CUNY Announces Winners of Murray Kempton Awards for Undergraduate Student Journalism

The City University of New York today announced the winners of its fifth Murray Kempton Awards for undergraduate journalism. Honoring Murray Kempton (1917-1997), the famed columnist who captured the soul of the city while often serving as its conscience, the competition recognizes the achievements of outstanding undergraduate student journalists. Each winner receives $500 in recognition of this achievement.

The winners in the previous competition are:

ENTERPRISE/FEATURE: Kiran Sury, Brooklyn College, for “At the Corner Deli, a Yemeni Immigrant Saga,” which examines a corner in Brooklyn that boasts three delicatessens, each owned by Yemeni immigrants. The article explores how yet another group of newcomers is laying claim to a city and an enterprise that have been the pipeline to American success for countless other groups. Weaving census data and sociological background from college professors together with interviews with shoppers and the manager of a nearby supermarket, the article provides a solid context for the proliferation of Arab delis, then moves into the lives of the proprietors and workers.

NEWS: Matthew Perlman, Hunter College, for “Rotten Bananas on Kelly Street,” a punchy news story about a Bronx apartment building that was neglected and later abandoned by its landlord. The story lays out the residents’ situation with clarity and context, while looking forward to the repairs promised by the nonprofit Banana Kelly Improvement Association, a local developer of moderate-income housing in the South Bronx.


COMMENTARY: “50 Shades of Dismay” by Aliza Chasan, Queens College, uses National Depression Screening Day on campus to bravely “come out” as someone who is dealing with anxiety. Colleges need to pay attention to depression, she says, citing a 12-year Hofstra University study that found that as many as 41 percent of college-age individuals suffer from depression – a rate that appears to be rising. The results can be catastrophic, with suicide a tragically frequent result. Yet, perhaps because of the perceived stigma of mental illness, few people stopped by the campus screening table. Other countries do a better job of making the treatment of anxiety and other mental illnesses socially acceptable, she argues.


The stories and a statement by the judges are available at Submissions are now being accepted for the sixth competition, covering the 2013-14 academic year. The deadline is Friday, June 6, at 5 p.m. For details on entering, go to and click on “2014 Awards – How to Apply.”


This year’s judges were Kristen Kelch, managing editor, CUNY publications; Richard Firstman, writer and professor, Stony Brook University School of Journalism; and Neill S. Rosenfeld, a staff writer at CUNY’s Office of Communications and Marketing. All worked with Murray Kempton at New York Newsday.



About The City University of New York:
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health.   The University serves more than 270,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. Nearly 3 million unique visitors and 10 million page views are served each month via, the University’s website.