NORTHPORT, Maine — Health editor Meg Haskell was named Journalist of the Year, capping a strong showing by the Bangor Daily News at the annual Maine Press Association awards dinner held Saturday night at the Point Lookout conference center.
The Bangor Daily News was presented with the general excellence award in the daily newspaper category and five members of the paper’s staff and a regular contributor earned first-place honors for their work. Several other staffers took second or third-place awards.
Haskell, who joined the BDN staff in 2002, was recognized as the state’s top print journalist over the past year for her in-depth coverage of health care reform and its impact on the state, the H1N1 flu outbreak and the medical community’s response to it, as well as stories about individual Mainers struggling with illness.
“I want to thank the Bangor Daily News for giving me the opportunity to do this work,” said Haskell, addressing the audience of approximately 200 employees from the state’s daily and weekly newspapers. “Whether it was traveling to the gulf region [after Hurricane Katrina] or to Capitol Hill, my editors have allowed me to go where I need to go to get the story.”
Haskell, who oversees the new health and fitness webpage at bangordailynews.com, worked for 12 years as a registered nurse in Maine and Massachusetts before becoming a journalist. She joins previous BDN staffers Kent Ward (1991), Marshall Stone (1982) and John Day (1976) in receiving the honor.
Photographer Kevin Bennett took first place in the news photo category for his image of two homeless people in a wooded area of Bangor. Graphics director Eric Zelz earned first in the daily or weekend graphic category for his study of hotel development in Bar Harbor. Reporter Abigail Curtis took first in the weekend news feature category for her story about Amber Cummings, a woman who killed her deranged, abusive husband. Reporter Bill Trotter took first in the environmental category for his article on whale habitat off Maine’s coast. Sportswriter Ernie Clark was awarded first in the sports story category for his piece on the Harbour House basket-ball competition. Film critic Christoper Smith placed first for the critic’s award with his scathing review of “Halloween II.”
Bangordailynews.com was named the state’s second-best website behind the Portland Press Herald.
The BDN advertising and circulation staff also won numerous awards.
For complete results of the MPA Better Newspaper contest go here.