The Vineyard Gazette won 14 awards for excellence in journalism at the New England Press Association annual better newspaper competition, including five first place awards. The awards were given out on Saturday night at a dinner at the Marriott Copley in Boston. The competition included more than 5,000 entries from more than 300 small newspapers throughout New England.
The Gazette captured 12 awards in editorial and two in advertising.
Gazette staff won first place for best editorial supplement for the special section commemorating the ferry Islander, and the staff won first place for history reporting for the same section.
Gazette senior writer Mike Seccombe won first place in religious reporting for a series of stories on changes in the Catholic church diocese on the Island, and he won second place in transportation reporting for his stories about the arrival of the ferry Island Home.
The Tuesday feature series Two of Us, which quickly developed a popular following last summer, won first place in the Special Award category of the competition.
“Unique connections and a unique way of telling people stories,” the judges wrote about the series.
Gazette advertising staff captured first place for best advertising campaign for the Midnight Farm series.
“Advertising campaign is unique, with vintage photographs that have a sophisticated sense of time and place. The ads stand out from other ads in the paper with the dominant graphic,” judges wrote.
The Gazette won four photography awards: Jaxon White won second place for personality photograph for a shot he took of Island artist Steve Lohman; Luke Kelly won third place in general news for a shot of the NAACP gospel choir at the East Chop Light and second place for photography series for a group of photos he shot at Camp Jabberwocky last summer; and Allen Green won third place in the pictorial category for a shot of the Vineyard Haven harbor in the rain that he took through the windshield of his car.
Reporter Ian Fein won third place in environmental reporting for a series of stories he wrote about the Vineyard energy agenda last year.
Other awards are as follows: General excellence, third place; overall design, third place; advertising campaign, third place.
“The Vineyard Gazette is an outstanding newspaper that covers its community fully and with a strong sense of its history and its uniqueness. The special section on the Islander is a good example of this. The editorial page is strong and attracts numerous letters and guest columnists. The design, lack of color and extra-wide paper give the newspaper a vintage feel,” judges wrote.
The Gazette was also a finalist for the George A. Speers newspaper of the year; for the third year in a row the top honors went to the Ellsworth American, a weekly newspaper published in Ellsworth, Me.
The Martha’s Vineyard Times won eight awards this year.
The complete list of awards and links to the stories and photographs are posted on the Gazette Web site at mvgazette.com.