Five reporters from The Maine Monitor have won awards from the National Newspaper Association Foundation through its Better Newspaper Editorial Contest.
Established in 1885, the National Newspaper Association is the voice of America’s community newspapers and is one of the largest newspaper associations in the country.
The National Newspaper Association Foundation is the educational arm of the National Newspaper Association. Its mission is to promote news literacy, protect the First Amendment, and enhance the quality, role and capabilities of community newspapers and community journalists.
Samantha Hogan earned first place in the Best Investigative or In-Depth Story or Series category for her “Eavesdropping in Maine Jails” series.
In response to the series, lawmakers passed a bill requiring county jails to maintain a registry of attorney contact information and disqualifying investigators who listen to private jail phone calls. The legislation directs prosecutors to adopt statewide procedures to ensure confidentiality by January 2024.
“Top notch reporting. What sets this entry apart from other entries in this category is the use and reporting from multiple ‘non-public’ sources,” a judge wrote. “Investigative journalism is, at its core, reporting information that the normal public cannot easily obtain itself.”
George Harvey placed first for Best Sports Story for Under represented: Numbers lag for women coaches across Maine varsity sports.
Few women are head coaches of Maine’s high school sports teams, a study of the state’s coaching staffs found.
For instance, only 28 percent of girls basketball programs during the 2021-2022 season were led by women. Women accounted for 39 percent of soccer and softball head coaches, respectively.
“This is an extremely well-researched and written story illustrating a problem on the local and national level with anecdotes both local and national and illustrated with photos and graphics,” the category judge wrote. “Great lede, well researched, well-written — excellent job!”
Rose Lundy placed second in the Best Education/Literacy Story category for her story Building strength: Addressing mental health challenges among Maine youth.
The story explored how schools, mental health experts and students are working to address ‘heartbreaking’ rates of youth suicide and depression.
“Great examples of services for students with mental health challenges,” a judge wrote of the story. “The local perspective is highlighted while giving a statewide highlight of how the issue is affecting the state.”
Kate Cough received a second place award in the Best Business Story category for ‘Dark store’ theory: Walmart, large retailers push to cut millions in property taxes statewide.
Since 2015, according to data collected by The Maine Monitor, large retailers have succeeded in lowering the valuation of their properties by more than $16 million in communities from Biddeford to Bangor, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax reductions.
The story was praised by the judge for being a “clear explanation of a complex issue.”
Barbara A. Walsh placed third in the Best Feature Series category for her “The Journey to Be Me” series that chronicled the stories of Maine’s transgender people and their struggle to be accepted and understood.
The series was hailed as “very passionate and thorough” by a judge.
A September ceremony will see 92 newsrooms from across 33 states receive 602 awards.