SOUTH PORTLAND — The Mount Desert Islander earned 16 awards in the Maine Press Association’s 2019 Better Newspaper Contest.
The awards were presented Saturday at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, concluding a day of workshops and networking for reporters and photographers, journalists, advertising staff and designers throughout the state.
The Islander was runner-up in General Excellence – Print among large weekly papers in the state. Its sister paper The Ellsworth American took the top honors in General Excellence in the large weekly category.
“Accomplished!” the judge wrote of the Islander. “Glad to see the devotion to the arts … for certain, those in and interested in the arts like the attention to detail that you have. Good mix of advertising, in size and color and black and white. Editorial page is appropriate as well with some really good writing to get the point across.”
The Islander earned first place in Advertising General Excellence. “Well done with advertising layout and design on each and every page.” Advertisements for Bark Harbor and The Swan Agency Sotheby’s International Realty also drew awards in the advertising competition.
Reporter Becky Pritchard won the first place award for a health story for her report of a Bar Harbor woman’s recovery from a rare and serious childbirth complication. “This story is extremely touching, and important!” the judge wrote.
Sports reporter Mike Mandell earned first place recognition for his coverage of the Mount Desert Island High School girls’ basketball team’s championship run in February of this year. His report of the tournament semifinal game helped “the readers feel the big moments in the game,” the judge wrote. “Those who were there will definitely relive them, and those who weren’t there will get the feeling they were there.”
The paper’s sports section won a third place award. “Some strong photos and interesting story choices,” the judge wrote.
A review of Earl Brechlin’s book “Return to Moose River” by Liz Graves won the first place Critic’s Award. The Islander’s photo essay “A Day in the life of MDI” won second place in the Picture Story category.
Graves’ photo of a house fire in Bar Harbor in April, Barry Gutdradt’s photo of a mola mola and a contributed photo of sunrise on Cadillac Mountain by Kristi Losquadro of Bar Harbor won photography awards.
Joe Marshall, the Islander’s editorial cartoonist, won second place in the editorial cartoons category. The judge noted his “humorous, clever and comical drawing style combined with issues of local interest.” A “Committee Clutter Cleaner” cartoon about Bar Harbor’s attempt to consolidate town committees was called “particularly brilliant and effectively illustrated.”
An editorial in the Islander about the late Bob Pyle of Northeast Harbor and his commitment to preserving local history won a third place award. The judge called it a “nice tribute to a local historian while underscoring the importance of preserving history in stories.”