The Republican Journal took 15 awards for news writing, photography and design and a further eight for sports writing, photography, design and video Nov. 13 at Maine Press Association’s 2021 Better Newspaper Contest awards ceremony. Like last year, the event was held online out of concern about the risks of gathering in person.

The Waldo County paper, Maine’s oldest weekly, took first place in six categories in the Weekly 1 division for papers with circulation less than 3,000. Winners were:

Front Page Design, Sarah E. Reynolds and Kim Slawson

Political Story, Fran Gonzalez, “Hundreds voice outrage”

Health Story, Fran Gonzalez, “The forgotten floor”

Editorial Page, staff

Local Columnist, Sarah E. Reynolds

Education Story, Kendra Caruso, “Students return to RSU 71 schools”

In addition, the news department took awards in these categories:

Second place: Picture Story, Environmental Story

Third place: Spot News Photo, Continuing Story, Religion/Spirituality Story, Editorial, News Headline, Feature Story, Education Story

TRJ tips its hat to its sister paper The Camden Herald, which took first place for General Excellence in the Weekly 1 division, and also took top honors in the Freedom of Information category for the division.

A complete list of 2021 award winners will be posted next week on the MPA’s website.

In addition to hosting the annual contest giving awards for ads, photos, news stories and opinion writing, the Maine Press Association advocates for the newspaper industry in Augusta, lobbying the Legislature when bills are introduced that would limit freedom of the press.