Miraldi receives first prize award for column

NEW PALTZ — Robert Miraldi, chair of the communication and media department at the State University of New York at New Paltz, has received a first prize award for his newspaper column from the New York State Newspaper Publishers Association.

The award was handed out Monday at an annual luncheon held in Albany. Miraldi received the recognition and award for five columns on freedom of speech that appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal in 1997. Miraldi, who teaches mass media law, writes a column of commentary called “First Freedom” that appears monthly in the Journal.

Among the columns that were cited were those in which Miraldi argued that the New York Yankees should voluntarily get rid of cigarette advertising at Yankee Stadium; that television cameras should be allowed in New York’s courts; that the press should not have been barred from a pre-trial murder case in New Paltz; and that attempts to ban flag desecration are a waste of time.

The Publishers Association received 539 entries from 34 newspapers; they awarded 69 prizes. Miraldi’s award came in the 25,000 to 49,000 newspaper circulation category for “distinguished column writing.” In previous years Miraldi has received awards for his writing about the First Amendment from the New York State Bar Association, the Scripps Howard Foundation and the N.Y. State Library Association.

Miraldi, a former newspaper reporter who was a Fulbright Scholar in 1992, has taught journalism at New Paltz for 16 years. He lives in Stone Ridge with his wife and two children.