AUBURN, Maine — The Bangor Daily News took home 36 honors Saturday at the Maine Press Association’s annual conference and Hall of Fame induction at the Hilton Garden Inn.
The BDN won 13 first-place awards, eight second-place honors and 15 third-place awards. Reporters, photographers, bloggers, editorial writers, page designers and the advertising staff were honored.
The Maine Focus Film Festival that showcased teens’ videos on how drug abuse has impacted their lives, spearheaded by Maine Focus coordinator Erin Rhoda and features writer Natalie Feulner, was named Best Young Reader Idea. The film that garnered 32 percent of the online votes was about a teen struggling with an addiction to prescription pills. It explored the feelings that he has as a result of his addiction and emphasized the importance of getting help.
The following people won first-place honors in the following categories: Photo editor Brian Feulner, people photo for the Boys of Isle Au Haut; photographer Troy Bennett, picture story for Drive-in and features video for Henna art; graphic artist Eric Zelz, illustration for a piece on nursing home underpayments; feature writer Emily Burnham, critics award for an album review; and Jackie Farwell, health care story on the Affordable Care Act shared with Lindsay Tice of the Lewiston Sun Journal.
BDN bloggers Seth Koenig, George A. Smith and Aislinn Sarnacki were honored for Seth in the City, George’s Outdoors and Act Out with Aislinn, respectively. Becky Bowden won for front page design, and Erin Rhoda and Matt Stone won for editorial page design.
The advertising staff took first-place prizes for their campaign promoting the 2013 BDN Man Expo.
Bangor Daily News visual journalist Troy R. Bennett was named president of the Maine Press Association
At its luncheon Saturday, the Maine Press Association admitted two new members into its Hall of Fame. The inductees were the late Robert Crocker, a longtime Associated Press state house reporter, and Richard Dudman, a retired St. Louis Post Dispatch correspondent and editorial writer for the Bangor Daily News.
Dudman, 96, worked for 31 years for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch covering the Vietnam war, Washington and foreign affairs. Stories he covered include the takeover of Cuba by Fidel Castro, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Bay of Pigs invasion and Watergate. He retired from the St. Louis paper in 1981 and moved to the Ellsworth area, where from 2000 to 2012, he wrote more than 1,000 editorials for the Bangor Daily News.
“He had a career that no journalist will ever have again,” said Bangor Daily News reporter Bill Trotter, who introduced Dudman at the Hall of Fame induction luncheon. Trotter noted that Dudman covered the assassination of Kennedy in 1963, and on his last day as Washington bureau chief, he covered the shooting of President Ronald Reagan. In between, Dudman was captured in Cambodia while covering the Vietnam War and held for 40 days. He was put on President Richard Nixon’s enemies list for seeking a copy of the Pentagon papers, and he interviewed Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot in Cambodia.
“This is quite an honor, and I appreciate it,” said Dudman, as his wife, Helen Sloane, daughter Martha Dudman and three of his grandchildren sat in the audience. “Although most of my career was in St. Louis and Washington, I did a few things here.”
Dudman shared a “mistake” he made during his career with those in attendance, noting that an interpretive article he wrote at the end of the Vietnam War categorized it as a “humiliating defeat” and a tragedy.
“It was not a tragedy. It was good news to have the war end at last,” he said.
Dudman earned the George Polk career award in 1993, the New York Press Club’s award for best reporting from Asia, and the Edward Weintal award for diplomatic reporting. He is the eighth Maine Press Association Hall of Fame inductee with ties to the Bangor Daily News.
Crocker was inducted posthumously for his career as Maine State House correspondent for The Associated Press from 1947 to 1969. He also worked as a reporter for the Lewiston Evening Journal and the Worcester, Massachusetts, Evening Gazette. Crocker filed thousands of stories while covering the State House. In 1969, he was elected secretary-treasurer of the American Newspaper Guild in Washington.
The Portland Press Herald, Mount Desert Islander, York Weekly and
Maine Sunday Telegram were the winners for general excellence in the print division, according to a Maine Press Association press release. The Wiscasset Newspaper/Boothbay Register and Press Herald/Telegram received top honors for general excellence for their digital publications.
The Courier-Gazette won the Freedom of Information first-place award in the weekly category, while the Sun Journal took top honors in the daily/weekend division.
The Journalist of the Year award went to Colin Woodard of the Portland Press Herald. The Advertising Person of the Year is Brenda Allen of the Portland Press Herald, and Dominik Lobkowicz of the Lincoln County News won the Bob Drake Young Writers Award. Gary Gagne of the Maine Daily Newspaper Network was honored by the Maine Press Association as the Unsung Hero of the Year.
BDN Metro Editor Michael J. Dowd contributed to this report.