The Local wins 15 statewide honors

Posted 6/7/23

The Chestnut Hill Local has received 15 awards in separate Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) contests for excellence in media.

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The Local wins 15 statewide honors


The Chestnut Hill Local has received 15 awards in separate Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA) contests for excellence in media. Since 1925, PNA has served as the official trade organization for all Pennsylvania newspapers.

The Local’s newsroom was awarded seven Keystone Press Awards for newsgathering and reporting, including three first prizes, two second prizes and one honorable mention. 

According to PNA, “The Keystone Press Awards reinforce excellence by individuals in the news media profession by recognizing journalism that consistently provides relevance, integrity, and initiative in serving readers, and faithfully fulfills its First Amendment rights and responsibilities. Further, the Keystone Press Awards stimulate journalists to improve their craft and ultimately improve their community.”

Newspapers from across the Commonwealth are grouped into five size categories, ranging from multiple-day newspapers with a circulation of 60,000 or more to weekly newspapers with a circulation of less than 6,000, to compete for these prizes. They submit their best work in a number of entry categories, from Investigative Reporting to Sports Photography. PNA arranges for a newspaper trade association in a different state to provide judges from their member newspapers. 

The Local, competing with hundreds of other publications in the small weekly newspaper category, won for the following news stories:

“Fire Destroys Chestnut Hill Landmark,” by Tom Beck, Kristin Holmes, and Carla Robinson. This report about the Hiram Lodge fire won first place for breaking news. Follow-up stories about this event also won an honorable mention in the ongoing news category. 

“Fashionista’s Mission: Access to Style,” by Stacia Friedman. This article about Flourtown-based fashion designer Nancy Volpe Beringer, who designs clothes for people with disabilities, won first place for business news

Working together, Editor Carla Robinson and Reporter Tom Beck won first place for news beat reporting for a series of five significant stores in the year 2022: The SCH math teacher who was convicted of child pornography; The PNC bank robbery that happened in broad daylight; the murder of Chestnut Hill business owner Wendy Feldman; and two stories about fraud at the Germantown Special Services District. 

Beck won second place for his ongoing coverage of checks being stolen from the mail, and also for his news feature, Springfield residents taxed by bungled collections, which documented the problems with that township's tax collections.

Features Editor Len Lear won second place for features for "Vietnam Refugee Finds American Dream,” which was about Vietnamese immigrant Po Le opening his own restaurant. 

“I am extremely proud of our newsroom and the work they do, day in and day out,” said Chestnut Hill Local publisher John Derr.  “I’m not surprised that they have been recognized in these categories. What surprises me is that we didn’t win every category we entered!

“This community is so fortunate to have a talented and dedicated team of journalists with more than 110 years of combined experience gathering and reporting local news that no one else is doing and that no one else is going to do,” Derr added.

Editor Carla Robinson, who leads the newsroom commented: 

“I couldn’t be more proud of my team. They are honestly some of the best and the most committed journalists I have ever worked with, and I’m thrilled to see them get this richly deserved honor.”

In the PNA Foundation Advertising Contest, The Local is in a category that includes all newspapers, multi-day or weekly with a circulation of less than 10,000.  That category includes the largest number of newspapers in the Commonwealth, yet the Local won or placed in seven of the 14 categories. 

Ad campaign using multiple products – First Place (for The Rounds)

Special Event/Vendor Support – First Place (for Home & Garden Festival Guide)

Special Event/Vendor Support – Second Place (for Fall for the Arts)

Best Native Advertising – First Place  (Birdwatch)

Best Real Estate/Builder/Renters Ad – First Place (for Kurfiss Sotheby Team Whetzel)

Wild Card Category – First Place (for the Pink Edition)

Business Building Idea – Second Place (for Explore)

Best Self-Promotion – Honorable Mention (for “Local newspaper discovers miracle cure for FOMO")

The advertising and production teams consist of Leisha Shaffer, Leslie Cerf, and George Ward on the advertising sales side, and Blaise Brugger, Rush Kress, and Joanne Davis in production.

“It’s amazing the amount of work and creativity that is generated by this team. There are much larger newspapers with much larger staffs that do not handle and produce the weekly advertising volume the Local staff does,” Derr said.  “You can tell by these awards that we are committed to creating ads and products that are results-oriented for our advertisers.” 

The Chestnut Hill Local is in its 65th year of serving Chestnut Hill, Northwest Philadelphia and the nearby suburbs, providing local news and information unique to the communities it serves, and affordable and effective advertising opportunities for businesses of all sizes. 

Contact John Derr at 215-248-8817 or