A team of journalists from the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram has been awarded one of the most respected prizes in American journalism.

The Scripps Howard Foundation selected the Maine-based newspaper’s aging series – “The challenge of our age” – to receive its 2013 Scripps Howard Award for Community Journalism.

Deputy Managing Editor Dieter Bradbury served as project editor with reporter Kelley Bouchard as the project’s lead writer and Shawn Patrick Ouellette as lead photographer and videographer. Reporters Leslie Bridgers, Jessica Hall and Eric Russell contributed stories to the series.

Page designer Brian Robitaille copy edited the project and designed the newspaper presentation. Digital Design Director Peter Vachon designed and built the project’s Web pages.

“Community service and watchdog journalism are among our core values at the Portland Press Herald. It’s an honor to be recognized for our efforts with such a prestigious award,” Bradbury said in a statement. “We hope that recognition will extend to the plight of Maine’s elderly, who made these stories possible by opening their lives to us.”

The Scripps Howard Foundation announced the awards on Monday during a webcast. The awards honor the best work in the communications industry and journalism education for 2013. Established in 1953, the Scripps Howard Foundation’s national journalism awards recognize outstanding print, broadcast and online journalism in 15 categories.

Other winners included the New York Times, The Guardian, National Public Radio, Seattle Times and the Boston Globe.

Mike Philipps, president and chief executive officer of the Scripps Howard Foundation, based in Cincinnati, said entries in the journalism categories were judged by 52 industry experts.

The judges issued the following comment on the aging series:

“In an outstanding group of entries ‘The Challenge of Our Age’ distinguished itself in depth, scope, reach and storytelling, a most comprehensive report on a growing national challenge brought close to home for Maine readers. This remarkable solutions-oriented body of work employed all the tools in a journalist’s tool box to inform, enlighten, engage citizens and policy-makers in addressing the terrific human impact of aging in a state with the nation’s oldest median age, exposing how poorly prepared Maine’s public and private systems are to meet the needs of its aging residents.”

Judges said the deeply personal human stories of older residents – ill, hungry, poor and vulnerable – “resonated powerfully in the way effective journalism should.”

The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram will receive $10,000 and will be invited to attend a May 22 dinner honoring their achievements.

The dinner will be held at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati.