Community News Service, publishers of the, won six awards in the 2018 Association of Free Community Papers’ Best of the Best competition.

The AFCP unveiled award-winners during its annual convention, held this year April 25-27 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It received more than 1,400 individual entries from across the country.

Senior community editor Samantha Sciarrotta took home two awards for her reporting. She won first place in the best original news writing category for her article “Bordentown shows divergent responses to police chief’s arrest on hate crime charges.” The story ran in the December 2017 Bordentown Current and detailed how a small town addressed — or in some cases did not address — racial tensions following the arrest.

Sciarrotta also won third place in the best original feature writing category for “Community rallies as Debbie Dauer battles ALS,” which ran in the January 2017 editions of the Lawrence Gazette and Robbinsville Advance.

Assistant managing editor Rob Anthes won second place in the best original sports writing category for his feature on Lindsey Freitag, a Lawrence resident who hiked the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail. The story ran in the November 2017 issue of the Lawrence Gazette.

This is the 13th AFCP award for Anthes and the fifth for Sciarrotta.

The Community News website and digital media manager Laura Pollack won two awards: second place in the online presentation of news content category and a third place award for best website.

The AFCP also honored the CNS production staff with a first place award in the best single ad category. Production manager Stacy Michallef and graphic designer Vaughan Burton won the award for their work designing the Gin Distillery of the Year Sourland Mountain Spirits ad for U.S. 1 newspaper. The judged said, “That gin bottle jumps off the page. Great looking ad!”

Based in Lawrence, Community News Service has won awards in nine of the last ten years, gaining recognition for its editorial content and design, advertising design and overall excellence of its publications. CNS publishes the Bordentown Current, Ewing Observer, Hamilton Post, Hopewell Express, Lawrence Gazette, Princeton Echo, Robbinsville Advance, Trenton Downtowner, West Windsor-Plainsboro News and U.S. 1 newspaper.

For more information about CNS, visit For more information about the AFCP, visit