Mount Desert Islander is best in New England

MDIBOSTON — The Mount Desert Islander won first place for general excellence in the Weekly 1 division during the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA) conference here Saturday.

“There isn’t one thing that goes on in this community that isn’t noticed by the Mount Desert Islander,” the judges wrote. The judges praised the papers design, content and advertising. “Awesome Acadia Park celebration section,” they wrote.

That section came away from the six-state association’s 600-member contest with a total of three awards. They included a first place for event promotion, a first for special section advertising supplement and a second for editorial supplement. “Packed with local celebratory ads and tons of local history,” the judges said.

In granting the Islander and its sister paper The Ellsworth American third place in New England for advertising general excellence, the judges praised the “Out and About” seasonal visitor magazine and mentioned the strength of the papers’ classified sections.

At NENPA’s annual meeting and conference at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel, the Islander and its staff won a total of 25 awards for journalistic, photographic, digital, design and advertising excellence.

In addition to the honors levied on the Acadia section, first-place awards included government reporting by Dick Broom for his coverage of the process used by the National Park Service to acquire land at Schoodic. Mark Good also won a first for health reporting for a story on a heroin user’s struggle with opiate addiction. “Good details that back up a growing problem,” the judges wrote. Other firsts included business section, Overview; editorial cartoon, Joe Marshall; and for portrait photo and for spot new video by Earl Brechlin.

The Islander’s mobile app shared first places with The Ellsworth American for mobile application design and overall mobile application.

Islander columnist Jill Goldthwait of Bar Harbor took first place for political columnist in the large weekly newspaper division. “Takes a tough, and well-reinforced slam against legislator’s ignoring the state’s right-to-know law,” the judges wrote.

The Islander also won second-place awards for right-to-know, for editorials by Hugh Bowden and Earl Brechlin. The judges wrote, “The Islander showed a pattern of right-to-know advocacy in its news coverage and editorials … this paper shows its readers the value of open government.” A second place for investigative reporting went to Dick Broom. “A quick-hit investigation turns up key information,” the judges wrote. The paper also won second-place awards for sports section; arts and entertainment section; and spot news photo by Earl Brechlin. Sports reporter Taylor Bigler won a sports writing second place for the American.

Third-place editorial awards included sports story, Amanat Khullar; spot news story, Mark Good; transportation reporting, Dick Broom; general news photo, Dick Broom; and news feature photo, Earl Brechlin.

Advertising awards included a second place for local color display ad and third places for automotive display ad, real estate display ad, most creative use of small print space and subscription sales promotion.

The Islander has placed in the small weekly general excellence division for all of New England in each of the last 12 years. It has won the category on five previous occasions, the most recent in 2012.

The Islander’s sister paper, The Ellsworth American, won a total of 28 NENPA awards, including 16 first places for journalistic, photographic, digital and advertising excellence on Saturday in the large weekly paper division.

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