The Martha’s Vineyard Times received 27 awards in the New England Newspaper & Press Association’s 2018 Better Newspaper Competition, including first place in the coveted “general excellence” category.
“A triumph of good planning and comprehensive news stories,” the judges concluded. “There is a good volume of news, and the editors seem to be on top of their communities.”
The general excellence award comes on the heels of The Times being recognized in the fall as New England’s Newspaper of the Year, in a separate contest organized by NENPA.
The Times received 27 awards across all spectrums, including reporting, advertising, and design, with 11 of those taking top honors in their categories. The awards were presented Friday and Saturday at the Boston Harbor Renaissance Hotel. The Times competed in a category for weekly newspapers with circulations above 6,000.
The Times was recognized for best overall mobile product. “A fun feature that adds value for mobile users and caters to the Island’s many tourists,” according to the judges.
The Local won a first in the special section category. “This is a terrific special section,” the judges said. “The front-page photo of innkeeper Elise LeBovit is just fabulous, and makes you want to see what’s inside.”
Judges also gave kudos to the section’s layout and photography. “The content is out of the ordinary, which is so compelling,” the judges said. “We love the middle spread — Made on MVY. Do this weekly!”
Times writers also won individual awards. Kate Feiffer was recognized for a personality profile on Katharine Cornell that was published in Arts & Ideas. “Profiling someone who’s been gone for four and a half decades presents unique challenges, but the writer has pieced together a compelling mosaic here,” the judges said. “We would read the book and watch the movie (nudge, nudge …).”
Sports reporter Alex Palmer was recognized with a first place for his sports feature story on the last of the rabbit hunters. “A fascinating feature about a dying sport that has been so much a part of New England, and just what it takes to participate,” the judges said. “Solid reporting by the reporter.”
In a twist that shows just how well the Vineyard is served by its two weekly newspapers, Times Calendar editor Connie Berry shared top honors for education reporting with Heather Hamacek of the Vineyard Gazette. Berry’s story was about an autism group on the Island. “The reporter put together a highly readable story about both the problems and the solutions of a group of parents and their autistic children on the Island,” the judges said.
On Friday, the Times received five first-place awards related to advertising, including one for the best idea for generating ad revenue. “The MV Times, in acquiring the advertising contract for the VTA, creatively developed advertising opportunities for [its] own products,” the judges said.
The Times also won for themed pages for multiple advertisers with its “Made on MV” pages. “Great double layout highlighting handmade objects,” the judges said.
Designer Nicole Jackson was recognized for best infographics for a feature she designed to showcase Island camps.
The Times won first for “best use of social media to promote your newspaper” and for “classified promotion.”
Other awards included:
- A second place in environmental reporting for Barry Stringfellow on his important piece on by-catch left dead in the wake of squid trawlers. “We all appreciate a story that shows as well as tells the scale of an environmental problem,” the judges said. “Stringfellow wrote us a story that is well-reported, well-told, and potentially very important to local readers.”
- Geoff Currier won a second place for his human interest feature story published in Arts & Ideas on the Martha’s Vineyard Comics, praised for the way he balanced the backstory and the subjects’ own accounts. “The writing transports us, and gives the reader a perspective of the Vineyard they could envision through the eyes, experiences, and artwork of these illustrators,” the judges said.
- A third place for audience/community involvement for The Times series After 18, which follows Islanders after they graduate from high school. “The Times takes an interesting and unique idea and comes up with some compelling people stories in this feature.”
- George Brennan and Cameron Machell received a second place in the “right-to-know” category for unearthing an investigation into Tisbury Police Officer Mark Santon through public records requests. “By utilizing the state’s FOI laws and defending the public’s interest in learning about the investigation, they were able to expose questionable decisions made by this officer and the flawed policies of his department.”
- A second place for a business page that highlighted the mix of stories and an “educational and entertaining Q and A with readers writing to ‘Ask a Geek’ about high-tech gear to catch more fish and why phone trees don’t work.”
- Jamie Kageleiry and Tara Kenny were recognized for Arts & Ideas with the second place for “best niche publication,” praising its design and content. “What a great way to showcase the arts,” the judges said. “Any art enthusiast would love this.”
- Vineyardvisitor.com received a second place for best overall website.
- Kristofer Rabasca won second place for his feature photo. “Peak action. Well done,” the judges said.
- Stacey Rupolo also won a second place for her “very strong image” in the personality photo category, and a third place for her “excellent images and story” in the photo story category.
- Sam Moore won a second place for his portrait of Henry Louis Gates Jr. in Arts & Ideas.
- Jamie Kageleiry and Tara Kenny also received a third place for Arts & Ideas’ “overall design and presentation of a niche product.”
- A second place for “audience building promotion” for The Times collaboration with the VTA.
- And a second place for Islanders Write in the “newspaper-sponsored event promotion” category. “The Times has created a wonderful two-day event for members of the community who are interested in writing and writers,” the judges said.