Impact Wins Five NYPA Awards in 2021, Two First-Place Honors

Impact Wins Five NYPA Awards in 2021, Two First-Place Honors

The Impact won five New York Press Association awards in 2021, four for writing, with two awards earning first-place honors.

This was the first year The Impact has ever won two first-place writing awards in the same year.

Henry Blethen was awarded the first-place prize as the top columnist in the state. His column, Daily Dose, often focused on his experiences as a returning student after a Navy career, readjusting to civilian life, and paralleling the world’s occurrences with his own life.

His award-winning columns were titled What Henry Ruggs III Taught Me, realizing how easy it is for young successes to think they are invincible, and Nobody Cares, Work Harder about the realities of blue-collar labor.

“Blethen’s writing is refreshingly frank. The best columns offer insight and information and come packaged in clear, active writing. That’s exactly what these columns do,” noted the judges’ panel.

“I couldn’t be happier for Henry,” said Michael Perrota, who has been the advisor to the college newspaper since 2004. “He writes so candidly and to the point, I think readers appreciate his brutal honesty.”

Managing Editor James Tiedemann and Britney Guzman teamed up for a three-story editorial package that also won first-place honors. An editorial is a stance of the publication written by senior staff members about key issues in the community or world.

Tiedemann’s editorial titled Plague of Abuse in Public Schools focused on how sexual assault in K-12 schools is up over 50 percent over the past seven years and the country’s lack of attention to halt the rise. His second editorial, More Gun Control Isn’t The Answer, noting that handguns are the most commonly used weapon in shootings and assault weapon bans are merely optics.

“James has done such a great job as Managing Editor over the past year. He is a tremendous leader and example for the rest of the staff. His stories and editorials are better researched than some professional journalists,” said Perrota.

Guzman’s editorial titled Why Are We Always Questioning A Woman’s Body?, and the double standard in America in relation to pregnancy and romance.

“This was a long time coming for Brit,” said Perrota. “She has worked so hard over the years to improve as a reporter. Her growth has been nothing short of amazing.”

Winning second place in the same category was Associate Editor Nicole Alarcon, who penned three editorials. The first, No Bruises, No Case discusses the emotional abuse of domestic violence. The second, titled Our Educational System’s Influence On Student Loans, discusses the normalization of debt and high-interest loan rates. Her final editorial, The COVID Vaccine And Those Who Could Not Wait To Get It criticized those who unfairly jumped the line to get vaccinated.

“Nicole is one of the most talented writers The Impact has ever seen,” said Perrota. “She has a keen strategy on how to frame every story she writes.”

In the news reporting category, Noelle Ramirez won an honorable mention for her story titled Mercy College Community Runs Donation Drive For Afghanistan Refugees.  

“The writer’s gift for storytelling shines through in his article. It’s sensitive, intimate and detailed, with great quotes and a nice ending,” commented the judges.

“This was a very important story and Noelle did a fantastic job of humanizing it for our readers,” said Perrota. “The reader was able to visualize the dangers for these refugees.”

The Impact website, located at, won a third-place award in the Best Website category. 

“Newsy, actively updated and easy to read. The Impact offers solid variety,” commented the judges.

The NYPA is an annual contest that judges categories in which every college in the state of New York is eligible. The contest is judged on a calendar year, and every submission must be published by Dec. 31. Size of the college, staff or budgets are not taken into consideration during the awards process. Just the top collegiate work, regardless of the school.

The Impact had won four awards from 2007 to 2014, but ballooned that total to 37 in the last seven years.

“This year was about readjustment,” said Perrota. “Reporting after a return from a pandemic was much more difficult than ever anticipated. The world has changed and so has our industry.”