NEW YORK CIVIC HONORS
The Capitol’s Laura Nahmias Receives New York Civic’s Mary Perot Nichols Award;
Brooklyn Paper’s Aaron Short is Runner-Up
The good government group New York Civic announced the winners of its inaugural investigative journalism fellowships today, selecting Laura Nahmias, a reporter for The Capitol and City Hall, as the first recipient of its Mary Perot Nichols Award.
Nahmias, who was chosen from dozens of applicants, won for her article “Boyland’s Magic Trick” in the September 26th, 2011, issue of the Capitol, which uncovered several instances where Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. claimed reimbursements for working in Albany, when in fact, as Nahmias proved, he was nowhere near the state capital at the time.
As the recipient of the Mary Perot Nichols Award, which is named in honor of the late muckraking Village Voice columnist and WNYC president in the Koch administration, Nahmias will receive $2,000 at a ceremony to be held later this month. Aaron Short, a staff reporter for The Brooklyn Paper, will also be honored with a $1,000 prize for his article titled “This is supposed to be a senior center. It’s actually Vito Lopez’s clubhouse”, which appeared in The Brooklyn Paper and The New York Post on October 30th, 2010, and is part of Short’s ongoing investigation into the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council nonprofit organization and its founder, Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
“In this age of media consolidation, it is more important than ever that we vigorously support and encourage investigative journalism,” said Henry J. Stern, founder and president of New York Civic. “Laura Nahmias and Aaron Short uphold the great tradition of the media acting as watchdogs to keep politicians honest and inform the public when they are not. New York Civic is proud to recognize these reporters’ outstanding work.”
Laura Nahmias, 27, has been a staff reporter for City Hall and The Capitol since July 2010. A graduate of Wesleyan University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Nahmias began her career covering local government for The Island Packet, a community newspaper in Beaufort County, South Carolina. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Nahmias’s writings have covered a broad array of subjects, ranging from politics and history to pop music, golf, and alligators.
Aaron Short, 30, has been a staff reporter for the Community Newspaper Group-owned Brooklyn Paper, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, since November 2007. Originally from Storrs, Connecticut, Short graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, before receiving his Masters in American History from Brown University. As well as writing for The Brooklyn Paper, he has contributed articles to the New York Post, Pennsylvania Gazette, and BushwickBK blog.
In addition to the Mary Perot Nichols Investigative Journalism Award for New York State Reporters and Bloggers, New York Civic had also intended to present the Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Investigative Journalism Award for New York State Undergraduate Students and Murray Kempton Investigative Journalism Award for New York State Graduate Students, however, after reviewing all of the student entries, New York Civic determined that there were not any submissions worthy of the prizes. As a result, New York Civic will take the $3,000 allocated for student prizes and apply it to next year’s awards.
“The dearth of quality submissions by students for New York Civic’s investigative journalism fellowships is alarming to those concerned for the future of substantive reporting in our state,” said Stern. “We hope that our decision not to award these fellowships will help alert journalism professors across New York State to the importance of teaching the craft of investigative reporting to their students.”
Founded in 2002, New York Civic is a nonprofit, nonpartisan good government group that aims to advance political reform in the city and state of New York through education, community outreach, social networking, and grassroots activism. For more information about New York Civic, go to www.nycivic.org.