Christopher Gangemi, a reporter who joined the staff of The East Hampton Star in December 2021 as a newcomer to journalism, won the New York Press Association’s Rookie of the Year award at its Better Newspaper convention last weekend.
The Star was also recognized for its news and feature writing and for its East magazine.
Since starting at The Star, Mr. Gangemi has written about such things as pandemic-related supply chain woes, the rift between East Hampton Village and its ambulance association, dramatic ocean rescues, and controversial development proposals. He writes the birding column “On the Wing” and also covers East Hampton Village and Sag Harbor Village government as well as East Hampton Town planning and zoning matters and environmental issues.
Mr. Gangemi, who lives on North Haven,started his career as a stock trader and then managed a health food market for 10 years before becoming a reporter.
Judges called his writing “superb, even elegant,” and said that “his reporter’s curiosity leads him to finely crafted narratives on such diverse topics as horse farriers . . . to the avid passion of metal detectorists.” They were taken with the “dramatic rescue narrative” in a story about a nighttime save off Ditch Plain Beach in Montauk, and praised his “even-handed exposition on the deep rift between the volunteers of the Village Ambulance Association and the more recently arrived paid E.M.T.s. For a ‘rookie,’ his stories pull you right through. You can’t stop reading.” He also won an honorable mention in The Star’s division for a feature story, “The Age-Old Art of the Farriers.”
Christine Sampson, the paper’s deputy managing editor, won first place in The Star’s division for the news story “Five Weeks Early, Baby Is Born on the Front Porch.” Judges praised her “great storytelling” and her inclusion of “captivating details that gave the readers a feel for the actual situation.” The article was, they said, an “amazing story of small-town heroes who heard the call and quickly responded. A potential crisis situation was skillfully handled by the responders, making for a great story.”
Another news story, “Proud Family Celebrates Tuskegee Airman’s Legacy,” written by Carissa Katz, The Star’s managing editor, with reporting by Judy D’Mello, won third place in the division.
The September 2022 issue of East magazine received third place in the state for Overall Magazine Excellence. Judges said, “It is important to acknowledge the downside of changing neighborhoods and new homes — in terms of gentrification and wildlife loss — and it is a brave choice for them to feature several pieces that spoke about these realities. The honest writing, no-filler content, and strong openings to features kept me reading.”
East’s holiday issue won third place for Best Themed Issue, with a judge saying, “I could feel the childhood nostalgia through the pages. Reading East’s holiday issue felt like listening to an uncle telling stories of past celebrations. Every feature story started strong and drew me in as a reader.” Bess Rattray and Christine Sampson were the editors of both issues.
Ms. Sampson also received an honorable mention for Best Personality Profile for a piece in the July 2022 East titled “The Man Behind the Curtain.”