AUBURN — The Kennebec Journal and the Morning Sentinel won 19 awards Saturday at the Maine Press Association’s annual banquet and contest ceremony, while the Portland Press Herald took top honors as the state’s best daily newspaper, weekend newspaper and website.

Colin Woodard, state and national affairs reporter for the Press Herald, won journalist of the year.

The awards were given out during the association’s annual contest ceremony, which was held at the Hilton Garden Inn.

Among the first-place awards for the central Maine papers was the top selection for a news story, awarded to Kennebec Journal reporter Craig Crosby for his story that broke the news about Christopher Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit.

Morning Sentinel photographer Michael G. Seamans also won two first-place awards — one for a news photo showing the aftermath of a winter fire, and another for a scenic photo showing Thunder Hole at Acadia National Park. Seamans had seven awards in total.

In addition, former Morning Sentinel reporter Matt Hongoltz-Hetling took first place for an environmental story about the alewife population recovery in central Maine.

The Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel copydesk, led by News Editor Maureen Milliken, also won first place for news/sports headline, “Young boxer carries the weight of struggling hometown on his shoulders.”

In advertising, the Morning Sentinel won first place for best new revenue idea with the section “Downtown Quarterly.”

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