Managing Editor Liz Graves holds the Islander award for general excellence at the NENPA conference. ISLANDER PHOTO BY TERRY CARLISLE

Islander named best in New England

BOSTON — The Mount Desert Islander won first place for general excellence among weekly papers of its size (less than 6,000 circulation) during the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA) conference here Saturday.

“The Mount Desert Islander was clearly the class of this field, in the depth and breadth and presentation of its coverage,” the judges wrote. “A newsy package. One of the measures of general excellence is how much the reader would want this newspaper to be its community newspaper if he or she lived in that area. The Islander passes that test with ease and excellence.”

At NENPA’s annual meeting and conference at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, the Islander and its staff won a total of 15 awards for excellence in journalism, design, photography, video and digital products. NENPA has 600 member publications in the six New England states.

First place in education reporting went to Dick Broom for a story about the school on Frenchboro. A story about the Crooked Road Shakespeare Kids by Liz Graves was given first place for arts and entertainment reporting. Other firsts included obituary (David Rockefeller by Anne Kozak), business section and editorial/commentary page.

The Islander’s mobile app shared first place with The Ellsworth American for mobile product design.

Second place for government reporting went to Dick Broom for a story about Swans Island mail carrier Louis “L.J.” Hopkins. “Broom stands up for the ‘little guy’ in this story that focuses on one man’s battle but hints at the dysfunction in government,” the judges wrote.

Islander cartoonist Joe Marshall won second place for a cartoon of an app to help visitors to MDI and Acadia find available parking places. Other second place awards were for the newspaper’s website, and its arts and entertainment section.

Broom won third place in the transportation reporting category for coverage of Acadia’s transportation plan. “Routine government announcements of planning drafts rarely warrant an award for journalism,” the judges wrote, but Broom’s clear, straightforward organization and writing stood out among other entries documenting similarly routine government workings … . The result gave local readers a clear picture of what they might expect if the plan is implemented.”

Videos by Earl Brechlin of the MDI Marathon and a Pearl Harbor veteran won honorable mention awards.

The Islander has placed in the small weekly general excellence division for all of New England in each of the last 13 years. It has won the category on six previous occasions.

The Islander’s sister paper, The Ellsworth American, won a total of 18 NENPA awards for journalistic, photographic, digital and advertising excellence.

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