Joins Boothbay Register, Wiscasset Newspaper partners in gathering 28 awards total earns Maine Press Association awards for writing, photography, digital excellence

Sun, 10/20/2019 - 7:45pm

Pen Bay Pilot, the Boothbay Register, and Wiscasset Newspaper earned 28 print and online awards in the 2019 Maine Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest, presented at the MPA’s annual conference held at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in South Portland Saturday, Oct 19.

The conference drew a record number of journalists and publishers for a day of panel discussions, a reporters’ roundtable, a luncheon that honored longtime Maine journalists, and an awards banquet where peers saluted the accomplishments of each other.

The Kentucky Press Association judged this year’s MPA contest. Each year, MPA partners with a different state’s press association to help judge each other’s annual contest. This year, there were 1,280 contest entries.

This year, Eric Russell, of the Portland Press Herald, earned the MPA’s annual Journalist of the Year distinction, while the 2019 general excellence awards went to the weeklies York County Star and Ellsworth American, and the daily Portland Press Herald. Boothbay Register and Wiscasset Newspaper earned placement with the MPA’s special awards for General Excellence-Digital, with the Boothbay Register and Wiscasset Newspaper taking second and third place, respectively, in the Weekly 1 division (newspapers with a circulation of under 3,000) and the Pen Bay Pilot taking second place in the Weekly 2 division (online newspapers are in the Weekly 2 division, weeklies with circulation of more than 3,000).

The Boothbay Register won another special award, third place in Advertising General Excellence.

And Pen Bay Editorial Director Lynda Clancy won third place in the special award category for Freedom of Information for work on the Town of Rockport and the Constant Application of FOAA. Judge said: “Important to continue to make government agencies follow the laws. Good series of examples. Continue the good work.”


Individual and staff awards

Pen Bay Pilot

First place

Erica Thoms, “Carillos plead guilty to charges of murdering 10-year-old girl,” News Photo. Judges said: “It’s hard to get good court shots when the defendant is facing away. Great shot!)

Lynda Clancy, “Work in progress: Rebuild of historic American Boathouse on Camden Harbor turns corner,” Business Story. 

Lynda Clancy, “DOT mulls overwhelming criticism while Islesboro awaits Commissioner’s say,” Analysis.


Third place

Lynda Clancy, “Rocking the crates at the 2018 Camden Windjammer Festival,” Sports Photo. Judges said: “This photo is amazing, from the look of determination on the young man’s face to the water splashing at his feet. Well done.”

Staff, Voter Resource page Special Online Project. 

Lynda Clancy, “Sen. Angus King on Russia’s election meddling …,” Political Story. 

Erica Thoms, “Tensions run high in Waldo County Court as Sharon Carillo lawyers …,” Courts Story. Judges said: “Explained the legal terms well except for ‘extrajudicial subpoenas.’ Good job explaining the crimes, which infuriated me as I read them. The use of MacLean quote about throwing it back created a visual of the tension in the courtroom.”

Erica Thoms, “Why and how did Maine’s DHHS fail to protect two young murder victims,” Continuing Story. Judges said: “Well written account of how two children slipped through the cracks. Hopefully, the series helps to stem the tide.”

Kristen Lindquist, “A summer walk through Monhegan’s Cathedral Woods,” Outdoors Story. Judges said: “Very good descriptions. Make you feel like you are visiting.”

Sarah Thompson, “Composting company works to keep scraps from landfills …,” Environmental Story. Judges said: “Interesting topic and good job of explaining what they do and how they do it....”

Sarah Thompson, “Firefighters from across Northeast, New Brunswick visit Rockland …,” Health Story. Judges said: “I had never heard of a burn camp before now. There’s a certain intrigue a person feels when tucking into a story about something new and unfamiliar, and I definitely got that here. This a  very touching story that does a good job of letting people know about the ways first responders give back to their communities beyond what the job requires.”


Boothbay Register 

First place

Staff, Summertime, Supplement/Special Section; Kevin Burnham, “Showing her scared face,” People Photo;

Lisa Kristoff, “Falling over mushrooms,” Outdoors Story;

Bill Pearson, “Boothbay supports move to 8-man football,” Sports News Story.

Second place: Lisa Kristoff, “Student Art Show,” Critic’s Award;

Bill Pearson, “Boothbay students following vocational education path toward careers,” Education Story.

Third place: Staff, Windjammer Days, Supplement/Special Section;

Joseph Charpentier, “What is holding the region back from economic vibrancy,” Analysis.


Wiscasset Newspaper

First place: Susan Johns, “Play bag! Cornhole tourney draws 60 players to Ames True Value on sunny Sunday,” Sports Headline.

Second place: Susan Johns, “Wool it make money,” Feature/Lifestyle Video;

Susan Johns, “Rubblized: Haggett building comes down,” News Story.

Third place: Gina Hamilton, “DHHS bills and signature,” Political Story; Susan Johns, “How to move a bridge,” News Video.


One of the highlights of the conference was a keynote conversation with Rebecca Corbett, investigations editor at the New York Times, who led the Times’ Pulitizer Prize-winning coverage on Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment. Corbett started her newspaper career at the Morning Sentinel in Waterville after graduating from Colby College.

The conference also featured several workshops, the induction of three journalists into the MPA Hall of Fame, the annual auction and the evening dinner and awards ceremony.

Operations Manager Sarah Morley was elected to represent the Boothbay Register and Wiscasset Newspaper on the MPA Board of Directors, joining Clancy, who moved into the first vice president position for the board. Clancy served as secretary for the board and worked on the contest the past year.