The Vineyard Gazette was honored over the weekend with 34 awards in the New England Better Newspaper Competition for 2021, including top honors for photography, news and business reporting and its website.

Gazette photographer Mark Alan Lovewell won five awards, including two first place prizes — one for a shot of the schooner Alabama during the June 2021 solar eclipse and another for a picture of Geraldine Brooks throwing out the first pitch at a softball game in honor of her late husband, Tony Horwitz. Photographers Jeanna Shepard and Timothy Johnson each received two awards, including one first place each. Ray Ewing won two photography awards and Maria Thibodeau won one.

Poster for Gazette's 175th anniversary featuring photograph by Alison Shaw. — Alison Shaw

Reporter Louisa Hufstader won two awards, including a first-place award for a profile of Charlayne Hunter-Gault, which the contest judges praised for its "excellent writing craftsmanship."

Former reporters Noah Asimow, Aaron Wilson and Maia Coleman earned a first-place award for a package of stories on how downtown businesses fared during the summer and winter of the pandemic. Noah and Maia shared a first-place award for coverage of the Island’s real estate and construction boom, and Maia won another first place for her coverage of the tight summer rental market. "This series goes to the heart of what makes local journalism so essential to the welfare of the communities it serves," the judges wrote of all three winners. "Excellent, comprehensive and beautifully crafted local news coverage from this outstanding publication." 

Noah also won a first-place award for general news for reporting on irregularities at the Vineyard Trust that led to the resignation of its executive director. The Gazette and its webmaster Graham Smith won two first place awards for the newspaper’s digital presence: an overall award for the website and another for website interactivity and engagement.

"The Vineyard Gazette's website during the pandemic, especially the continuously updated list of what is open, was a great service to the community," the judges wrote. "The Time Machine, an interactive archive with extensive photos and stories, is a rare treat!"

Editor Susie Middleton and designer Jane McTeigue were honored with a first-place award for the 2021 Island Guide, a full-color tourist publication. The Gazette also won first-place awards for its Golden Ticket subscription promotion and for a poster of an Alison Shaw photo that promoted the company’s 175th anniversary show at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

Awards for journalism, advertising and promotion were announced at the annual convention of the New England Newspaper & Press Association April 29-30 in Boston. The awards were for work published between August 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021.

In addition to the Island Guide, four other publications of the Vineyard Gazette Media Group received awards: Island Weddings magazine, the Real Estate Yearbook, the Vine and Premium Properties. The Gazette’s inaugural podcast, Shed, won a second-place award. Art Director Jane McTeigue was recognized for advertising design.

Winning photographs.

Updated to include first-place award for Louisa Hufstader and comments from judges.