On November 13, the Maine Press Association marked its annual Better Newspaper Contest, albeit the second consecutive year held remotely. And this year, in a first-ever win, it was PenBayPilot.com readers who brought home an award for Picture Story, with your submitted photographs to the Pilot’s Pandemic Galleries. It was an unorthodox submission, but we believed that our Pilot community photographers deserved recognition.
“I love this idea and engagement, and clearly so did your readers,” wrote the South Dakota Newspaper Association judges, who were taking on the task of reviewing and naming winners of Maine’s annual competition. “Well done. Not sure how to judge this in a competition of professional photogs, but if Maine had some sort of engagement or innovative category, this would be stronger.”
We’ll take it! And thank all of our Pandemic Gallery contributors, since late Winter 2020.
The Pilot initiated the first Pandemic Gallery in March 2020, Midcoast Maine finds new normal with sense of grace, when the world went silent, asking readers to help contribute to our collective chronicle of these very strange times. You stepped up, and our galleries, each with 100 photos, filled rapidly.
Today, we are on our ninth Pandemic Gallery and you, the photographers, have steadily taken your cameras to the Midcoast, capturing how we perceive living through a pandemic. Your photos have been remarkably expressive, and beautiful. Congratulations on your award.
Every year, the Maine Press Association, which comprises 45 newspapers and digital news sites, partners with another state in judging each others’ annual better newspaper contest. last year, MPA partnered with Oklahoma; this year, South Dakota; next year, it with be with the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.
The MPA award categories are many, and with 1,341 contest entries this year, all representing the best of Maine’s print and digital journalism. competition was keen.
The classifications are three: Weekly 1, Weekly 1 and Daily/Weekend. Weekly 1 are those papers that are published fewer than five times per week with circulation or distribution from one to 2,999. Weekly 2 are published fewer than five times per week with circulation or distribution of 3,000 or more. Daily are those ublished five or more times per week, and weekend are those daily newspaper's weekend edition, whether published on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
PenBayPilot.com is one of three digital news sites that belong to MPA, with the Maine Monitor and Spectrum News. All three are classified with Weekly 2.
This year, PenBayPilot.com writer Kay Stephens earned three awards:
First Place, Kay Stephens, Analysis: The impact of COVID-19’s urban flight on Maine.Judges wrote: “Such good writing. Lots of information, along with empathy for both sides of the invasion. I liked that you presented all the angles and then drew a conclusion.”
Third Place, Kay Stephens, Food Story Feature: Back off squirrels, these acorns are mine.Judges wrote: “Your self-deprecating humor made this an entertaining read. I wish you had explained why acorn flour is so wonderful as to justify all the hard work.”
Third Place, Kay Stephens, Education: What are Maine families without internet connection supposed to do for the rest of the school year? Judges wrote: “Good story on a common problem for all schools during COVID.”
Other Pilot awards included:
First Place, Lynda Clancy, Scenic Photo, “Rainbows arc over Midcoast”, Judges wrote: “A great rainbow shot. Beautiful colors.”
Second Place, Lynda Clancy, Outdoors Story: Coastal Mountains Land Trust opens western entrance to popular Round the Mountain Trail. Judges wrote: “A strong storyteller was at work here, and it is clear that the work was extensive. This piece of- fered a thorough explora- tion into an interesting project and was riddled with many nice touches.”
The Pilot’s sister publications and websites also placed at the MPA awards ceremony.
The Boothbay Register won Digital Excellence, Weekly 1, with its website.
Wiscasset Newspaper Assistant Editor Susan Johns won three awards. Johns won first place for her news video, “For those who didn’t come home,” which accompanied her article, “Meaning remains in pandemic-adjusted Wiscasset Memorial Day.” She took second place in the feature headline category for “Mask maker, mask maker,” about a story on various mask makers in the Wiscasset area. Johns took third place for a political story, “Private email goes public in Alna,” regarding the controversial private boat ramp.
Wiscasset reporter and columnist Phil Di Vece took third place in the local columnist category for his Salt ’n Spar column.
Register Staff Reporter Bill Pearson took a second place for a news headline, “Sew what,” on a story about Jennifer Manson’s mask-making, and third place for a sports headline, “Glorious night for Blethen family,’ on the story about Boothbay Region High School basketball senior Glory Blethen scoring her 1,000th career point.
Register Staff Reporter Joseph Charpentier took a second place in the continuing story category for his series of articles on area restaurants persevering through the pandemic subtitled “Navigating through COVID-19.”
Arts and Entertainment Editor Lisa Kristoff won a second place critic’s award for her column, “Where it’s at,” on a review of the sculpture display at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens by Meg Brown Payson.
Editor Kevin Burnham won a third place for his sports new story, “Research ends in Seahawk reaching basketball milestone ... 46 years later,” about the late Laurie Reed reaching the 1,000-point scoring mark.
Production staff member Steve Edwards’ design of the 2020 Dining Guide took second place in the best supplement cover category.
The Portland Press Herald, the Portland Phoenix, The Camden Herald, and the Maine Sunday Telegram have been honored by the Maine Press Association for General Excellence in print newspapers.
The Portland Press Herald, The Maine Monitor, and the Boothbay Register took top honors for digital General Excellence in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest.]
The awards were presented Saturday afternoon during the association’s annual awards presentation, this year held virtually due to COVID-19.
Dorothy “Dot” Roderick, one of the first women advertising executives in the newspaper industry; Dieter Bradbury, a force in Maine journalism for more than four decades; and Judy Meyer, executive editor for Sun Journal, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel and a fierce advocate for first amendment rights, were selected by the MPA’s Hall of Fame Committee as the 2021 inductees. Due to the decision to forego this year’s in-person conference, the formal induction ceremony will be held at next year’s MPA Conference, Oct. 22, in Bar Harbor.
In the General Excellence competition for print newspapers, The Portland Press Herald was judged the best daily in Maine for the third consecutive year while the Maine Sunday Telegram was the weekend Newspaper of the Year for the eleventh time in twelve years.
The contest judges, who hailed from The South Dakota Press Association, wrote of The Portland Press Herald, “Clearly the class of this division. Front page designs are attractive and leave no doubt about the day’s top story. It features a robust editorial page with local editorials and an attractive sports page…. The writing ranges from professional to first-rate.”
“There’s not much getting done on Sundays in Portland for the readers of this newspaper,” said the judges about the Maine Sunday Telegram. “It’s stuffed with ads and sections that feature stories from staff writers in each one. The sports news pops off the page. Headlines are solid and photos are crisp.”
In the Weekly 1 division, for newspapers with less than 3,000 print circulation, The Camden Herald took the top prize. Judges said, “This is a newsy, well-written newspaper. The front pages are attractive…It has lively opinion pages and a first-rate sports section.” The Weekly 2 winner, the Portland Phoenix, was lauded for its differences. “Unlike many tab-sized newspapers, this one does not overload its front page, opting to take an attractive magazine approach. The writing here is superb.”
The Camden Herald and The Lincoln County News won the Freedom of Information first-place award in the Weekly 1 and Weekly 2 divisions, respectively, while Bangor Daily News took top honors in the Daily/Weekend division.
Samantha Hogan of The Maine Monitor was named the Journalist of the Year and Jane Patriquin of the Portland Press Herald was the Advertising Person of the Year.
Emily Bader, formerly of the Lakes Region Weekly and now of the Sun Journal, won the Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award, and Keith Taylor of MaineToday Media was honored by the MPA as the Unsung Hero of the Year.
MPA also inducted three Maine journalists into the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame. Dorothy “Dot” Roderick, Dieter Bradbury and Judy Meyer have been selected by the MPA’s Hall of Fame Committee and were inducted during the association’s annual Fall Conference.
A complete list of 2021 award winners will be posted next week on the MPA’s website: www.mainepressassociation.org