BOSTON — The Bangor Daily News was honored in six categories at the annual New England Newspaper and Press Association Better Newspaper Contest awards banquet Saturday night at the Park Plaza Hotel. The BDN earned three first-place awards, two seconds and a third in its circulation class for 2009.
First-place awards went to BDN graphics director Eric Zelz in the Illustration category for his art accompanying a story on Bangor’s 175th anniversary, and the collective staff was honored in the category of Health Reporting for a comprehensive package on H1N1 flu and in the category of Local Election Coverage.
Reporter Judy Harrison took second place in the Social Issues Feature category for two stories on the gay marriage debate in Maine. Editor and columnist Dana Wilde took second in the Serious Columnist category for his Amateur Naturalist column. Copy editor Tom McCord captured third in History Reporting for his feature on urban renewal in Bangor and its legacy.
The event drew 600 journalists from the six-state region representing more than 250 publications ranging from large daily newspapers to small weeklies and trade papers. More than 3,000 entries were submitted for judging.
Zelz’s winning illustration for a story on Bangor’s 175th anniversary drew the following comment from the judges: “Nothing beats vintage photos and artwork, and this illustration nicely represents the historic celebration. Very well done.”
A photo illustration by Zelz also was part of the H1N1 report that earned the staff a top award.
The judges praised the BDN staff’s H1N1 report, spearheaded by health reporter Meg Haskell, stating: “You did an impressive job of bringing the past into the present and educating readers about this often-covered topic. The tips and resources are especially helpful and turn just another flu story into an informative piece.”
Judges termed the BDN staff’s reporting on the 2008 election, overseen by editor Jeff Tuttle, “Thorough coverage of campaigns from start to finish, local to national. Nice charts and layout. Excellent work.”
Harrison’s side-by-side stories on gay and straight couples talking about same-sex marriage in advance of last year’s referendum garnered the following judges’ comment: “Great representation of both sides of the same-sex marriage debate. Good research and use of sources.”
The judges praised Wilde for his simple approach to column writing: “Dana Wilde’s Amateur Naturalist column reminds us of the everyday wonders in the backyard. Great observations, details.”
McCord, an accomplished reporter and editor now working on the BDN’s Copy Desk, drew the following response from the judges for his report on urban renewal in Bangor: “The three-part series gives a glimpse into the city’s history, including the aspirations of residents and city leaders — and how the renewal efforts turned out.”
Other Maine papers honored by NENPA included the Ellsworth American, which earned the General Excellence award in its Weekly circulation class. Reporter Seth Koenig of the Brunswick Times Record was named Journalist of the Year in the Daily classification, in part for his coverage of the closing of the Brunswick Naval Air Base.
For more information, visit www.NENPA.com.