Press Releases





The Capitol’s Laura Nahmias Receives New York Civic’s Mary Perot Nichols Award;

Brooklyn Paper’s Aaron Short is Runner-Up


The good government group New York Civic announced the winners of its inaugural investigative journalism fellowships today, selecting Laura Nahmias, a reporter for The Capitol and City Hall, as the first recipient of its Mary Perot Nichols Award.

Nahmias, who was chosen from dozens of applicants, won for her article “Boyland’s Magic Trick” in the September 26th, 2011, issue of the Capitol, which uncovered several instances where Assemblyman William Boyland Jr. claimed reimbursements for working in Albany, when in fact, as Nahmias proved, he was nowhere near the state capital at the time.

As the recipient of the Mary Perot Nichols Award, which is named in honor of the late muckraking Village Voice columnist and WNYC president in the Koch administration, Nahmias will receive $2,000 at a ceremony to be held later this month. Aaron Short, a staff reporter for The Brooklyn Paper, will also be honored with a $1,000 prize for his article titled “This is supposed to be a senior center. It’s actually Vito Lopez’s clubhouse”, which appeared in The Brooklyn Paper and The New York Post on October 30th, 2010, and is part of Short’s ongoing investigation into the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council nonprofit organization and its founder, Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

“In this age of media consolidation, it is more important than ever that we vigorously support and encourage investigative journalism,” said Henry J. Stern, founder and president of New York Civic. “Laura Nahmias and Aaron Short uphold the great tradition of the media acting as watchdogs to keep politicians honest and inform the public when they are not. New York Civic is proud to recognize these reporters’ outstanding work.”

Laura Nahmias, 27, has been a staff reporter for City Hall and The Capitol since July 2010. A graduate of Wesleyan University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Nahmias began her career covering local government for The Island Packet, a community newspaper in Beaufort County, South Carolina. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Nahmias’s writings have covered a broad array of subjects, ranging from politics and history to pop music, golf, and alligators.

Aaron Short, 30, has been a staff reporter for the Community Newspaper Group-owned Brooklyn Paper, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, since November 2007. Originally from Storrs, Connecticut, Short graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, before receiving his Masters in American History from Brown University. As well as writing for The Brooklyn Paper, he has contributed articles to the New York Post, Pennsylvania Gazette, and BushwickBK blog.

In addition to the Mary Perot Nichols Investigative Journalism Award for New York State Reporters and Bloggers, New York Civic had also intended to present the Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Investigative Journalism Award for New York State Undergraduate Students and Murray Kempton Investigative Journalism Award for New York State Graduate Students, however, after reviewing all of the student entries, New York Civic determined that there were not any submissions worthy of the prizes. As a result, New York Civic will take the $3,000 allocated for student prizes and apply it to next year’s awards.

“The dearth of quality submissions by students for New York Civic’s investigative journalism fellowships is alarming to those concerned for the future of substantive reporting in our state,” said Stern. “We hope that our decision not to award these fellowships will help alert journalism professors across New York State to the importance of teaching the craft of investigative reporting to their students.”

Founded in 2002, New York Civic is a nonprofit, nonpartisan good government group that aims to advance political reform in the city and state of New York through education, community outreach, social networking, and grassroots activism. For more information about New York Civic, go to


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2011



New York Civic, Common Cause/NY, Women’s City Club, and New Roosevelt


bring together NY’s top political minds to offer free candidate training conference



This Sunday, September 18th, the good government groups New York Civic, Common Cause/New York, Women’s City Club of New York, and New Roosevelt will present "Candidate College", a free, all-day special event, open to the public, aimed at training citizens of all backgrounds, ages and political beliefs how to mount a serious bid for elected office. The event, which will consist of a series of nonpartisan, non-ideological panel discussions focusing on different aspects of campaign craft, is intended to inspire people to get involved in the political process in the most direct way possible: by becoming a candidate.

The all-star roster of speakers include Senator Gustavo Rivera; Councilmember Eric Ulrich; Councilmember Letitia James; District Leader Lincoln Restler; New York Civic President and former NYC Parks Commissioner Henry Stern; Bradley Tusk, founder of Tusk Strategies and Mayor Bloomberg’s 2009 Campaign Manager; Emma Wolfe, Chief of Staff to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; former Congressional candidate and MSNBC political analyst Krystal Ball; political consultant Roger Stone; Jimmy Vielkind, political reporter for the Albany Times Union; Steven M. Cohn, former Secretary to Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Chief of Staff in the Office of the Attorney General; Doug Forand, founding partner of Red Horse Strategies; New Roosevelt founder Bill Samuels; Oona Chatterjee, co-executive director, Make the Road New York; and many more.

Panel discussions throughout the day will cover the following topics:

HOW THEY WON: A panel of elected officials from around New York City will talk about their experience running for office and the how they successfully won their seats.

LESSONS FROM THE PROS: Some of New York’s top campaign consultants break down the do's and don’ts of running for office.

FIGURING OUT FUNDRAISING: Professional fundraisers, campaign finance experts, and grassroots organizers provide strategies and insights into how candidates can raise the money they need to run for office. The discussion will emphasize the virtues of small-money contributions.

MASTERING THE MEDIA: Prominent political reporters, directors of communication, and public relations pros talk about how to interact with the media and bring positive attention to a grassroots campaign.

GETTING ORGANIZED: Seasoned field organizers, social networking gurus and political consultants explain how to use social media and online organizing effectively.


The conference will aim to teach future candidates how to run a clean, above-the-board, effective campaign as well as illuminate some of the pitfalls that often ensnare first-time candidates.

WHO: Common Cause of New York, NY Civic, The New Roosevelt Initiative, Women’s City Club of New York

WHAT: Candidate College

WHEN: Sunday, September 18 (9am-6pm)

WHERE: Touro College Graduate Center, 27 West 23rd Street, 6th Floor (between 5th and 6th Avenues)

Please note: The five panels will each run approximately an hour and a half, followed by a Q&A session.




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 18, 2011




Fellowships Will Honor Three Distinguished New Yorkers:

WNYC President Mary Perot Nichols, Pulitzer Prize Winner Murray Kempton

& NYC Board of Education President Robert F. Wagner Jr.

The good government group New York Civic announced today that it will award six fellowships worth a total of $6,000 to professional reporters, bloggers and journalism students in order to foster and support investigative reporting in New York State.

“The importance of investigative journalism to the eternal struggle for honest and responsible government cannot be overestimated. Yet across the nation budget cuts to newsrooms are making this essential work harder to perform,” said Henry J. Stern, president of New York Civic and former New York City Parks Commissioner.

“New York Civic is proud to offer these fellowships to encourage journalists and bloggers who are hard at work exposing corruption and government waste in New York to keep at it. At the same time, we hope that these fellowships will inspire the next generation of talented investigative reporters to pursue journalism for the public good.”

Half the $6,000 New York Civic will award will go to professional reporters and bloggers working in New York State, while the other half will go to undergraduate and graduate students who are either New York residents or attend an in-state college or university. $2,000 is the top prize for reporters and bloggers, with $1,000 going to the first runner-up. A top prize of $1,000 will be awarded to both the best graduate and undergraduate student who apply for a fellowship, with $500 going to the runner-up in each category.

New York Civic has named each of the top prizes to honor talented New Yorkers, known for their antipathy to corruption. The professional journalist fellowship will be called the Mary Perot Nichols Award, after the Village Voice columnist and former president of WNYC Communications Group. The top prize for graduate students will be the Murray Kempton Award, after the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and longtime columnist for Newsday. The undergraduate fellowship will be named the Robert F. Wagner, Jr. Award, after the former deputy mayor, president of the NYC Board of Education, chair of the City Planning Commission, and Councilman-at-large from Manhattan. At Harvard, he was an editor of the Crimson.

Fellowships will be awarded on the basis of the submission of original works of investigative reporting written or published between January 1, 2010 and October 1, 2011. The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2011.

Journalists or students interested in applying for any of these fellowships, or anyone wishing to recommend an article and its author for consideration, should telephone 212-564-4441, email or go to

New York Civic is a nonpartisan, nonprofit good government group founded by former NYC Parks Commissioner and City Councilmember Henry J. Stern and Deputy Parks Commissioner Alan M. Moss in 2002. As a public policy think tank, New York Civic has published over 750 articles aimed at making New York City and New York State government more equitable, efficient, and transparent. To read New York Civic’s articles or to learn about its upcoming public events, go to