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Deadline Club names Newsday winner of three first-place awards

Newsday's investigative series on the Grumman plume earned

Newsday's investigative series on the Grumman plume earned the President's Choice Award from the Silurian Press Club's 76th annual Excellence in Journalism Awards. Credit: Newsday

Newsday's The Grumman Plume: Decades of Deceit, an investigation of toxic chemicals contaminating groundwater around the Bethpage aerospace giant, won first place in two categories at the 2021 Deadline Club Awards' virtual ceremony Monday night.

The investigation won in the categories of newspaper or digital local news reporting, and multimedia, interactive graphics, and animation.

In addition, Newsday photographer J. Conrad Williams Jr. won in the sports photo category for "By the Face," which was taken at the New York State Wrestling Championships in Albany in February 2020.

The awards ceremony, usually held in Manhattan and hosted by the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to honor the metropolitan area's best journalism, was a virtual affair for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The judges said of the Grumman investigation: "This ambitious project was a public service, tracing decades of corporate malfeasance and its impact on a small community. In addition to its long-form text pieces, Newsday provided its audience with an impressive short documentary highlighting the project's most astonishing findings. It's the type of enterprise watchdog journalism that exemplifies excellent local news coverage."

Reporters David M. Schwartz and Paul LaRocco, and senior multimedia producer Jeffrey Basinger, were honored for their roles in the investigation.

"The deep reporting and detailed multimedia digital presentation of 'Decades of Deceit' exemplifies the watchdog role that Newsday strives to fill in our community. Great work by Paul, David, Jeff and the many colleagues who worked hard to bring it to our readers," said Deborah Henley, editor of Newsday.

In addition to winning first place in the sports photo category, Williams was also a finalist in the same category for a different photo, "Fleet Footed."

"John consistently produces the highest quality photojournalism in all areas of our coverage. We are thrilled and honored that the Deadline Club has recognized his work in sports photography," said John Keating, Newsday's director of multimedia newsgathering.

Along with Time, Newsday was also a finalist in the multimedia, interactive graphics and animation category for "Inside the Red Zone," the newspaper's harrowing account of medical personnel at Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital treating COVID-19 patients last April as the pandemic worsened.

The Grumman Plume investigation was also a finalist for the Deadline Club's Public Service award. And Basinger was a finalist in the feature photo category.

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