Maine-OK Enterprises newspapers, Boothbay Register, Wiscasset Newspaper and Pen Bay Pilot, won 20 awards in the annual Maine Press Association Better Newspaper Contest at the MPA’s fall conference held Saturday, 22 October at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center in Bar. Port.

Wiscasset reporter and deputy editor Susan Johns won eight awards – three first, two second and three third. His first awards were for Feature/Lifestyle Video (Wiscasset picks up on 4th of July traditions); Photo of people (Pace car pride); and News Headline (Icy review: Alna complains about contractor’s response to January 5 terms); the second prizes were for News Video (A Winterfest nevertheless) and Editorial (Hold the swearwords); and third place prizes were for Scenic Photo (Wiscasset Harbor); News headline (The night the lights went out in Alna); and Editorial (Read this).

Boothbay Register reporter Bill Pearson won first place for his Sports Headline (Meader staying for another field hockey season). Arts and Entertainment Editor Lisa Kristoff took third place for the Critic’s Award (Bravo Wilde). And news entrepreneur Isabelle Curtis took third place for Education Story (BRHS grads reflect on their freshman year of college amid a pandemic).

The Pen Bay Awards (seven) included: Lynda Clancy, first place for Political Story (Camden proposes loosening density rules to encourage labor and affordable housing) and first place for Feature Photo (A Morning of ‘Summer on Penobscot Bay); Sarah Thompson, first place for Health Story (Editing the call for the Thomaston restaurant for alleged threatening behavior ends up with a much different story), first place for Spot News Photo (Hope Street Fire, January 2022); and third place for People Photo (snow pants, badges, fun on the Rockland sledding hill); Diane O’Brien, second place for local columnist (this week in Lincolnville); and Chris Wolf, third place for Feature Story (the spectacular 911 call to Knox Regional Communications happily culminates in the birth of a baby boy).

Boothbay Register won the Digital Excellence Award in the Weekly 2 division; Wiscasset Newspaper, second place for digital excellence, weekly 1.

At the awards ceremony, former Register photographer John Edwards was among those remembered in a reading of Maine reporters who died in the past year.

The conference included a full day of events including the annual business meeting; informative programming; the Hall of Fame luncheon with 2022 inductees Earl Brechlin of the Mount Desert Islander and Chris and Paula Roberts of the Lincoln County News and 2021 inductees Dorothy “Dot” Roderick, Dieter Bradbury and Judy Meyer; the annual scholarship auction and reception; and the 2022 Better Newspaper Awards Dinner and Banquet with emcee Greg Rec.

The Better Newspaper 2022 competition was judged for work published from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 from weeklies, daily newspapers and digital publications. There were 58 categories in this year’s competition in the following categories: Photo/Design, Sections, Advertising/Broadcast, Writing, Sports, Online and Special Prizes. The Wiscasset newspaper competed in the Weekly 1 division and the Boothbay Register and Pen Bay Pilot in the Weekly 2 division. Weekly 1 includes newspapers with circulation or distribution ranging from one to 1,999; Weekly 2 includes newspapers printed or distributed in 2,000 or more copies and online newspapers. The contest was judged by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

Pearson, editor Kevin Burnham and journalist Joseph Charpentier, and Pen Bay Pilot’s Lynda Clancy, Sarah Thompson and Chris Wolf attended this year’s Register conference. Clancy, a board member and past president of the MPA, chaired this year’s competition committee. Charpentier is also a member of the board of directors of the AMP.