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Congratulations to 2019 Award and Scholarship Winners
Hall of Honor: Liz Benjamin
Benjamin’s journalism career has spanned more than two decades. Her work has appeared on a variety of platforms including newspapers, television and websites. Before becoming Albany managing director for Marathon Strategies and joining the new website Civ Mix, she spent nine years with Time Warner Cable News/Spectrum News. She hosted Capital Tonight, a landmark show about state politics and policy, and was editor of its companion blog, State of Politics. Before that, she was a reporter and blogger for the New York Daily News and for the Times Union in Albany, where she helped to launch the Capitol Confidential blog.
Media Person of the Year: Susan Mehalick
Mehalick holds dual roles at the Times Union in Albany as a city desk editor and as executive editor of Women@Work, a vibrant network of women in business and the workplace. She has more than 30 years of journalism experience.
Excellence in Career Achievement Award: Leah Dunaief
Publisher of the Times Beacon Record Newspapers on Long Island, Dunaief started the Village Times in 1976 and expanded the company to include several other publications, including the Smithtown Times and The Times Huntington edition. She is a past president of the New York Press Association and has received numerous honors, including being named One of the 50 Most Influential Women in Business on Long Island in 2011.
Excellence in Career Achievement: Deborah Sturm Rausch
Deborah Sturm Rausch is a veteran professional with more than three decade of experience in public relations, internal and external communication, media relations, government public affairs, strategic planning and nonprofit leadership. She served two terms as president of the Women's Press Club of New York State and now is a vice president on its executive board. The recipient of numerous awards, she currently is the international editor of Connections, the newsletter of the Descendants of Jewish Citizens of Augsburg, Germany.
Women in the Media: Moriah Formica and Madison VanDenberg
These two young musicians each captured national audiences and media attention with their performances in televised talent competition programs. They serve as an inspiration to other young women to reach for the stars, and never give up on dreams.
As a 17-year-old junior at Shaker High School in Colonie, Formica appeared in 2017 on “The Voice,” making it into the playoff rounds.
Shaker High student VanDenberg took third place on “American Idol” earlier this year. Both continue to perform. They appeared together in June at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Standing O! Award: Ken Lovett
Lovett spent 25 years covering the state Capitol in Albany, including a decade with the New York Daily News, where he was bureau chief. He also worked for the New York Post, Watertown Times and Bergen Record. He now is vice president for communications and Albany director for Metropolitan Public Strategies.
Women's Press Club of NYS Betty Flood Morrow Scholarship: Kaitlyn Tambasco
A senior at Utica College, Tambasco is studying communications and criminal justice. She has been involved in her college’s newspaper “The Tangerine,” since her freshman year, where she began as a writer for the online team and has worked her way up to managing editor this year. Tambasco is a two-time Syracuse Press Award winner. She also has her own freelance platform, where she writes on a variety of topics. After she graduates, Tambasco plans to get her master’s degree in public relations at Syracuse University, Emerson College, or Boston University.
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