Bridgton News wins six MPA Better Newspaper Contest awards

The Bridgton News captured six Maine Press Association’s 2012 Better Newspaper Contest awards.

The awards were presented Saturday at the MPA annual conference held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport.

Winning entries in the Weekly 2 category (Maine’s larger weekly publications) were:

Opinion Columnist: BN Columnist S. Peter Lewis won first place for his “Views from the Uppermost House.”

“Lovely stories about family, community and the human condition,” said judge Meg Heckman, online editor at the Concord Monitor.

Feature Story: Staff Writer Wayne E. Rivet earned a first place award for, “Hope for Closure,” a story about the Torres family’s hope to some day learn what happened to their missing son.

“Clear, concise view into a mother’s loss. I’m glad you included the police, but without focusing on them and the procedure of crime and missing persons cases. The emotions moved the story,” wrote judge Sarah Palermo of the Concord Monitor.

Education: Staff Writer Wayne E. Rivet received a second place for his story, “Rebirth of a School,” regarding a major change in the Lake Region High School curriculum and teaching approach.

“This piece is an extremely ambitious article. The writer presents the reader with an in-depth explanation of changes at the school. The article does a good job of including multiple perspectives, including those of a student,” the judge said.

Analysis: Staff Writer Dawn De Busk placed third with her story, “Information requests — ‘Right’ vs. ‘Burden.’” This story looked at the effects of numerous Freedom of Information requests handled by the Casco Town Office.

“Oh those pesky people who feel so good about bringing open government to the public by strangling it with Freedom of Information (or Right to Know) requests. We all have encountered them, and we want to support them. But, The Bridgton News analysis of the problem of balancing an overwhelming number of requests with the practicality of finding the time and staff to fulfill the requests is a good, relevant read,” wrote judge Rod Doherty, executive editor of Foster’s Daily Democrat.

Art/Lifestyle Feature: Staff Writer Wayne E. Rivet received a third place award for his story, “A rope and a prayer,” a talk given by author and New York Times reporter David Rohde, who was kidnapped and held hostage in Afghanistan. He spoke at his alma mater, Fryeburg Academy.

“This is an article about an event at a school, but it reads like a real story. I was captivated reading about Rohde and one paragraph led me excitedly to the next,” said judge Anna Wegel of Minnesota Public Radio.

Sports Story: Staff Writer Wayne E. Rivet received a first place award for, “Mom questions boy’s suspension,” a story of a boy who was removed from his youth baseball team after throwing a bat.

Judge Dan Tuohy, associate regional editor of in New Hampshire, wrote, “Comprehensive reporting on a sensitive subject. Multiple sources complement the overall coverage of the story. The writer captures the mother’s emotions and the challenges of raising an autistic athlete.”

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