The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram were named the best daily and weekend newspapers in the state Saturday night at the Maine Press Association’s annual conference, and one of their reporters was named Journalist of the Year.

The newspapers captured numerous individual and staff awards in the MPA’s 2015 Better Newspaper Contest. The winners were announced during an awards banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bangor.

The Press Herald was honored for General Excellence in the daily category, while the Maine Sunday Telegram earned that award in the weekend category. Reporter Scott Dolan was named Journalist of the Year for defying a judge’s illegal order to the news media early this year not to publicize certain court proceedings.

“We are humbled by the volume of awards we received tonight from the Maine Press Association,” said Lisa DeSisto, CEO of MaineToday Media, the parent company of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. “It is a wonderful validation of the important work we do in our newsrooms and in our business operations.”

In addition, the Press Herald was honored in the MPA contest for Best Business Section, Best Features Section, Best Sports Section and Best Editorial Page.

Earlier Saturday, Press Herald/Telegram columnist Bill Nemitz was inducted into the MPA’s Hall of Fame.  Journalist Bob Kalish, formerly of The Times Record in Brunswick, and Lou Ureneck, who was executive editor of the Portland Press Herald, the Portland Evening Express and the Maine Sunday Telegram were also inducted into the Hall of Fame Saturday.


“These awards reflect the depth and breadth of the talent on this staff,” said Cliff Schechtman, executive editor of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. “They underscore what we try to bring readers each day.”

Also, Staff Writer Melanie Creamer won one of the MPA’s “Unsung Heroes” awards.

Individual winners included employees from the newspapers’ editorial, advertising and marketing departments.

First-place individual winners included:

 Continuing story: Beth Quimby, Edward Murphy, Randy Billings, “Five dead in house fire on Portland’s Noyes Street.”

Spot news story: Beth Quimby, Edward D. Murphy and Randy Billings, “Five dead in house fire on Portland’s Noyes Street.”


Feature story: Colin Woodard, “Unsettled: Triumph and Tragedy in Maine’s Indian Country.”

Environmental story: Tux Turkel, “Does northern Maine’s economic future depend on a walk in the park?”

Business story: Whit Richardson, “How much further can Millinocket fall?”

Education story: Noel Gallagher, “Cost of higher education draining Mainers”

Health story: Kelley Bouchard, “Someone to watch over the journey’s end”

Sports news story: Deirdre Fleming, “Bear debate marked by contrast in funding”


Editorial: Greg Kesich, “Our View: South Portland students give lesson in patriotism”

Freedom of Information: Scott Dolan

People photo: Gabe Souza, “New Citizen”

Picture story: Gabe Souza, “Passamaquoddys”

Scenic photo: Gregory Rec, “Sea smoke photographer”

News video: Shawn Patrick Ouellette and Susan Kimball, “Maine officers salute police dog in emotional farewell”


Features/Lifestyle video: Amelia Kunhardt and Susan Kimball, “Old Man of the Sea: Lobsterman, 84, has no plans to retire”

Critic’s Award: James Schwarz, “Dine Out Maine: Street and Co. in Portland”

News/sports headline: Allison Busemeyer, “Some claws for alarm”

Specialty page design: Sally Ericson, Food & Dining

Best Young Reader Engagement: Staff

Self-Promotion: Staff

Best New Revenue Idea: Staff

Second-place winners included reporters Dennis Hoey, Joe Lawlor, Eric Russell, Mary Pols, John Richardson, Steve Mistler and Colin Woodard; photographers Gabe Souza and Gregory Rec; columnist Alan Caron; editorial writer Sarah Collins; editors Nate Thompson, John Willhoite and Brian Robitaille; and Peter Vachon, online.

The Bangor Daily News, The Camden Herald/ The Republican Journal and the Mount Desert Islander received top honors for their websites. Among weekly newspapers in the MPA contest, the Mount Desert Islander of Bar Harbor and The Republican Journal of Belfast were named the best in their respective divisions.

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