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Spotlight takes seven prizes at statewide contest

Jim Cuozzo, the reporter for the Bethlehem and New Scotland edition of Spotlight Newspapers, grabbed top honors for his coverage of the trial of Christopher Porco, a 24-year-old Delmar resident convicted in August of murdering his father and attempting to murder his mother.

Cuozzo won first prize in the coverage of crime/police/courts category in the New York Press Association's Better Newspaper Contest. Prizes were awarded during NYPA's spring convention and trade show held at the Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Springs March 30 and 31.

Judges from the press associations of Oklahoma and New Jersey said Cuozzo's coverage went well beyond on-the-record court proceeding to tell the behind-the-crime story.

Cuozzo spent the better part of July and August in Goshen, Orange County, covering the trial, filing 56 print stories and more than 100 pages of online coverage for Spotlight Newspapers.

"I was surprised at how much work and effort was involved in covering the story correctly," Cuozzo said. "It's a credit to the newspaper and staff more than the reporter, that it provided the time and resources necessary to cover the trial."

Cuozzo said the trial itself was "fascinating."

"It was at times mundane, believe it or not," Cuozzo said. "There was a lot of waiting; for the lawyers, for the jurors. It was a lot of work and intensity, and a lot of waiting."

The Porco trial had a profound impact on the way we cover news," Spotlight's Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John McIntyre said. "It was the first time we led with the Web for news and the first time we wrote so much on one particular topic. It was big news and a lot of hard work by Jim and the staff to keep our readers informed."

President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Keene also acknowledged the combination of online and print reporting that made up the Porco coverage.

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