Last Call! 2023 MPA Better Newspaper Contest Entry Deadline is June 2

This is it—one day to go to gather those entries, submit the majority of entries online, and mail your hard-copy General Excellence (Print & Advertising) papers with entry form and payment to Executive Director Diane Norton (postmarked by June 2).

The $100 entry fee includes one entry in each of the 58 categories including Photography/Design, Advertising/Circulation, Writing, Sports, Sections, Online, and Special Categories.

We’re looking forward to a good showing and lots of competition in all divisions. So far, it appears we have about half of the entries as last year, with a goal to surpass that number. Kudos to the early birds who have completed their entries and are now relaxing by the lake. We hope to see the rest of you and your entries by June 2.

Good news! Maine House, Senate defeat LD 422

It took considerable effort and much collaboration amongst Maine Press Association members, Mitchell Tardy Jackson (our advocates in Augusta), and allies AARP, Maine Broadband Coalition, Grow Smart Maine, but on April 27, LD 422 was finally put to sleep.

And we especially thank Rep. Holly Stover for her stalwart support throughout this session as we opposed An Act to Eliminate the Requirement that Municipalities Provide Public Notices in Newspapers.

The bill left the Maine Legislative Committee on State and Local Government  after a March 9 work session, when the vote was 8 to 5 that LD 422 ought not to pass.

On April 25, the House voted 78 to 63 against the bill, and on April 27, the Senate voted 24-9 to defeat it. Republican Senators Harrington and Keim voted with their Democratic colleagues in favor of the motion. 

While there is a sense of relief, MPA acknowledges that similar bills will surface in the future, just as they have in the past. It is an issue that the MPA board intends to address, with an emphasis on better collective marketing of the Maine Notices website. 

In other Capitol news, the MPA Legislative Committee submitted testimony either in support of, or in opposition to, seven bills on April 26-27. The majority of them were related to Maine’s Freedom of Access Act and the treatment of records.

MPA opposed:

LD 848, An Act to Expunge Certain Nonviolent Drug Crimes, and requests that Judiciary move further discussion back to a reconstituted Criminal Records Review Committee for recommendation 

LD 1550, An Act to Authorize the Expungement of Records of Nonviolent Crimes, and requests that Judiciary move further discussion back to a reconstituted Criminal Records Review Committee for recommendation 

LD 1646, An Act to Vacate or Adjust Sentences and Expunge Arrests, Convictions and Adjudications for Cannabis-related Offenses and requests that Judiciary move further discussion back to a reconstituted Criminal Records Review Committee for recommendation.

LD 1649, An Act to Support Local Governments in Responding to Freedom of Access Act Requests 

LD 1789, An Act to Remove All Marijuana-related Provisions from the Maine Criminal Code and Expunge All Convictions Involving Marijuana and requests that Judiciary move further discussion back to a reconstituted Criminal Records Review Committee for recommendation.

LD 739, RESOLUTION, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Empower the Legislature to Allow the Expungement or Sealing of Certain Criminal Records

And supported:

LD 1622, Resolve, to Reestablish the Criminal Records Review Committee

~Lynda Clancy, Chair of MPA Legislative Committee

Maine Press Association awards $3K in scholarships

From left: Grace Bradley, Hope Carroll, and Andrew Wing are the 2023 recipients of the Maine Press Association’s journalism scholarship.

The Maine Press Association awarded $3,000 in scholarships to three Maine journalism students in January.

Recipients of 2023 scholarships are Grace Bradley, of Orono, a senior at the University of Maine and editor-in-chief of the university’s chapter of Her Campus; Hope Carroll, of Portland, a junior at the University of Maine and opinion contributor to The Maine Campus; and Andrew Wing, of Raymond, a senior at St. Joseph’s College of Maine and 2022 intern at The Windham Eagle.

The Maine Press Association awards scholarships every year to a junior or senior with financial need who plans to pursue a career in journalism. The funds come from the association’s annual scholarship auction.

To inquire about the 2024 scholarship, contact Maine Press Association Scholarship Committee Chair J.W. Oliver at

Established in 1864, the Maine Press Association works to promote ethical journalism, to advocate for the interests of the journalists and organizations that constitute its membership, and to protect the freedom of the press and the public’s right to know.

And a new editor for The Lincoln County News, too! 

As of Thursday, Jan. 12, The Lincoln County News has a new management team consisting of Publisher John Roberts (left), Editor Maia Zewert, and Associate Publisher Allan Roberts. (Elizabeth Walztoni photo)

The Roberts family has named Maia Zewert the next editor of The Lincoln County News.

Zewert, 29, moves into the role after serving as acting editor for eight months. She becomes the 12th editor in LCN’s century-plus history.

“Maia has a connection to people with the ability to interact with the community and reporters that makes her uniquely positioned to take on the role of editor,” said John Roberts. “She has done a great job of transitioning the editorial department over the past several months and is ready to take on the full responsibility.”

Zewert started her professional career at The Lincoln County News in August 2015 as a general assignment reporter covering the towns of Bristol, Damariscotta, Monhegan, Newcastle, and South Bristol. In November 2017, she received the Maine Press Association’s Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award, which recognizes the top young journalist in the state.

In January 2018, she moved into the business side of operations as marketing and engagement coordinator for Lincoln County Publishing Co., which publishes the LCN. She managed the company’s social media and the #LCNme365 photo contest, served as coordinator of Lincoln County Magazine through a successful relaunch of the publication, and developed award-winning youth engagement programs.

Zewert returned to the newsroom in February 2021 when she was named deputy editor. The role included serving as editor of special publications, including the magazine, assisting the editor, and continuing her work with local students. Story continues here

John C. Roberts named publisher of The Lincoln County News

John C. Roberts has been named Publisher of The Lincoln County News, effective Jan. 12. He has served as one of the Associate Publishers since Jan. 11, 2016.

John replaces his father, Christopher A. Roberts, who has held the position since Oct. 15, 1992.

At a meeting of the stockholders of the Lincoln County Publishing Co., owner of The News, John was elected President, Allan R. Roberts was elected Vice President and Treasurer, and Christopher was elected as Secretary.

Allan will continue serving as Associate Publisher concentrating on commercial printing operations. He has worked at the company full time since 2006.

Christopher was accorded the title of Publisher Emeritus and does not have formal plans for retirement. His father, Samuel E. Roberts, held this title from Oct. 15, 1992 until his passing on Nov. 6, 2018.

John becomes the fifth generation of his family to become Publisher of The News. He succeeds his father, his grandfather, his great-grandmother, Dorothy E. Roberts, and his great-great-grandfather Samuel H. Erskine.

John is married to Kristen (Magnussen) and the father of two boys, Matthew and Thomas. He and his family reside in Damariscotta.

Allan is married to Allison (Fleming) and the father of a boy and a girl, James and Michaela. He and his family reside in Damariscotta.

MPA Board backs bill to help local news operations 

The Maine Press Association board has voted to support the “Local Journalism Sustainability Act’’ that is pending in Congress.

The bill is meant to provide newsrooms with a refundable tax credit for five years to help with their finances amid the industry’s dire financial challenges. Steven Waldman, the co-founder of Report For America, is one of the backers. The MPA’s board voted to draft a letter of support that will be sent to Maine’s congressional delegation. You can read more about the legislation here and listen to a podcast featuring Waldman here.

The Bangor Daily News, the Portland Phoenix, and The Camden Herald among MPA winners

Top left to right: Melissa Logan, Advertising Person of the Year; Steve Collins, Journalist of the Year; Sawyer Loftus, Bob Drake Young Writer of the Year; Caroline Spear, Unsung Hero of the Year.

BAR HARBOR, Maine, October 22, 2022 –The Bangor Daily News, Portland Phoenix, The Camden Herald, and the Maine Sunday Telegram have been honored by the Maine Press Association (MPA) for General Excellence in print newspapers.

The Portland Press Herald, Boothbay Register, and The Camden Herald took top honors for digital General Excellence in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest.

The awards were presented Saturday night at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center, in Bar Harbor, concluding a day of programming and networking for reporters, photographers, journalists, advertising staff, and designers throughout the state.

Longtime distinguished journalist Earl Brechlin (The Bar Harbor Times & Mount Desert Islander), and fourth generation The Lincoln County News owner and publisher Chris Roberts and his wife Paula Roberts, the paper’s sports reporter and photographer, were selected by the MPA’s Hall of Fame Committee as the 2022 inductees.

2021 Inductees Dorothy “Dot” Roderick, Dieter Bradbury, and Judy Meyer (Top right w/Steve Collins) were also honored at Saturday’s Induction Luncheon.

In the General Excellence competition for print newspapers, the Bangor Daily News was judged the best daily in Maine while the Maine Sunday Telegram was the weekend Newspaper of the Year for the 12th time in 13 years.

The contest judges, who hailed from The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, wrote of the Bangor Daily News: “What impressed us most were the all-local front pages, all-local bylines and stories that not only report the news, but give readers insight, and context…The Daily News series ‘Unguarded’ on Maine Army National Guard and sexual misconduct was well sourced, detailed and compelling.”

“Each Sunday paper was an example of outstanding journalism that serves readers,” said the judges about the Maine Sunday Telegram. “Wonderful photography, layout, column, stories and opinion. Very clear that the goal of everyone from the top editor on down is focused on giving readers an outstanding paper. Great mix of national, regional and local news.”

In the Weekly 1 division, for newspapers with less than 2,000 print circulation, The Camden Herald took the top prize for the second consecutive year. Judges said: “This publication has the most unique and differentiating content of all newspapers reviewed…Great news judgement on the covers, from business development, important ballot information, property transactions — most all of which include imagery or photos.”

The Weekly 2 winner, the Portland Phoenix, was also a second-consecutive year winner. Judges said: “This tabloid newspaper is attractive, well-written and the design is appealing without being overtly flashy. Coverage had a comprehensive mix of government, lifestyle and features, as well as some investigative stories as well.”

Samantha Hogan and The Maine Monitor won the Freedom of Information first-place award in the Weekly division, while the staff of the Sun Journal took top honors in the Daily/Weekend division.

Steve Collins (top right), of the Sun Journal, was named the Journalist of the Year and Melissa Logan (top left), of the Sun Journal and Western Maine Weeklies, was the Advertising Person of the Year.

Sawyer Loftus (Lower left), of the Bangor Daily News, won the Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award, and Caroline Spear (Lower right), of Penobscot Bay Press, was honored by the MPA as the Unsung Hero of the Year.

A complete list of 2022 award winners will be posted later this week on the MPA’s website. (Photos by Greg Rec)

The Maine Press Association (MPA), founded in 1864, is one of the oldest professional news organizations in the nation. Learn more at

MPA Annual Conference is Saturday

We’re looking forward to seeing you Saturday, Oct. 22, for the Annual MPA Conference at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center in Bar Harbor.

A full day of events is planned, including the Annual Business Meeting at 8:45 a.m. and informative programming throughout the day.

A whopping 128 members and guests will honor our 2022 Hall of Fame Inductees (Earl Brechlin and Chris and Paula Roberts) and our 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees (“Dot” Roderick, Dieter Bradbury, and Judy Meyer).

Bring your cash to the Scholarship Auction & Reception at 5:00 p.m. led by Auctioneer Extraordinaire Aimsel Ponti and bid on a super selection of items with all proceeds benefiting the MPA Scholarship Fund.

Finally, 150 of us will celebrate the 2022 Better Newspaper Contest winners and Individual Award Winners including Journalist of the Year, Advertising Person of the Year, Bob Drake Young Writer, and Unsung Hero at this year’s Awards Dinner & Banquet at 6:30 p.m.

Masks are Welcome: With the recent surge in COVID cases, we’re encouraging those who would like to mask at the conference to do so. Everyone’s health is of the utmost importance to us and we respect members’ decisions to do whatever makes them most comfortable.

Members to vote on bylaws amendments, dues structure

Maine Press Association members will vote on amendments to the organization’s bylaws and a new dues structure during the business meeting (8:45 a.m.) at the 2022 conference.

The bylaws amendments would require “Regular Members” to follow the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics; add “advocacy newspapers/websites” to the list of organizations that can become “Associate Members”; and fold the “Affiliate” category of membership, for vendors that work with members, into the “Associate” category.

Another change involves a seat on the board set aside for an appointee of the University of Maine Department of Communication and Journalism. The amendment would open the seat to a journalism faculty member at any postsecondary institution in Maine. The membership would elect this individual, as they elect all other board members.

The new dues structure would replace an approximately 10-year-old structure based on a newspaper’s open rate and standard column width. The growth of digital-only members and newspapers that publish less than once a week led the board to research alternatives and recommend a structure based on each member’s number of employees.

Each change addresses issues that have come before the board in recent years. After the 2021 annual meeting, Maine Press Association President Chris Crockett established and chaired an ad hoc committee to review membership categories and criteria. The committee met several times during the 2021-22 year and proposed most of these amendments, which the board of directors approved in August.

The amendment regarding the University of Maine seat follows the departure of the board’s last university representative in the spring. The university has not appointed a replacement and the board agreed to open the seat to all colleges and universities in the state, in order to draw from a deeper pool of candidates.

Bylaws amendments and dues changes are subject to a vote of the “Regular Members” — the 45 newspapers and websites that comprise the Maine Press Association’s core membership. Each Regular Member has one vote and should designate one person to cast its vote. Read the bylaws amendments and see the new dues structure below.