The news staff of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram won 25 awards, including 14 first-place ones, in the 2010 Maine Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.

Among the honors, the Telegram won the general excellence award for weekend newspapers.

The awards were announced Saturday night at the association’s fall conference, held at the Point Lookout Resort and Conference Center in Northport.

“It’s flattering to win so many awards,” said Vice President and Executive Editor Scott Wasser, “but more importantly it’s rewarding to see the hard work, dedication and tremendous talent of our reporters, photographers and editors recognized by their peers. It’s also a testimony to the leadership and teamwork of all of our employees and executives — from the front desk to the loading docks to the carrier routes. The awards also recognize the company’s editorial philosophy, which results in the capture of readers as well as journalism awards.”

The newspapers won first-place honors for their sports section and website.

Individual first-place finishers were Suzi Piker for multimedia presentation; Trevor Maxwell for news story; John Richardson for analysis; Bill Nemitz and Matt Wickenheiser for continuing story; Sally Tyrrell for feature headline; Mike Lowe for sports feature; Kevin Thomas for sports column; Gregory Rec for spot news and picture story; John Ewing for feature photo; and Gordon Chibroski for sports photo.

Second-place awards went to Kevin Thomas for staff blog; David Hench for spot story; Nemitz for feature story; Derek Davis for feature photo; and Ewing for scenic photo.

The third-place winners were Nemitz for local column; Beth Quimby for health story; Rec for picture story; Ewing for sports photo; and Tim Greenway for scenic photo.

In the association’s general excellence category, the Bangor Daily News won for daily newspapers, with the Portland Press Herald second and the Times Record of Brunswick third.

The Maine Sunday Telegram won the category for weekend newspapers, with the Bangor Daily News taking second and the Sun Journal of Lewiston taking third.

Meg Haskell of the Bangor Daily News was named Journalist of the Year.

The Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel — which, along with the Press Herald and Telegram, are owned by MaineToday Media — picked up nine and two awards, respectively.

The Kennebec Journal won first place in the people photo and staff blog categories; second place for news photo, graphics, front page design, news/sports headline and education story; and third place for graphics. Reporter Matthew Stone received the Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award.

The Morning Sentinel won first place for feature story and second place for people photo.