The Republican Journal won second place for General Excellence, and staff members and an opinion columnist were recognized with 13 additional awards in the annual Maine Press Association 2020 Better Newspaper Contest.

The Journal placed second behind its sister paper, The Ellsworth American, among weekly newspapers with circulation greater than 3,000. Journal staff brought home awards for photography, writing, design and advertising, and the sports department dominated its category.

The awards were presented Saturday afternoon, Oct. 24, during the association’s annual conference, this year held virtually because of COVID-19.

Journal awards include:

General Excellence, Journal staff, second place. “Lots of local news, strong reporting, good ad design and easy-to-read classified section,” the judge commented. The Courier-Gazette, The Journal's sister paper in Rockland, placed third in the same circulation category.

Analysis, Kendra Caruso, first place for her February story on the vaccine referendum.

Religion/Spirituality, Sarah Reynolds, first place for her Feb. 20 story, “Clergy: Faith inspires politics.”

People Photo, Kendra Caruso, second place for her August 2019 portrait of a Lincolnville lobsterman.

Editorial, Journal staff, second place for “Solar can be a boon for Maine schools,” Nov. 7, 2019.

Opinion Columnist, Randall Poulton, second place for “Patiently awaiting the golden years.”

Supplement/special section, design and sales staffs, second place for Out & About, July 11, 2019.

Best Supplement Cover, John Cross, second place for Graduation Keepsake, June 6, 2019.

Front Page Design, Christine Dunkle and Stephanie Grinnell, second place for the Sept. 5, 2019, issue.

Front Page Design, Kim Slawson and Sarah Reynolds, third place for the Dec. 5, 2019, issue.

Picture Story, Fran Gonzalez, third place for “Bittersweet Burn,” for his July 2019 photos and story about the training exercise burning of an 80-year-old Searsport woman’s family home.

Business Story, Fran Gonzalez, third place for his Jan. 23 story, “Shuttered church is new home for Thomas School of Dance.”

Specialty Page Design, Christine Dunkle, third place for her design of a May 2019 page about the Maine Pottery Tour, “Out of mud season and into clay.”

Local Ad, Heidi Anderson-Belcher and Jody McKee, third place for Pease Painting, July 25, 2019.

The Republican Journal sports department earned four firsts, three seconds and three thirds for writing, photography and page design. Sports will publish a separate story about its MPA awards.

The Rockland Courier-Gazette and The Camden Herald also took home numerous awards; see the separate story in this week's issues of the Courier and the Herald or on