The Maine Monitor earns 39 Maine Press Association awards

Nineteen newsroom contributors receive accolades from industry peers.

Members of The Maine Monitor newsroom collectively received 39 accolades from the Maine Press Association during the association’s annual fall conference Oct. 14 in South Portland. 

Nineteen newsroom contributors received commendations for their work produced between April 2022 and March 2023 from a pool of judges representing the Utah Press Association. 

The Maine Monitor has now earned 190 accolades from the Maine Press Association since the newsroom began participating in the MPA competition in 2015 (including under the identity of Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting and Pine Tree Watch). 

The Monitor is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news operation supported by individual donors and foundations.

The newsroom competed in a division alongside news outlets such as the Ellsworth American, Mount Desert Islander, Penobscot Bay Pilot, Boothbay Register, Camden Herald, Courier Gazette, Lincoln County News, Harpswell Anchor and Republican Journal. 

In total, the Monitor earned 18 first place awards, nine second place awards and eight third place awards. 

Kate Cough brought home the most awards for the newsroom with six. Samantha Hogan, Roger McCord and Alex MacLean each received four awards. 

Joyce Kryszak, Marina Schauffler, Derrick Z. Jackson and Barbara A. Walsh earned three each. Caitlin Andrews earned two.

Rose Lundy, Annie Ropeik, Ellie Wolfe, Melissa Ellin, Cici Yu, Emma Sanchez, Kendall Richards, David Dahl, and Hal Madsen each received one award.

As a collective, the Monitor earned first place for its usage of Freedom of Information laws: Andrews used the state’s public records statute to obtain emails between Maine’s education officials and the Mills administration; Hogan obtained records for her “Eavesdropping in Maine Jails” series; Dahl obtained federal labor violation records about companies controlled by the family behind the Wreaths Across America; Lundy obtained records about a death at an assisted living facility; and two groups of Boston University students used obtained records to produce stories on harness racing violations and how Maine’s medical examiner has lagged behind the national average for conducted autopsies.

Puffin with half a dozen fish in its beak seemingly poses for a photo
Photo by Derrick Z. Jackson.

The newsroom also received a second place award in the General Excellence category for its digital presence. Jackson received a Best in Show photography award for his photo of a puffin with a mouth full of hake.

The Portland Press Herald, Mount Desert Islander, Houlton Pioneer Times and the Maine Sunday Telegram were honored for General Excellence in print editions. The Portland Press Herald, Harpswell Anchor and Wiscasset Newspaper took top honors for digital General Excellence.

George Harvey, the Monitor’s multimedia editor, received the “Unsung Hero” award alongside Monica Speranza Cochran of The Times Record. The award is bestowed upon any staff member, from any department at their newsroom, whose contributions to his or her newspaper have been essential but often overlooked.

Michael Shepherd of the Bangor Daily News was named Maine’s journalist of the year, Peter Filippelli of the Portland Press Herald was heralded as advertising professional of the year and John Terhune of the Portland Press Herald was named the Bob Drake Young Writer of the Year.

“We’re honored to receive this recognition for our hard work. We also thank our supporters who have helped make our nonprofit newsroom thrive,’’ said editor David Dahl. “We hope that readers remember these awards as we head into our year-end fundraising season.’’

First Place Awards

Best Environmental Story: The sea is rising, and so is the angst for homeowners by Kate Cough

Best Investigative Report: The Unstoppable Ocean by Kate Cough and Alex MacLean

Best Education Story: Mills administration removed LGBTQ learning module as Republicans made it a campaign issue by Caitlin Andrews

Best Food Story: How PFAS got into soils and food systems by Marina Schauffler 

Best Courts Story: A man waited three years for a trial. His case may change how Maine looks at speedy trial rights by Samantha Hogan

Best Religion/Spirituality Story: Maine religious leaders hope to stem drop in attendance by Ellie Wolfe

Best Health Story: Washington County emergency medical system approaches a crisis by Joyce Kryszak

Best Sports News Story: There’s an ugly side to Maine harness racing by Cici Yu, Emma Sánchez and Kendall Richards

Best Business/Economics Story: New faces showing up Down East by Joyce Kryszak  

Best Coverage of Minority Community Issues: Aging transgender population faces profound challenges by Barbara A. Walsh

Best Feature Story: A cancer survivor, former Marine and teacher lives her best life at 65 by Barbara A. Walsh

Best Outdoors Story: Seabirds are on the rise on islands off Maine’s coast by Derrick Z. Jackson

Best Local Columnist: Sea Change (Examples 1 and 2) by Marina Schauffler 

Best Picture Story: The Unstoppable Ocean by Alex MacLean

Best Feature Photo: Puffin by Derrick Z. Jackson

Best News Video: The 60-Hour Bridge by Roger McCord

Best Sports Video: Catching 90 mph baseballs by Roger McCord

Best Features/Lifestyle Video: Inside the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory by Roger McCord

Second Place Awards

Health Story: A death of choice by Caitlin Andrews

Environmental Story: Researchers seek statewide changes to save clam fishery from climate-driven collapse by Annie Ropeik

Education Story: Building strength: Addressing mental health challenges among Maine youth by Rose Lundy

Business/Economics Story: Small town faces huge decision: Take on oversight of proposed $1 billion park or not by Kate Cough

Continuing Story: The Unstoppable Ocean by Kate Cough and Alex MacLean

Investigative Report: Invisible and Indestructible by Marina Schauffler

Features/Lifestyle Video: From Mexico to Maine: Change thrives in Milbridge by Roger McCord

Scenic Photo: Camden Harbor by Alex MacLean

News Story Headline: Wheels on the bus still go round and round, even as schools struggle to find drivers by Hal Madsen

Third Place Awards

Environmental Story: Maine’s decades-old flood maps don’t always factor in sea rise and climate change by Kate Cough

Courts Story: Too many cases. Too few lawyers. Maine courts stretch to find available defense attorneys by Samantha Hogan

Political Story: Vacant and newly filled clerk jobs are a concern ahead of Maine’s primary elections by Samantha Hogan 

Education Story: Small schools struggle, thrive, and fight to stay open by Joyce Kryszak

Coverage of Minority Community Issues: Foreign-trained health professionals could be part of the solution to a workforce shortage by Melissa Ellin

Continuing Story: Columbia Falls proposed development by Kate Cough and David Dahl

Sports Profile: Maine woman’s best shot pays off in life and basketball by Barbara A. Walsh

News Story: Maine prosecutors drop indictment amid allegations investigator ‘monitored’ attorney calls by Samantha Hogan

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The Maine Monitor is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting that holds Maine state government and institutions accountable. Our team of investigative journalists use data- and document-based reporting to produce stories that have an impact.
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