The Bridge won two journalism awards last week, including first place for online publication design, at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s 2018 awards for community and ethnic journalism, called the Ippies.
The design award recognized the work of Joseph Egan and Erin Guthan, principals at the Dumbo-based digital studio Transfuture, who designed and developed The Bridge’s website. “An attractive and easy-to-read site that clearly gives thought to typography and color, as well as to photography,” said the judges’ citation, adding that the site “makes good use of iconic imagery in its logo” and “loads quickly and navigation is helpful and clean.”
In designing the site, which launched in February 2017, Egan says a primary goal was ease-of-use, but “we also felt it needed the kind of design sensibility that is expected of a serious online-news outlet. We didn’t feel like the design itself needed to say ‘Brooklyn.’ The content would take care of that. But we did want visitors coming from other top news outlets to feel like they were landing on familiar ground.”
At the same event, The Bridge won second place in the commentary category for an essay by contributor Tucker Reed. His piece, headlined “A Simple Plan: Put Government to Work in East New York,” made the case for some of the government offices clustered in Downtown Brooklyn to be moved eastward in the borough to give the neighborhood an economic boost. Reed is a co-founder of the Brooklyn real-estate strategy firm Totem and previously was president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
It was a good night for Brooklyn’s indie-media outlets, which took home a total of eight awards. Bklyner won three: for design, commentary and investigative reporting. BRIC TV won an award in the best-video category and the Red Hook Star-Revue and Kings County Politics won awards in the category of best small-circulation publication.
The awards took place against a backdrop of struggle for local media, which have been sapped of revenue by the near-total takeover of digital advertising dollars by Facebook and Google. In the keynote speech at the awards ceremony, NY1 News political anchor Errol Louis pointed out that CNN, where he is a contributor, made $1 billion in profits last year, while local media is shriveling.
“You could almost says that news is turning into a tale of two industries. At the national level, things are going really, really well, but local news is really taking a hit,” Louis said. The fallout, he said, “is a decline in regular beat reporting. With so few resources, what’s happening is we’re barely meeting minimum standards of coverage. And it leaves government officials and unscrupulous politicians with an open playing field that they do not deserve.”
Last month, The Bridge’s contributors Lisa M. Collins and Bryan Walsh won the 2018 award for local news reporting from the Deadline Club, the New York City chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists. The writers were honored for their three-part series, Red Hook vs. the Rising Tide, which was published on The Bridge last year on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.