wilson Barto Award: Jon “Ferris” Meredith, TAPinto Wayne

• “Exceptional Rookie Reporter” certificate: Daniel Israel, Bayonne Community News /The Hudson Journalist

• Best Community Journalism — The Stuart and Beverly Awbrey Award: Simon Galperin, Bloomfield Information Project, for his work entitled “Community listening stimulates community action to maintain equality”.

• Certificates of Excellence in Community Journalism: Mark J. Bonamo and Mary Ellen Cagnassola, TAPinto Newark; Caren Lissner, Summit badge

• Best Video Report — The Gabe Pressman Award: Michael Karas and Danielle Parhizkaran,, for their work titled “Playing for a Way Out” / record

• Certificates of excellence for video news: Givonna Boggans, Montclair News Lab;

Marie Chao, record

• Better Use of Public Records — The Tim O’Brien Award: Issac Avilucea and Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, with John Berry and Jeff Edelstein, Trentonian, for their work entitled “Law and Disorder”

• Certificate of excellence for the use of public documents: Terrence T. McDonald with NorthJersey. com /The record

• Best investigative report (weekly or hyperlocal): Jay Rahman, Paterson time, for his work titled “The Properties of Paterson City Councilor Shahin Khalique Including His Residence Seized in 2019, Judicial Records Show”.

• Certificate of Excellence in Investigative Reporting: Gina Rullo, The Hammonton Gazette

• Best Field Journalism — The Barbara Reed Award: Culture slice Staff,

• Certificates of Excellence for Basic Journalism: The pascack press Editorial team, consisting of John Snyder, Kristen Beuscher, Michael Olohan and Matthew Wikfors.

• Best Audio Report — The Herbert Morrison Award: Scott Gurian, Far From Home

• Certificate of Excellence in Audio News: Dino Flammia, New Jersey 101.5 FM

• Best Investigative Journalism (Daily): Scott Fallon and Lindy Washburn, record, for their COVID-19 coverage in the homes of veterans.

• Certificates of Excellence in Investigative Journalism: Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman and Isaac Avilucea, The Trentonian.

• Courage Under Fire Prize: Mel D. Cole, freelance, photographs the Capitol Riot; Julio Cortez, Associated press, photograph of the demonstrations of George Floyd and the riot of the Capitol; Thomas P. Costello, Asbury Park Press, photograph of the Capitol riot; Julien Leshay, WeekenderNJ, photograph of mass demonstrations and the Capitol riot; Jeff Rhode, Saint Nom Medical Center, photograph of COVID19, up-close; Gina Rullo and Gabriel Donio, The Hammonton Gazette.

To read the award-winning articles, please visit

For one of the reprinted articles from the series titled “The Cellular Texts of DiDonato The GazettePlease see page 16 of the September 22, 2021 print edition.

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