Newsday honored by state Associated Press Assn.

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Newsday has won the Newspapers of Distinction award in the 2011-12 contest from the New York State Associated Press Association. Contest awards, recognizing excellent writing, presentation, photography and graphics in AP member newspapers, were presented Wednesday night at the annual state AP banquet in Saratoga Springs.

"Newsday is proud to be recognized by the New York State Associated Press Association as the 2012 Newspaper of Distinction for the third year in a row," said Deborah Henley, Newsday editor. "This honors the dedication and talent of all the journalists at Newsday who bring valuable news and information to Long Islanders all day, every day."

In all, Newsday earned 20 awards, including the top three spots in the Arts/Entertaining Writing category, with first place to Rafer Guzmán for "9/11 on Screen," second to Glenn Gamboa for "Just the Way He Is (Billy Joel)" and third to Verne Gay for "Final House Call."

It won three other first place awards in the over-125,000 circulation writing and presentation category for:

Features writing: "9/11 Profiles," Nicholas Spangler, Ridgely Ochs, Carol Polsky

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Sports column: "Baffled by March Madness," Bob Glauber

Continuing coverage: "Prescription Drug Crisis" Newsday staff

In the photography category for newspapers over 45,000 in circulation, Newsday won first place in videos and slide shows for "A Little Girl's Fight to Live," by Alejandra Villa.

In the graphics category for newspapers over 45,000 in circulation, first place for informational graphic went to Rod Eyer for "The Process (Hydrofracking)."-- Staff and wire reports

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