Press Club Award for Curtis Sliwa Coverage (November 19, 1984)


Richard Poe Interviews Curtis Sliwa, February 22, 1984

Commentary: Curtis Sliwa’s Dilemma, June 27, 1984

Press Club Award for Curtis Sliwa Coverage, November 19, 1984

Richard Poe

1984 was a kind of annus mirabilis for me. That year, I got my first newspaper job at The Syracuse New Times, an “alternative” newsweekly founded in 1969, whose New Left roots still ran deep at the time. Before the year was out, I was awarded Best Newspaper Column of 1984 by the Syracuse Press Club, the leading professional association for Central New York journalists, beating out three Newhouse newspapers, including the Post-Standard, the Herald-Journal and the Herald-American. The award gave me confidence to make my big move down to New York City the next year, where I became managing editor of the East Village Eye. — RICHARD POE, Sept. 5, 2021

On November 19, 1984, I won first place honors for best newspaper column from the Syracuse Press Club, the leading professional journalism association in Central New York. As a young journalist, just starting out, I took a big chance by championing the controversial Curtis Sliwa and his volunteer crimefighting organization The Guardian Angels. The Press Club gave me a surprise vindication, naming my June 27, 1984 commentary on Curtis Sliwa “Best Newspaper Column” of 1984 (see below).

Here’s my June 27, 1984 Syracuse New Times commentary on Curtis Sliwa and the Guardian Angels, which the Syracuse Press Club named “Best Newspaper Column” of 1984. Download a PDF.

Here’s my February 22, 1984 Curtis Sliwa interview in The Syracuse New Times. Download a PDF. I interviewed Curtis at his Harlem headquarters and rode the subways with him as he led a Guardian Angels anticrime patrol. With a membership that was overwhelmingly black and Latino, Curtis saw the Guardian Angels as following in the tradition of the Black Panthers, the Young Lords and other black- and brown-power community organizing groups of the Sixties, though without their explicitly racial agenda. At the time, former Young Lords leader Felipe Luciano was one of Curtis’s key supporters and former Black Panther Lester Dixon headed the Guardian Angels’s San Francisco chapter.