The Maine Press Association has named Lincoln County News reporter Abigail W. Adams the 2015-2016 recipient of the Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award.
Adams received the award during the association’s annual conference Saturday, Oct. 29 at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in South Portland.
The award was the highlight of the LCN’s total haul of 20 awards in the Maine Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.
Adams, 35, of Damariscotta, is the second LCN reporter in three years to win the Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award, after Dominik Lobkowicz in 2014.
“Abigail is a conscientious reporter, one who cares deeply about her work,” LCN Editor J.W. Oliver said while introducing Adams during the awards ceremony. “She is smart, she is tough, she works hard.”
Adams collected seven more individual awards: first place in the Business Story and Continuing Story categories; second place in Business Story, Education Story, and News Story; and third place in Feature Story and Health Story.
Adams “understands community journalism and brings the same dedication to a feature about a second-grader’s effort to convince his town to establish a public library that she brings to her ongoing coverage of the county’s response to the heroin crisis,” Oliver said.
Adams covers the county seat of Wiscasset, as well as the towns of Alna, Dresden, Edgecomb, Westport Island, and Whitefield. She joined the LCN staff in October 2014.
The Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award bears the name of the late Robert G. “Bob” Drake, a longtime editor for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, 1985 Maine Press Association Journalist of the Year, and member of the Maine Press Association Hall of Fame.
The award recognizes a full-time staff member of a Maine Press Association member newspaper with fewer than two years of full-time experience as of the deadline for nominations.
Among other highlights of the awards ceremony, the contest judges named Glenn Chadbourne the top editorial cartoonist for all weeklies for the third consecutive year.
Oliver, LCN sports reporter Paula Roberts, and the LCN design staff were also recognized.
Oliver took first place in the Courts Story and Food Story/Feature categories, and third place in Arts/Lifestyle Feature and Editorial. Roberts took third place in Sports Profile.
The newspaper’s design staff took second place in Supplement Cover, Sponsorship Page, and Supplemental/Special Section; and third place in Local Ad. The editorial staff took third place in the Editorial Page category.
The LCN also took third place in the General Excellence – Print category.
The contest divides Maine newspapers into three categories: daily newspapers and large and small weeklies by circulation.
The Lincoln County News competes in the category for the state’s large weekly newspapers, although the Drake Award includes all newspapers in the state and the Editorial Cartoonist category includes all weeklies.
Journalists in New England states other than Maine judge the contest.
During the all-day conference, LCN staff attended workshops focused on professional development and changes in the newspaper industry, as well as the annual induction ceremony for the association’s hall of fame.
Established in 1864, the Maine Press Association is one of the oldest professional news organizations in the nation. Among its goals, the association works to protect the freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the public’s right to know, and to promote and foster high ethical standards in journalism.
A complete list of LCN awards with some of the judges’ comments follows:
Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award, Abigail W. Adams
First Place, Business Story, “ProKnee in Whitefield preps for expansion,” Abigail W. Adams. (Adams “takes what would be a boring planning board story – a business filing for an expansion – and gets through to the real story of a man who experienced a need and built a business around filling it. It’s the kind of made-in-the-USA manufacturing story that should make a lot of us smile.”)
First Place, Continuing Story, Whitefield personal property tax, Abigail W. Adams (“The reporter taps into the community anger in this local story, and she explains complex issues without bogging down.”)
First Place, Courts Story, “Somerville deer-baiting incident lands murderer back in prison,” J.W. Oliver (“Interesting story, complete with a ton of good detail about the man’s history and how police tracked him down.”)
First Place, Editorial Cartoonist, Glenn Chadbourne (“Breathtakingly beautiful illustrations that also hit home for readers with the subject matter Mr. Chadbourne finds in his sights.”)
First Place, Food Story/Feature, “Maine’s first aquaponics company moves to Dresden,” J.W. Oliver
Second Place, Supplement Cover, staff
Second Place, Business Story, “CEI founder reflects on 38 years of economic development,” Abigail W. Adams (“Adams shows how business development and growth serves to curb poverty and create real opportunity using the experiences of Ron Phillips.”)
Second Place, Education Story, “’Citizen Quinn’ inspires Whitefield to expand library hours,” Abigail W. Adams
Second Place, News Story, “Virus takes down Lincoln County law enforcement’s computer network,” Abigail W. Adams
Second Place, Sponsorship Page, staff
Second Place, Supplemental/Special Section, staff
Third Place, Arts/Lifestyle Feature, “Newcastle man to appear on ‘Filthy Riches,’” J.W. Oliver
Third Place, Editorial, “Economic development,” J.W. Oliver
Third Place, Editorial Page, staff (“This paper makes it clear that you can have a strong editorial page with original editorials and by sharing as many letters as possible.”)
Third Place, Feature Story, “Wiscasset veteran remembers war in the Pacific,” Abigail W. Adams (“Gripping account of World War II veteran Howard Cederlund’s experience during the war. We are losing WWII veterans every day and their stories need to be told.”)
Third Place, Health Story, “Lincoln County’s secret weapon in the war on drugs,” Abigail W. Adams
Third Place, Local Ad, staff
Third Place, Sports Profile, “From scrawny to hulk, former Jefferson man transformed his body,” Paula Roberts (“A well-written look into an interesting world. The writer does a nice job getting her subject to share his story and what it takes to make it in body-building.”)