Centralmaine.com won first place for best daily newspaper website in the state, Travis Lazarczyk was named the best sports columnist and Michael G. Seamans received the Best in Show photography award as part of the annual Maine Press Association ceremony held virtually on Saturday.

In all, the Kennebec Journal had 18 individual awards and the Morning Sentinel had 26, across a variety of categories for Maine’s newspapers as part of the 2020 Better Newspaper Contest for reporters, photographers, editors, designers, production, advertising and circulation.

The Maine Press Association held its annual awards ceremony virtually Saturday night, opting for an online presentation instead of an in-person gathering because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the general excellence website category, centralmaine.com took first place among Maine’s daily newspapers. The website for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel also won first place in that category in 2018.

The Portland Press Herald received first place for general excellence-daily newspaper; and the Maine Sunday Telegram received first place for general excellence-weekend newspaper.

In special categories, reporter Randy Billings of the Portland Press Herald was named the Journalist of the Year; Joanne Alfiero of the Portland Press Herald was named Advertising Salesperson of the Year; Meg Robbins, former reporter for the Morning Sentinel and now of The Maine Monitor, was given the Bob Drake Young Writer of the Year award; and Carl Natale, web editor at the Sun Journal, was named the Unsung Hero.

Seamans, a Morning Sentinel photojournalist, won both the Best in Show photography award and first-place for a People Photo with his portrait image of David Jones, chief of the Norridgewock Fire Department, taken on Feb. 26. Seamans took the photo of Jones for a story about residents approving hiring two full-time firefighters during Town Meeting.

David Jones, chief of the Norridgewock Fire Department, on Feb.26. Residents approved hiring two full-time firefighters during Town Meeting. The town is seeking applicants for the position. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

Seamans also received first-place awards in the Sports Photo category for a picture of Winslow field hockey coach Mary Beth Bourgoin having some fun with her players during a preseason practice.

Winslow High School head coach Mary Beth Bourgoin performs with the field hockey team in the dance-off at the Winslow High School field hockey play day on Aug. 24, 2019, in Winslow. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

Seamans also won first place for Picture Story as part of the photojournalism in the special investigative report “A Deadly Shade of Green Part 2: Power Struggle,” which examined the impact of the planned Central Maine Power corridor on rural life in Maine’s North Woods.

The first part of that special report, “In an isolated Inuit community, concern is strong over water toxins from hydropower expansion,” written by former Sentinel reporter Matt Hongoltz-Hetling, separately won first place for an Environmental Story.

Lazarczyk, a Morning Sentinel sports reporter, won first place for Sports Columnist for his “Sidelines” columns.

Morning Sentinel reporter Taylor Abbott won first place for an Education Story for her report earlier this year on how a Skowhegan bathroom-gender issue had its roots in earlier concerns over online bullying and threats.

In the advertising Self Promotion category, Jake Law and Creative Services staff won first place for “Local Offers.”

At the Kennebec Journal, photojournalist Joe Phelan won first place for Online News Video, showing a Belgrade Lake mail boat carrier delivering mail along the shore.

Kennebec Journal sports reporter Drew also won a pair of first-place awards, for Sports News Story, “Wrestling: In Maine, maintaining weight becomes the goal”; and for Sports Profile, “Paul Vachon looks back on 34 years in Cony High School sports.”



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