BAR HARBOR, Maine – The Bangor Daily News won the Excellence in Print award in the statewide daily newspaper category, and a reporter received the highest honor for young journalists on Saturday at the Maine Press Association annual conference.
Members of the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, who judged the contest, praised the BDN for its consistently well-presented focus on Maine news.
“What impressed us most were the all-local front pages, all-local bylines, and stories that not only report the news, but give readers insight and context,” the contest judges wrote about from the Bangor Daily News. “The Daily News ‘Unguarded’ series on the Maine Army National Guard and sexual misconduct was well researched, detailed and compelling.”
BDN Print Operations Manager Mike Dowd accepted the award during the banquet at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel and Event Center.
“Many hard-working journalists, editors, photographers, page designers and advertising reps have earned this recognition,” Dowd said. “It is a tribute to the excellent journalism produced by the newsroom team of editor Dan MacLeod and the design talents of our print office headed by Travis Gass.”
Sawyer Loftus, who covers the University of Maine system and regional news in the Bangor area, won the Bob Drake Young Writer’s Award, which recognizes reporters with three years of professional experience or less.
The BDN also won several first-place awards for articles, photos and videos produced by its news staff from April 2021 to March 2022, as well as several publicity and opinion awards. The Maine Focus team won Best Investigative Report for its 2021 series with the Portland Press Herald on Maine State Police Misconduct. Judy Harrison has been honored for her review of Monmouth Theater’s ‘Sofonisba’. Troy R. Bennett won prizes for two videos: a profile of the state’s only official Cowboy Action gun club and a Christmas tree bonfire at Old Orchard Beach. Photographer Linda Coan O’Kresik won for a photo she took while covering the funeral of Hancock County MP Luke Gross.
Loftus, who joined the BDN in 2021 after graduating from the University of Vermont, won the honor for his coverage of the University of Maine system and the business connections of a Bangor-area man. who became the first Mainer charged with defrauding a federal pandemic-era business loan program.
Loftus was the first Maine reporter to report that Michael Laliberte, who had been hired to lead the University of Maine at Augusta, had received a vote of no confidence from faculty at the new institution. Yorker he was leaving.
He also revealed that the system administrator heading WBU research hid information about the vote of no confidence from other committee members, in violation of a code of ethics he had signed.
The revelations helped prompt votes of no confidence against University of Maine system chancellor Dannel Malloy and the removal of Laliberte from the UMA presidency.
Loftus’ work over the past year has also dismantled Nathan Reardon’s business empire, which includes dozens of businesses, a trail of debt to nearly 100 former employees and $100,000 in fines for breaches of the law. work. Reardon pleaded guilty in July to defrauding the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
The Loftus reports also revealed that Reardon applied for federal rent relief funds as a landlord when his bail conditions prohibited him from doing so. Reardon was arrested for breach of bail the day after this report.
“His work has made a difference in people’s lives, held public officials and institutions accountable, and ensured that more government operations come to light,” said Matthew Stone, City Editor of BDN, nominating Loftus for this honor. “Sawyer’s work illustrates why local reporting is so important.”
Prior to joining the BDN, Loftus worked at Vermont Public Radio, the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press, and VTDigger. He was also editor of the University of Vermont student newspaper, the Vermont Cynic.
“We are so proud of our talented and hardworking journalists, who are dedicated to telling the stories of the Mainers and uncovering crucial information that would otherwise remain hidden,” said BDN editor MacLeod. “Sawyer’s exemplary work was the culmination of a tremendous year of local journalism by our staff statewide.”