Andrew Simontacchi ’15, a creative writing major, was one of the Staten Island Advance reporters who earned a second place win for outstanding Spot News Reporting on the day of the Eric Garner grand jury decision.

According to the announcement article appearing on

“The Staten Island Advance has been recognized with two New York State Associated Press awards for its coverage of the Eric Garner case.

The awards included a second place win for outstanding Spot News Reporting on the day of the Garner grand jury decision and a first place photography award for Videos and Slide Shows over the course of coverage, from July through the end of 2014.

“We are excited that the AP has recognized the work of the Advance’s reporters and photographers,” said Gail Lubin, the Advance’s content director. “Our news staff is dedicated to its Staten Island readership, and we are proud of their outstanding efforts to provide real-time news 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

The spot news award is technically a writing award, but it was an overall live-coverage package, comprised of text, photos and video, that was submitted for consideration. This included a step-by-step look at the day’s events as they unfolded, from the first rumors that the grand jury was about to announce its decision, to Rev. Al Sharpton’s Harlem press conference announcing a National March to be held in Washington.

The reporters, photographers and editors who contributed words, images and videos to this package include:

Reporters: John Annese, Vincent Barone, Frank Donnelly, Maura Grunlund, Ryan Lavis, Diane Lore, Tracey Porpora, Andrew Simontacchi, Anna Sanders, Lauren Steussy, and Mira Wassef.

Editors: Eddie D’Anna, Managing Producer of Breaking News; Mark Stein, Community Engagement Specialist; and Tom Wrobleski, Senior Opinion Writer.

Photographers: Anthony DePrimo, Hilton Flores, Bill Lyons, Irving Silverstein, and Jan Somma-Hammel.

The award-winning slideshow included the poignant images of grief and the powerful images of protest and resolve so prevalent throughout the many months of the Garner coverage.

The photographers whose work was included in “The death of Eric Garner,” the slideshow submitted for consideration, are: Vincent Barone, Anthony DePrimo, Hilton Flores, Jan Somma-Hammel, Ryan Lavis and Bill Lyons.

Winners will be honored at the annual state AP awards banquet, scheduled for June 6, at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs.