Three reporters from The Maine Monitor have won four 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 the 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.
This was the first time the Monitor entered work into the competition, which drew 1,333 entries from newsrooms in 40 states. There were 586 awards won by 92 newspapers.
The contest judge wrote for her first place series: “This series about deaths from suicide and overdoses in an underserved county in Maine was very well told. The stories of the deaths themselves and also of the lack of counseling available for the families and other loved ones were compelling and sad. It was inspiring to learn about some of the creative efforts individuals and organizations were making to fill in the gaps and offer services to the vulnerable.”
The contest judge wrote for third place series: “These stories looking at the rate of child abuse and neglect in Maine were compelling and memorable. The series highlighted some of the warning signs of abuse and neglect and questioned whether Child Protective Services in the state was doing enough.”
Samantha Hogan and ProPublica reporter Agnel Philip won first place in the Best Investigative or In-Depth Story or Series for their story Lawyers who were ineligible to handle serious criminal charges were given thousands of these cases anyway.
The contest judge wrote: “With all eyes on the Supreme Court, the reporters expertly highlighted the mishandling of justice on a state and local level. The level of work put into this story is remarkable and succeeds in putting vital information into the hands of readers (and voters).”
The article, and the “Defenseless” series the story was part of, was supported by ProPublica when The Maine Monitor was a member of ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network.
Kate Cough placed third in the Best Environmental Story category for her story Staggering $1.5 billion lithium deposit discovered near Newry; excavating it poses a challenge.
Kate Cough and Samantha Hogan are partially supported by Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.
Awards will be presented at a ceremony Oct. 8 in San Francisco.