Newsday's Long Island Divided series, an investigation into discriminatory housing practices by real estate brokers, won first place in the public service and digital innovation categories at the 2020 Deadline Club Awards' virtual ceremony Monday night.
In addition, Newsday photographer J. Conrad Williams Jr. won in the sports category for Head Over Heels, a high school wrestling photo.
The event, 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 Monday night due to the coronavirus.
Long Island Divided, a three-year investigative project by Newsday, "delivered devastating proof of the kind of pernicious discrimination that goes on when people think no one is watching. Rather than just tell, it actually showed us the widespread differences in how Long Island real estate agents treated whites and minorities — most frequently African-Americans — steering them to entirely different communities and reinforcing one of the most segregated suburban regions in the country," the judges wrote in naming the newspaper the recipient of the public service award.
Finalists in the category were Andrew Ford, of the Asbury Park Press, and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Intercept, NBC News, Univision, WNYC and Latin American media partners.
The Newsday series also won first place in the digital innovation category.
"Masterfully presented with a mix of interactive data visualizations, moving video testimonials … this ambitious undertaking exemplifies how best to combine digital innovation with hard-nosed reporting to shine a light on a predicament that otherwise escapes scrutiny," the judges wrote.
Finalists were Emily Kassie of the The Marshall Project with The Guardian US, and Brian Freskos, The Trace and The New Yorker.
Williams took his winning shot at the 2019 NYSPHSAA State Championships at the Times-Union Center in Albany.
The judges said Williams' "photo takes the viewer into a real and unique moment of competition. The angles are exceptional as are the facial expressions. The photo captures the, literally, gripping and physical nature of high school wrestling and the unexpected turn of competition as athletes battle to win."
Finalists were Alex Brandon of The Associated Press, and Jason Potterton, Julianne Varacchi and Joe Amon of ESPN.
"Williams’ powerful image of two high school wrestlers in competition is a great individual achievement in capturing an intense moment," said Deborah Henley, editor of Newsday. "And the Long Island Divided project was an extraordinary team effort on a crucial story for our community. Along with the top award for Sports Photo, we’re honored to be recognized by the Deadline Club with their top awards for Public Service and Digital Innovation for this work that was three years in the making. It was our goal to reveal the depth and scope of our investigation’s findings across all our storytelling platforms, particularly in a powerful digital presentation."
Other Newsday finalists included Thomas Maier in the newspaper or digital local news reporting category for "An Innocent Man?" about a Bellport High School student wrongly convicted of a 1975 sex-related murder; the staff on Long Island Divided, for the Les Payne award for coverage on communities of color; and again, the Long Island Divided staff in the category, multimedia, interactive graphics, and animation.