Newspapers of the Year: Sun Journal, Telegram, Mount Desert Islander, York County Coast Star

The Lewiston Sun Journal and the Maine Sunday Telegram have been named the daily and weekend Newspapers of the Year, respectively, in the Maine Press Association’s 2012 Better Newspaper Contest.

The Mount Desert Islander of Bar Harbor was named Newspaper of the Year in the competition for weeklies with circulation of 4,000 or more, and the York County Coast Star of Kennebunk won the award in the competition for smaller papers.

The winners were announced Oct. 13 during the MPA’s annual Fall Conference at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport. The daylong conference drew nearly 200 people.

The Mount Desert Islander has now been named Newspaper of the Year in six of the last seven years. This was its first year competing in the Weekly 2 division, for the larger papers.

The Sun Journal’s award for general excellence in the daily division was its third in the last five years. The Telegram was named the weekend Newspaper of the Year for the second time in three years.

The MPA also gave its inaugural awards for Advertising General Excellence.

First place went to the Sun Journal in the daily and weekend divisions. The Ellsworth American won the competition for larger papers, and The Original Irregular of Kingfield took the award in the Weekly 1 division.

The Sun Journal was the winner of the Freedom of Information Award for daily and weekend papers, and The York Weekly won the award for weeklies.

A.M. Sheehan and Matt Hongoltz-Hetling, whose reporting for the weekly Advertiser Democrat of Norway exposed substandard conditions in public housing in western Maine, were named co-Journalists of the Year by the MPA. In introducing the winners, Ed Snook, publisher of the Advertiser Democrat, said, “Their investigative reports led to a series of changes and government investigations – from Augusta to our nation’s capital in Washington.”

Aislinn Sarnacki, who writes features for the Bangor Daily News, was the winner of the annual Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award.

Earlier in the day, the MPA inducted two new members to its Hall of Fame, Mary Brewer and Ann McGowan.

Brewer, who retired this year as managing editor of the Boothbay Register and Wiscasset Newspaper, worked for the weekly papers for more than 50 years. She was named Maine Journalist of the Year in 1984 and was the MPA’s president in 1982-83.

McGowan, who retired in 1996 as managing editor of the Morning Sentinel in Waterville, joined the Sentinel in 1961 and was one of the first women to be appointed managing editor of a daily newspaper in Maine.

The Hall of Fame, begun in 1998, honors people with Maine ties who have made outstanding contributions to the newspaper profession.

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