The Bangor Daily News has been named the best daily newspaper website in the state by the Maine Press Association.
In all, BDN staff took home 52 awards for writing, photography, videography, design and advertising given Saturday night at the association’s annual banquet. The event was held this year in South Portland.
The Portland Press Herald, the Ellsworth American, York County Coast Star and the Maine Sunday Telegram won top print honors for daily, weekly and weekend papers in their categories. Eric Russell of the Portland Press Herald was the Journalist of the Year, and Pine Tree Watch and the Portland Press Herald won first-place awards in their divisions for Freedom of Information. Hannah LaClaire of the Times Record in Brunswick won the Bob Drake Young Writers Award.
Pine Tree Watch and The Camden Herald also won for digital presentation in their categories.
The press association also inducted three members into the MPA Hall of Fame, including Christopher Cousins, who was named the BDN’s State House bureau chief in 2013. He died in August 2018 of a heart attack.
Robert Long, Cousins’ longtime editor at The Times Record and the BDN, wrote in a nomination letter that he “told some of the state’s most important stories with crisp, empathetic writing that helped readers grasp how his subject matter affected their lives.”
“No story was too big or too small, and his signature response to even the most impossible assignment was: I am not afraid,” Long wrote.
Other inductees were Stephen Fay, the former managing editor of the Ellsworth American and Marian McCue, longtime publisher and former editor of The Forecaster.
Dave Libby of Courier Publications was the Advertising Person of the Year.
Among the BDN current and former staff members who took home honors were Troy Bennett, who received seven first-, second- and third-place awards for his photography and videos, and Alex Acquisto, Jake Bleiberg, Callie Ferguson and Lori Valigra, who won the top award for continuing story for their coverage of the shooting of Somerset County sheriff’s Deputy Eugene Cole.
George Danby won a first place award for his editorial cartoons, Judy Harrison won a first place critic’s award for her review of True North Theatre Co.’s presentation of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and Matt Gagnon received a top award for his opinion columns. Outdoors writer John Holyoke, writers Ernie Clark, Erin Rhoda, Charlie Eichacker, Eesha Pendharkar and Ferguson also received first-place honors. In advertising, Coralie Cross received a first place for local ad, Marcie Coombs won for best digital ad campaign and Bangor Metro magazine won a first place in the special sections category for its “Best Restaurants” issue.