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Here are the winners in the NHPA 2022 Distinguished Journalism Contest, including judges’ comments

6/15/23 Photos by Allegra Boverman/New Hampshire Press Association.

The New Hampshire Press Association honored the state’s best journalism and journalists at its Distinguished Journalism Contest Awards Banquet held at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in Manchester on June 15.

New Hampshire Union Leader reporter Shawne K. Wickham was honored as Journalist of the Year and Roger Wood of InDepthNH.org received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

David Lane of the Union Leader was named Photographer of the Year while Michaela Towfighi and Eric Rynston-Lobel of the Concord Monitor were named Rookies of the year.

The Concord Monitor took the top spot in General Excellence for large news organizations, while the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript won General Excellence for small news organizations.

The complete list of winners

—– CLASS ONE (large news organizations) —-

Editorial Writing

First: Bill Bilodeau, Keene Sentinel

The three Bill Bilodeau editorials for the Sentinel address with attribution three national issues with a local focus. These issues of health, schools and journalist safety are excellent examples of NH journalism.

Second: Mark Guerringue, Conway Daily Sun

The Conway Daily Sun editorials take on issues of safety, parking and active citizenship, all important to their town and identifiable by citizens of New Hampshire.

Third: Laurie Kaiser, Keene Sentinel

The three Laurie Kaiser Keene Sentinel submissions take a general approach and in one case lack an explanation of the headline term “pillage,” leaving it up to the reader to interpret.

General News Story

First: Kevin Landrigan and Shawne K. Wickham, NH Union Leader

Stepdaughter: Loeb sexually molested me as a young child

The packaging of this extraordinary piece of team journalism by the Sunday News is only outdone by the quality of the content. Landrigan did as good a job of thoughtfully and cohesively weaving the perpetrator/predator piece of the story together, as Wickham did helping readers better understand why child sexual abuse victims like those quoted and paraphrased may have waited so long to begin sharing their horrific memories. The apparently unedited (or non-by lined) inclusion of witness accounts added vitally important perspective and credibility to the two key victims. And added credit goes to the newspaper’s leadership for seeing this story for what it was, and presenting it in a way that genuinely served readers – as well as victims of this type of abuse who may never have come forward themselves, lest this story was told.

Second: Paul Feely, NH Union Leader

(‘I’m not gonna go out like this’)

It’s hard enough to actually build a level of trust with a first responder to be able to get them to relate all the vivid details of this experience and recovery challenges on the record. This writer took that high value interview material and wove it into a gripping narrative that grabs readers from the onset, and takes them through his return while relating his very personal trepidations and inspirations. Exceptional news writing here.

Third: Gabriela Lozada, NHPR
A good haircut transcends language

Besides amplifying what clearly resembles yet another insidious tendril of systemic-racism, the reporter also reinforces several shortcomings of the state’s licensing bureaucracy that likely impacts many if not every applicant dealing with the state’s Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC). This report does a significant public service and should contribute to positive change, inclusion, and enhanced ‘customer’ service for all.

General News Photo

First: David Lane, NH Union Leader

Final honors for the chief

Very nice moment from a difficult assignment. We really like the hands holding around the flag. Photo feels a little top heavy, maybe a closer crop could work.

Second: David Lane, NH Union Leader

A final trip home

Great frame filling image that really tells a story. The leading lines of the flag draw your eye to the two people embracing.

Third: Rachel Sharples, Conway Daily Sun

Polar Plunge

This photo made us laugh out loud. We love the Christmas in July shirt worn by the gentleman with the beard. A little bit of a looser composition would have shown more of the ice, helping to tell the story a little better.

Investigative

First: Olivia Belanger and Ryan Spencer, Keene Sentinel

Fentanyl loss

Second: Cassidy Jensen, Concord Monitor

Counting Cops

Third: Lauren Chooljian, NHPR

Sex abuse in drug recovery program

Political

First: Todd Bookman, NHPR
Oath Keepers among us

Second: Catherine McLaughlin, Laconia Daily Sun

Somersworth mayor brings track record to challenge Kenney’s experience for Executive Council

Third: Catherine McLaughlin, Laconia Daily Sun

‘No disruptions will be tolerated’: Belknap County Republican Committee facing turmoil

Spot News

First: Jonathan Phelps, NH Union Leader

Arrest made in deadly South Willow Street shooting

This on-deadline reporting is complete, giving a step-by-step account of the death and arrest with multiple perspectives and background.

Second: Michael Cousineau and Shawne K. Wickham, NH Union Leader

Shooter hoax rattles schools

Reporting on shooter hoax puts a statewide problem in focus on a local story. The issue of shooter hoaxes is now being considered for state legislation.

Third: Paul Feely, NH Union Leader

Firefighters battle blaze at scene of fatal fire 22 years ago

Feely details the depth of an earlier fire at the same location and includes both photos and video on deadline.

Crime reporting

First: Mark Hayward, NH Union Leader

City readies new strategy to battle gun crime

This story was sensitively told about an issue that is very current – surveillance vs. cracking down on gun crime.  The writer points out that minorities are often sometimes the unintended victims of this kind of activity but it also notes how crime is altering our cities and must be addressed.  I found this astounding – that 4% of the victims and perpetrators are involved in 63% of these kinds of crimes.  I liked the calm, objective way the writer told the story.  Nice work.

Second: Mark Hayward, NH Union Leader
Drug money laundered at NH casinos, police say

Another shocking story.  Who knew?  I liked the way the writer chose not to judge anyone in this story, just told it clearly and dispassionately about a subject that is sure to anger many people.

Third: Ian Lenahan, Portsmouth Herald

Quarius Dunham’s parents speak out on son’s death at age 8: ‘Lifetime changed in seconds’

This was such a sad story.  I liked how the writer included the heart-breaking note written by the boy’s friend, which brought the tragedy right up into your face, where it should be.  So many things went wrong that didn’t have to, resulting in this little boy’s death.  The writer was compassionate and somehow, objective.

Government reporting

First: Cassidy Jensen, Concord Monitor

One might scratch their head at a series focused solely on counting cops — isn’t having more cops a good thing? Are communities actually upset if their elected leaders are spending more than they realize on public safety? But over the course of five days, Cassidy Jensen shared with us exactly why this should matter to readers, and makes it matter. Not as a judgment to policing, but in simply ensuring that precious taxpayer dollars are being used appropriately. The stories talk to experts, government officials — even some of the new hires themselves, telling their stories — in the kind of coverage other journalists should take note.

Second: Sarah Gibson, NHPR

Local government faces a reckoning

We may not know where Croydon is or very much about it, but in just a few paragraphs, Sarah Gibson gives us everything we need to not only become mini-experts on this very unique and fascinating school district, but make us want to read more about the very cost-cutting elements that threaten it.

Third: Hunter Oberst, Keene Sentinel

Central Square Changes

The town square, so to speak, is very important to just about any community — what’s there, and what it offers can really define everything that surrounds it.

We don’t give a lot of attention to the infrastructure aspects of our communities, only because it’s enough to put you to sleep. But Hunter Oberst presents proposed changes to Keene’s downtown in a way that is not just informative, but makes it clear this should be important to everyone all along. And this is a solid read from start to finish.

Health Reporting

First: Karen Dandurant, Deb Cram, Foster’s Daily Democrat

It didn’t have to be this way

In a crowded field of high-quality health journalism in this year’s contest, this narrative feature – built upon rare access to a COVID ICU ward in a time of crisis – rose to the top as a shining example of the role of witness in investigative explanatory reporting. The story of a hospital’s overwhelmed ICU unit draws its strength from deep reporting and is told in vivid, compelling prose and intimate photographs. The written story uses narrative turns to expertly weave detailed anecdote and big-picture context to make sense of a chaotic situation. Published in the midst of a Covid public health crisis, it did double-duty for the audience: sharing the experience of front-line health care workers while sounding an alarm on the importance of vaccination. As such, it is very possible that this story helped to save lives. In any case, it stands as an impressive piece of feature news reporting. Congratulations to reporter Karen Dandurant, photographer Deb Cram, and all involved in producing this work.

Second: Mark Hayward, NH Union Leader

New Hampshire grapples with overlap of crime and mental illness

This thoroughly reported story, one in a year-long series exploring mental health issues in New Hampshire, navigates complicated terrain – of corrections institutions, law enforcement, mental health care providers, and individuals with mental illness – to explore challenges and seek solutions. A detailed public service for the state of New Hampshire, at once giving voice to those often powerless, while educating and exploring about next steps. Strong explanatory journalism on a crucial issue.

Third: Alli Fam, NHPR

Zero restraint 

This in-depth investigation of restraint tactics for children in state custody blends anecdote and experience with expert perspective and detailed data to play a watchdog role on evolving state policy. Deeply reported, clearly and compelling told. Impressive investigative reporting.

ADDITIONAL COMMENT FROM THE JUDGE: Such an impressive range and depth of work, from news organizations large and small. Heartening, in fact, to see up close and personal how much great journalism continues to be done day in, day out, for the New Hampshire audience. A true public service.

To be honest, it was tough to rank such diverse offerings, on such a breadth of topics – from Covid and abortion, to mental health, lyme disease, tooth care, and more. I tried to keep an eye on those that brought the greatest mix of news impact and good old journalistic panache – practicing the craft of reporting and writing with precision and care. I cared a lot about sourcing and evidence, information for the readers.

Both divisions were thick with impressive reporting, and all should be proud.

Business Reporting

First: Michaela Towfighi, Concord Monitor
Two New Hampshires: Meredith

A wonderful series that pulls back the curtain on the challenges facing New Hampshire’s boom-to-bust tourist towns, using Meredith as Exhibit A. Excellent concept and execution made all the more memorable by reporter Michaela Towfighi’s engaging writing. Best in a strong category.

Second: Michael Cousineau, NH Union Leader

Empire Builders

Like the first-place winner, ‘What’s Working’ is a comprehensive series that explores a major issue facing New Hampshire: workforce development. Reporter Michael Cousineau devoted months to this project, using his superb reporting and writing skills to reveal what’s being done — and needs to be done — to meet this challenge. 

Third: Ian Lenahan, Portsmouth Herald

Portsmouth’s ‘insane’ rent, home prices out of reach for most people. What is being done?

Well-researched, well-written piece detailing the short- and long-term impacts of high rental and housing costs on the city of Portsmouth.

Arts & Entertainment

First: Julia Ann Weekes, NH Union Leader

A scary good time

The haywire energy from this event just jumps off the page. “It’s the closest thing I’ll ever feel to being a professional athlete,” was a perfect use of a quote.

Second: Sarah Gibson, NHPR

Keeping the Magic Alive

Great behind-the-scenes look at one of the places that make New Hampshire New Hampshire.

Third: Julia Ann Weekes

The family dog as fine art

“Dog” and “art” are words not often found in the same sentence, but this story felt like a belly rub.

Columnist of the Year

First: Mark Hayward, NH Union Leader

City Matters: When police tell you your boyfriend is a drug dealer

Three excellent columns that skillfully capture the nuance and complexities of their subjects. The story about the Bedford teen who died from a drug overdose while waiting for services makes a compelling case that the system for delivering those services in a timely fashion is badly broken.

Second: Mike Cote

Love on the rocks with Southwest Airlines

From a biotech company on the cutting edge, to Southwest Airline’s woes and outrageous ticket prices to see Bruce Springsteen, Cote makes business stories accessible by mixing fact and wit and adding a personal touch. Nicely done.

No third

Rookie of the Year

First: Michaela Towfighi, Concord Monitor

Solid, thoughtful work on topics of community concern. Good, well-sourced reports that include enough data to underscore issues but not so much that readers’ eyes glaze over.

Second: Eric Rynston-Lobel, Concord Monitor

A good sportswriter is a valuable thing, and the Monitor is lucky to have one in Eric Rynston-Lobel. Good job extending the sports beat past play-by-play and into the human stories that readers stay for.

Environmental Reporting

First: Shawne K. Wickham, NH Union Leader

Lebanon goes green

Reporter Shawn Wickham has created a top-notch series of environmental stories, each of which has multiple sources, engaging and clear writing, and great organization. Articles provide both the context of the issue at hand and tons of pertinent details. Wickham explores interesting byways: the article on EVs, for example, includes a look at how NH is preparing to meet a surge in demand for electricity they will require. Also kudos to the production team for great layouts.

Second: Sruthi Gopalakrishnan, Concord Monitor

Landfill landcape

In this well-written story, Sruthi Gopalakrishnan gives readers an enlightening look at the status of the state’s landfills. The article reveals the limited oversight of the trash being brought to the state’s landfills, much of it from out-of-state. The reporter’s overview of landfill regulations in NH’s neighboring states supplies context. Also kudos to the Concord Monitor for surveying communities to find out what sort of stories they want to read in the new “Environmental Reporting Lab.” Solid waste was a top concern and Gopalakrishnan’s story launched the series.

Third: Mark Hayward, Union Leader

With fertilizer costs skyrocketing, Granite State famers find a friend in sludge

We need to talk about sludge—even though we really don’t want to. Reporter Mark Hayward has given readers a useful overview of issues related to the growing use of sludge on NH’s farm fields. Hayward collected views from multiple sources, including a farmer who just starting using sludge as fertilizer costs skyrocketed and a state employee involved in the development of regulations for spreading sludge. Solid reporting; clear writing.

Sports Writing

First: Terry Leavitt, Conway Daily Sun
Having a ball
A good in-depth look at the new “anyone can play and does” sport that finds popularity from tiny towns to big cities. Well reported and written in that it covers the sport but also puts it in context of broader issues.

Second: Jack Rooney and James Rinker, Keene Sentinel

The March to DeMar

A nice series of columns that bring the reader inside the reporters’ experiences. Much more than a “pounding the pavement” diary of training and running the races.

Third: Marty Basch, Conway Daily Sun

Fantastic football weekend

A lot of fun to read. The writer draws the reader into the excitement of the fast-paced weekend, focusing more on his and his wife’s experiences and feelings than the particulars of the games they saw. 

Sports Photo

First: Rachel Sharples, Conway Daily Sun

Mud Bowl Diving Catch

The players are nuts but they do it every year. The photo catches the mud and the intensity. Good action sports photo.

Second: Deb Cram, Portsmouth Herald

Halfcourt 3-Point Basket Wins Game

There is a lot of excitement in the photo even though the photo was taken from afar.

No third

Spot News Photo

First: Rachel Sharples, Conway Daily Sun

Hockey fest fire

The photographer was able to capture a peak dramatic moment from a spontaneous event.

Second: Rachel Sharples, Conway Daily Sun

Early morning collision

Telling photo of a weather related highway accident framed exceptionally well. 

Third: Rachel Sharples, Conway Daily Sun

“Red Jacket fire”

Nice drive-by capture.

Feature Photo

First: Deb Cram, Portsmouth Herald
Brother Missing
This is a simple yet powerful image. The emotion is palpable on Toni’s face, and the idea to have her hold her brother’s portrait was a good one to help illustrate the story. I do wish the photo were slightly deeper to include more of Nick’s face, but still, overall, this is a successful and compelling image.

Second: David Lane, Union Leader

A job with a view

Strong image that contains a sense of place yet is also somehow abstract and artful at the same time. The photographer perfectly nailed the difficult lighting conditions, as well.

Third: Rachel Sharples,  Conway Daily Sun

Bumping on the bridge

This image is dynamic and fun. While there are some technical flaws, and I wish the arm of the dancer on the right didn’t cover his face, the image still drops the viewer right into the middle of the dance party on the bridge. What fun!

Photo Essay

First: Deb Cram, Foster’s Daily Democrat

Nurses story is full of very good images, great access covering a very serious situation but the entry has way, way too many images, to the point of taking away from the whole story. A tighter editiing was needed. 

Second: Hannah Schroeder, Keene Sentinel

Keene family faces tough road amid state’s housing crunch

Photographer developed a close relationship with the homeless pregnant family and it shows in the intimacy of the work. Nice package of photos.

Third: Thomas Roy, NH Union Leader

The Faces of War

Best Design

First: Lee Guerringue, Conway Daily Sun

NoCo Magazine Summer Cover

Visually lovely from design to color coordination of type. Very nice.

Second: Tom Lynch, NH Union Leader

New Hampshire and baseball

Good design and interesting content presented in an easily readable format. Liked the spiking story best. Good way to peg NH history to a news cycle.

Third: Lee Guerringue, Conway Daily Sun

Winter Dining Guide Cover 2022

Nice design and photography

Best Use of Audio or Podcast

First: Justine Paradis, NHPR

The cold water dippers of Maine

The title alone made me laugh out loud. A very well-done podcast and a great way to highlight an activity that might seem crazy to anyone outside of New England but can be a part of regular life up here. Loved people’s descriptions and the interviewer’s enthusiasm. Lots of great one-liners in here, too. Really painted a vivid picture for me.

Second: Nick Capodice, Hannah McCarthy, NHPR

The Shadow Docket

Interesting topic, and a great way to bring some light into an area where it isn’t typically shone. What might seem like a dry podcast topic was really brought to life well by using concrete examples and spelling things out by reenactment and with fun audio cues. I went into this thinking it would be a tough listen based on the title alone but it flew by! Nicely done!

Third: Felix Poon, Nate Hegyi, NHPR

Life and Death at a Human Decomposition Facility

Dark topic, but it was handled in a sensitive way. A fascinating look at an operation that most people probably aren’t even aware exists.

Best Use of Video

First: Dan Tuohy, NHPR

Going to extremes: Subzero surfers

Love the choice of a local band, the sunrise makes for some beautiful colors on the faces of the subjects. Just a perfect snapshot of a typical morning in New Hampshire. The still photo at the end is fabulous as well. Well done!

Second: Gabriela Lozada, Maria Aguirre, Daniela Allee, NHPR

Visibles

LOVE that you chose to highlight NH’s Latino community, which is often overlooked by the news media. I also love that the video was for English-speaking, Spanish-speaking or bilingual users, with captions. In a very short, easily digestible length, I also feel like I got a good look at the life of the person featured in the piece.

Third: Dan Tuohy, NHPR

False alarm at the nuclear power plant

A New Hampshire news outlet using TikTok? Love to see it! Love the way even though it was a short-format video, resident audio was included. The only thing I thought it was missing was some of the energy of the story itself, some of the sense of panic that people felt when this alarm was first issued.

Best Use of Social Media

First: Sara Plourde, Zoey Knox, Casey McDermott, NHPR

In Our Backyard
I really enjoyed the use of multiple platforms here to promote viewer engagement. The combo of the music and time lapse in the first Instagram video alone put this at #1 for me. Made me laugh out loud. Great way to spice up the typical boring voting day piece. The slideshow explainer pieces were also really well done, informative and easily digestible.

Second: James Rinker, Keene Sentinel

Instagram takeovers

I absolutely love this idea. It’s a great way to get the writers a bit more exposure and give a behind the scenes look at their lives (Grogu!) to help readers connect with them as people. I’d love to see more news outlets try this.

Third: Dan Tuohy, NHPR

False alarm at nuclear plant

I think I voiced my opinion on this one in the video category already, but it’s a much better fit in the best use of social media category. I love that a NH media outlet is using TikTok and I love the way a witness interview was used when it could have just been a voiceover. I do wish there was some audio or an interview that reflected the panic immediately after the false alarm.

Feature Writing

First: Sarah Gibson, NHPR

In search of teacher diversity

Second: Shawne K. Wickham, New Hampshire Union Leader

MLK Day in NH Getting there was a long struggle

Third: Ian Lenahan, Portsmouth Herald

‘Magical’: Norway 6th-grader finds Rye students’ mini boat launched in 2020

—- CLASS 2 (small news organizations)  —

Editorial Writing

First: Charles G. Douglas, III, Bow Times

Vote No; Putin, Trump and Ukraine; Youth Development Center

The Bow Times editorials focus on economic and political issues at home and abroad from the “Turf Mahal” to the old USSR remaking itself. While making important points, the editorial writer sometimes touches too lightly on other priority references.

Second: Nathan Graziano, Manchester InkLink

In his signed editorials, Nathan Graziano gives a view from the inside on educational issues.

Feature Writing

First: Kelly Burch, Jenny Whidden, GSNC

“We Have Always Been Here” Series w. Companion Video

Second: Paula Tracy, InDepthNH
John Harrigan has died

Third: Amanda Gokee, NH Bulletin

The fight over Mount Washington

General News Story

First: Rhianwen Watkins, Granite State News Collaborative

Young NH teachers leaving the profession. The ‘heartbreaking, infuriating’ reasons why.

As newspapers examine systemic issues negatively affecting large populations – illustrating the ripple effect of educators abandoning their calling, regardless of their level of experience, is among the most critical. This reporter did stellar work in terms of identifying and wringing compelling details from the subjects, weaving them effectively with data points and statistics to deliver a valuable report to their readers and the entire state. This is what award-winning journalism looks like – and reads like.

Second: Ryan Lessard, Granite State News Collaborative

‘Discriminatory’ land use policies are leaving more people out in the cold

This series installment stands on its own as a highly engaging and educational news report. Lessard refines numerous complex pieces of information and accompanying interviews into a compelling read that could serve as both a mirror and a tool to help NH communities and state lawmakers begin identifying and making changes to a widespread, deeply-rooted practice that is on face, disturbingly discriminatory and arbitrary.

Third: Ethan DeWitt, NH Bulletin

During Banned Books Week, a school district wrestles with how to allow book challenges

DeWitt appears to have both exceptional access and rapport with members of the school community he is spotlighting here. It has resulted in a report that serves readers exceptionally well in breaking down and examining the key components surrounding the rise of the nation’s and New Hampshire’s growing book banning movement. Most valuable was the clear and thorough relating of the challenge policy, process, and outcomes when a book comes under scrutiny.

General News Photo

First: Jeffrey Hastings

Taking a rest after a stroll in the city

A unique moment captured by being in the right place at the right time. A looser composition could have helped show the viewer more context to the scene.

Second: Ashley Saari

“A solemn spark”

Nice exposure and strong colors. Foreground interest helps to add depth to the image.

Third: Jeffrey Hastings

Honoring 9/11 Victims

Clearly seeing the solemn expressions on the faces of community members helped tell the story.

Investigative

First: GSNC, NHBR, and Business NH

Invisible Walls Series

Second: Pat Grossmith, Winter Trabex, Manchester InkLink

Eviction and rental crisis

Third: Why Did I Get Stopped Series

Paul Cuno-Booth, GSNC, Concord Monitor

Political

First: Ethan DeWitt, Annmarie Timmins, NH Bulletin

The midterm election

Second: Ashley Saari, Mondadnock Ledger Transcript
State reps. who voted for secession are re-elected

Third: Kathie Ragsdale, GSNC, The Conway Daily Sun

America Writ Small

Spot News

First: Tony Schinella, Concord NH Patch

Retired Concord Couple Missing, Found Murdered

I was impressed with the speed and accompanying video of this story. This spot news developed into a much bigger story.

Second: Ethan DeWitt, NH Bulletin

As New Hampshire vows to hold first primary, the consequences could be steep

Threats to the NH Primary make important spot news and the inclusion of the Democratic Party’s need to repeal on short notice makes this spot news even more newsworthy.

Third: Tony Schinella, Concord NH Patch

Dead Body Found In Merrimack River: Video

Spot news of a death and one as public as this one with video is compelling.

Crime Reporting

First:  Staff, Manchester Inklink
Youth Development Center Investigation

Millions of documents overwhelm attorneys in cases of former YDC staffers accused of abusing teens

This story made me so angry I could barely read it.  To hear about all the abuse that took place – and was ignored by people who could have stopped it – was reprehensible.  The details made me nauseous, inserting a wrench into a teenager.  How could this not have been stopped?  I feel the writer’s anger and agony.  It is expressed very well.  The great part of this awful story is that it makes the reader feel it, too.

Second:  Harrison Thorp, Rochester Voice:

Ex-Milton DPW chief gets 10-20 years for bilking elderly Rochester woman’s estate

This was an amazing story, I have to agree with the writer.  Well-told, in all its unique circumstances — the birthday cheesecake, how this woman trusted this man and how he abused it, and yet, at the end, was sorry; they clearly had a close relationship, which makes the crime all the more unimaginable and horrible.  And a former selectperson.  How awful.   Loved that he wanted to wear his Hare Krishna garb!  The details made the story.

Third: Jeffrey Hastings

New Jersey Man, Who Murdered 2 In Bedford, Sentenced To Life In Prison

What a story!  Every shattering detail makes a picture that’s hard to forget.  And that he showed no remorse, blowing a kiss to his family at the end.  This story made me feel I was there, as much as I didn’t want to be.  Good job.

Government Reporting

First: Annmarie Timmins, NH Bulletin
Former Laconia State School property sale

Who watches the watchers? The media does. And thank goodness for reporters like Annmarie Timmins, because if someone wasn’t minding the store, elected officials in Laconia would have approved a massive multi-million-dollar development, without doing a stitch of homework.

The most compelling — and scary — part about this piece? Two of the decision-makers learned the true background of the developer not through their own vetting or background material provided to officials, but instead from reading it in the New Hampshire Bulletin.

All we can say is thank goodness someone was watching.

Second: Tony Schinella, Concord Patch

NH Legislative Garage Project Could Be A Windfall For Developers
There’s extra money burning a hole in the pockets of our elected leaders, and they just want to spend it. But should it be done on a new parking garage for lawmakers? That’s the very question Tony Schinella asks — and one he asked quite well — providing readers with every single pertinent detail, and leaving the final call up to them.

Third: Patrick Cronin, Hampton Union

F­­­ OFF’ sign in Hampton irks neighbors, zoning change possible

The First Amendment is never about protecting speech we might all agree with, because that kind of speech doesn’t need protecting. It’s the speech we don’t agree with that becomes the issue — and one Hampton resident’s decision to erect a banner in his year with a not-so-nice word in bold type not only put government officials in a bind, but opened up questions about what those same officials can — and can’t — do. Patrick Cronin certainly doesn’t “f— off,” and shares all the fascinating elements of free speech versus welcomed speech.

Health Reporting

First: Ellen Grimm, Granite State News Collaborative
NH Doorways Series
This thorough, multi-layered series of stories that examines the Doorways service networks around New Hampshire as a way to explore solutions for addiction treatment. By choosing a range of angles, the reporting offers readers insight into both challenges and opportunities for better service for those suffering from a range of addiction, and often mental health issues. Strong explanatory reporting that holds to account how tax dollars are spent to help those in need.

Second: Annmarie Timmins, NH Bulletin

The 24-week abortion ban and fatal fetal anomalies

A vivid account of the personal lives and political calculations behind legislative decisions about the fatal fetal anomaly abortion exception. This close look gives readers a deep understanding of the nuance of the issue, and a more thorough understanding of how political leaders make decisions and why. Important explanatory journalism that focuses on the human and politic impacts behind individual debates.

Third: Ryan Lessard, Granite State News Collaborative

Heated competition for nurses sparks incentive-pay arms race

A thoroughly reported and clearly written account of the financial impacts of the nursing shortage in New Hampshire, and what it means for health care in the state. Solid explanatory journalism about an ongoing situation that impacts residents statewide.

Business Reporting

First: Dave Solomon, Johnny Bassett, the Granite State News Collaborative, and New Hampshire Business Review

Discriminatory Lending Practices Persist 

Data journalism at its best, in this case to probe whether discriminatory lending practices exist today in New Hampshire. Kudos to this collaborative effort for shining some light on a nationwide practice that sadly has existed for far too long.

Second: Bob Sanders, New Hampshire Business Review

A ‘perfect storm’ of supply side burdens

An excellent, in-depth examination of the lingering economic impact of the pandemic at the two-year mark. Good blending of stats and quotes from local businesses to illustrate the story behind the numbers.

Third: Annmarie Timmins, NH Bulletin

Investing in New Hampshire

Good examples of explanatory and solutions-based journalism. The first uses a local business to reveal shortcomings of the well-intended federal pandemic aid program; the second shows how individuals can take a lead role in the betterment of their communities. Nicely done.

Arts & Entertainment

First: Shepard Bassett, New Boston Beacon

In the Kitchen
The “In the Kitchen” title doesn’t come close to doing this regular column justice. It has recipes, to be sure. But in this instance they’re like dessert, coming only after the writer has served up superbly crafted stories about friends, motherhood, philosophy and finding her way as a newbie in a small New Hampshire town.

Second: John Angelo, NH Business Review

A rousing second act: Colonial Theatre brings entertainment and ‘meaning’ to Bethlehem

Great story, well sourced and well told, that details the bond between a small North Country town and its pre-WWI theater. The Colonial is as vibrant and relevant to Bethlehem as the day it opened. Felt like I was in the building as I read this story.

Third: Ashley Saari, Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Wilton filmmaker on creation of quilts with George Floyd’s final words

Strong story about a local filmmaker who chronicled how George Floyd’s final words reverberated in local churches, resulting in a series of quilts and important conversations about race.

Columnist of the Year

First: Dan Szczesny, Manchester InkLink

Three terrific entries take the reader on a series of memorable, journeys, each so very different. The details in each connect the reader to the story: a parent facing the Santa Claus conundrum with regard to The Beatles; a father promises his son, “I’ll disown you”; and a missing sneaker. Nicely done.

Second: Arnie Alpert, InDepthNH

Three outstanding columns. The writer recounts a dark time in New Hampshire’s history and the lessons it offers us today; a look at New Hampshire’s current “Nazi problem,” and a touching, insightful tribute to an old friend whose legislative career and humanity made a difference. Well done.

Third: Garry Rayno, InDepthNH

Rayno’s “Distant Dome” highlights some of the best people from New Hampshire’s political scene — and why they were the best; his other two columns shine a light on darker aspects of politics in the state.

Environmental Reporting

First: Amanda Gokee, NH Bulletin

Local impacts of climate change

Reporter Amanda Gokey has produced a trio of highly readable stories on some of the ways climate change is impacting New Hampshire. She strikes a good balance between explaining context and providing specific examples of local impacts, in the form of warmer winters and coastal flooding. Gokey dug up multiple and pivotal sources for each of the stories, and captured the quotes that inject life into the stories.

Second: Bob Sanders, NH Business Review
Community power picks up steam: Municipalities enter a new era of energy

Big changes in how New Hampshire residents will get their electric power are underway, and Bob Sanders unpacks this complex story in a clear and well-organized overview of the growth of “community power.” He pulls in multiple sources, and digs into the business and political sides of the issue.

Third: Rowan Wilson, Monadnock Ledger Transcript

From living sustainably to helping amphibians cross the road

Rowan Wilson’s packet of four diverse stories describes ways that the state and its residents are working to counter the impacts of climate change and to preserve the state’s natural resources. Solid writing, lots of sources, good information—with an emphasis on the potential for individuals to make a difference.

Sports Reporting

First:  Ryan O’Connor, Manchester InkLink

O’Connor displays the range of skills needed for effective sports writing and reporting, with a feature on one team’s winning season, a game story on a big upset, and detailed coverage of one team’s title quest, all tightly written and jam-packed with information of interest to the casual or fanatic sports fan.

Second: George Liset, InDepthNH

Writing on the Fly

Fishing can be a metaphor for so much of life, good and bad, as George Liset’s column for InDepthNH demonstrates, tackling subjects like PTSD with a truly lyrical style.

Third: Scott Gaillard, New Boston Beacon

Fishing for Moose

Attracting three large bull moose with tempting cow-calls is just the start of a wonderful outdoor sports feature by a gifted writer.

Sports Photo

First: Stacy Harrison, Manchester InkLink

Building community – and hope – through global connections and basketball

Second: Stacy Harrison, Manchester InkLink

Undefeated underdogs will battle for Doug Chandler title

Third: Jeff Hastings, freelance

Firefighter Save

Spot News Photo

First: Jeffrey Hastings, freelance

SWAT arrests barricaded suspect

Great emotion, great reaction and tight framing make a winner.

Second: Jeffrey Hastings, freelance

Manchester SWAT Arrests Man

Good capture of a tense moment.

Third: Jeffrey Hastings, freelance

Firefighters emerge in extreme smoke

Interesting fire aftermath image.             

Feature Photo

First: Ashley Saari

“Children and chemistry”

This is a dynamic and fun photo that brings the viewer right into the action. The photo wonderfully captures the expressions of delight on the children’s faces and also of the adult. It’s a photo that puts a smile on your face. Well done!

Second: Jeffrey Hastings

One last ride after 35 years of service

This is a terrific retirement photo. The framing of the retiring chief in the window of the fire engine is well executed; the emotion is apparent on his face. What really makes this photo sing is the lighting. The warm end-of-day tones bring across a “riding off into the sunset” feeling.

Third: Jeffrey Hastings

Honoring Derry Police Chief Garone
A strongly captured moment in a difficult scene to photograph. The foreground is particularly strong with the white-gloved salute drawing the viewers’ eyes up toward the honoree.

Photo Essay

First: Jeffrey Hastings

Fallen Firefighters

This was the best of this group, displayed a variety of image but lacked a solid lead.

Second: Jeffrey Hastings en

Honoring the ultimate sacrifice

Better editing would have improved this package. A lot of redundancy.

Third: Stacy Harrison, Manchester InkLink

Sky Show draw thousands for day of music, night of fireworks

This entry was overwhelming in the number of photos.

Best Design

First: Elyse Thornton, New Boston Beacon

April 2022

All clean front pages. I like the playfulness of the nameplate. Turkey photo good with good cutline writing.

Second: Nadeane Mannion, Bow Times

July 2022

All the front pages have a nice clean design. The photo of the soccer player makes this one stand out.

Third: Elyse Thornton, New Boston Beacon

August 2022

Best Audio or Podcast

First: Anthony Payton, Granite State News Collaborative

Common Ground Initiative Podcast

“I was 12 years old when I saw my first dead body.” You had me from the first line of the first podcast I listened to. With gun violence and the struggles of today’s young people an almost-daily news topic, this podcast really speaks to the issues we’re dealing with today.

Second: Kim Varney Chandler, freelance
Covered Bridges of New Hampshire Podcast

A terrific look at an oft-overlooked part of New Hampshire’s history. Very well researched and these interviews will be a resource for years to come.

Third: Wayne King, IndepthNH

Wayne King creates the best podcasts
Love the idea of this podcast. With all of the true crime, sports and hard news podcasts out there, it’s great to get an in-depth look at some lesser-known stories.

Best Use of Video

First: Tony Schinella, Concord NH Patch

New Hampshire Schools Hit With ‘Active Shooter’ Hoaxes: Watch

The lights, sirens and scanner traffic really add to the drama of this video. This is a perfect example of how video can tell a story that just can’t be as easily portrayed via the written word alone.

Second: Tony Schinella, Milford NH Patch

Former WWF Wrestler Saves 125 Acres Of Farmland In Milford: Watch

Great profile on a great subject. Really entertaining interview. The wind noise was a bit distracting, and I would’ve loved to see a greater tour of the property. But overall a terrific accompaniment to the written piece.

Third: Jeffrey Hastings, freelance

K-9 Niko

Terrific look at an aspect of crime investigation that I honestly was not aware of. I knew, of course, that K9s are used in drug investigations, but didn’t realize they had anything to do with internet crime investigations.

Community Service (small news organizations)

First: Harrison Thorp, Rochester Voice

Flawed city land purchase turned into a 5-alarm fire

We can all do a better job explaining to readers why transparency and openness is important. One critique: Tighten up the narrative part, flush out why readers should care about this.

Second: Staff, New Boston Beacon

Thankful for New Boston

The pullout section was a great idea to educate the public about the importance of serving one’s community. Had a bit of trouble following why the other pages were included.

Third: Donald Kreis, InDepthNH

Power to the People

Super well-written. Solid style, command of the language on a critical issue for New Hampshire.

Third: Amanda Gokee, NH Bulletin

The Gunstock closure

Clearly Gokee’s reporting helped to spur voters to get involved to toss the bums out. A bit more about the Free State Project would have added some necessary context.

Community Service Award (large news organizations)

First: Roberta Baker, Laconia Daily Sun
Children’s Mental Health Series

Beautifully reported and written series on the state of mental health for kids in New Hampshire. The voices of so many real people pushed this to the top.

Second: Staff, The Concord Monitor

2022 Impact Report

More than ever, the public needs to understand the importance of what we do. This special supplement does just that. It’s well-designed, concise, and informative, providing a record of the Monitor’s impact and sharing it with the community.

First Amendment Award

Charles Douglas II, Bow Times

In a series of editorials, Douglas takes a stand for civility in public discourse, and the fact that one can disagree without being disagreeable —  an important lesson for all readers exercising their First Amendment rights

General Excellence (small news organizations)

First: Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Great front pages–organized and easy to follow. Mystery photo is nice reader engagement feature. Great variety in content and stories.

Second: New Hampshire Bulletin

Easy to navigate. Top-notch statewide reporting. Excellent writing. Very easy on the eye. Love the “Can you read this?” head for the story where cursive writing instructions comes up.

Third: New Hampshire Business Review

Beautiful layout. Thoughtful topics. Engaging content. Dynamic photography.

General Excellence (large news organizations)

First: Concord Monitor

The Giant pumpkin piece was pretty awesome. Impact report to readers is a great idea and wonderfully executed. Readers should be proud of this paper.

Second: New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News

So much variety in content and fantastic advertising support. Front pages are thoughtfully arranged. Love the addition of a table on the front page for mixed use story.

Third: Conway Daily Sun

Excellent presentation. Stunning photography in fire issue. Tons of advertising. Lots of good reader engagement opps like pet photos. Digest is nice.

Photographer of the Year (combining both classes)

David Lane, New Hampshire Union Leader

This photographer had the best variety of strong images from an impressive field.

Journalist of the Year (combining both classes)

Shawne K. Wickham, NH Union Leader

Wickham tells serious and lighthearted stories with the same deft grasp of what readers find engaging. Whether the topic is a devastating court verdict, a day in the life of a toll booth operator or the human impacts of climate change, New Hampshire readers are fortunate to have Shawne Wickham to relate the details with sensitivity and a knack for narrative writing that is all too rare in this era of bare-bones budgets and staff spread too thin.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Roger Wood, InDepthNH.org

Roger Wood is an award winning radio, podcast, newspaper and television journalist, with over 50 years of experience in the media.   He began his career at a Pennsylvania radio station while still attending Temple University where he received his bachelor’s degree in communications, then spent the rest of his career in New Hampshire. Roger currently serves as associate publisher and podcast producer at InDepthNH.org.

He has been recognized by the New Hampshire Press Association for his work in news podcasts and honored for his work in broadcast radio news and public affairs. He has produced news and special feature reports for InDepthNH.org, New Hampshire Public Radio, NPR, and other public and commercial radio stations.  He also has produced spot news for CBS Radio. He has produced and narrated some 50 audiobooks and has written three novels.

Roger has also moderated political forums for Seacoast Area Chambers of Commerce in Senate, gubernatorial and congressional races. He has also facilitated public policy discussions locally and statewide.  He has three adult children and four grandchildren. Roger and his wife Elaine, reside in Portsmouth with their cat Sebastian.

TWO FOLDERS OF PHOTOS FROM THIS YEAR available for download

NHPA 2022 Distinguished Journalism Contest Award Winners – 6-15-23

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/iet15j905vwst4zqz2mk4/h?dl=0&rlkey=4c6xwt5eqvam9u8eqf9i0srkg

NHPA Awards Banquet event social photos – 6-15-23

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/tgzf5nwwamg5vx6k18ao3/h?dl=0&rlkey=5eqj14dj1uuz2coe9vvnb4h6a

===============================================

ACCESS, DOWNLOAD, SHARE AND ENJOY TWO PREVIOUS YEARS’ PHOTOS IN DROPBOX LINKS BELOW!!!!!!!!

NHPA 2021 Banquet and 2020 Awards photos

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/8llkcxilczn3dofcu72cx/h?dl=0&rlkey=2ev0qx63sywl6ohzl8rag54vl

NHPA 2019 Banquet and 2018 Awards photos

https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/zt793eaev95ecqm7di7dl/h?dl=0&rlkey=ge1ox43d9brdwc5p3a2gxds9n

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