Calais Advertiser and Machias Valley News Observer Recognized by MPA

The Machias Valley News Observer’s Sarah Craighead Dedmon (left) and the Calais Advertiser’s Lura Jackson accepted several awards on behalf of their respective papers at the Maine Press Association’s annual ceremony in Sunday River on October 20th. (Photo by John Jackson)

The Maine Press Association [MPA] has recognized two Washington County publications - The Calais Advertiser and the Machias Valley News Observer - for their exceptional journalism work between April 1st, 2017 and March 31st, 2018. The awards ceremony was held in Sunday River on October 20th. 

The Calais Advertiser received six awards. The paper’s initiative to return paperboys to the streets of Calais over the summer of 2017 was awarded 1st place for Best Circulation Promotion. Publisher Pierre Little came up with the idea and developed it with the paper’s editor, Lura Jackson. As the most engaged paperboy by far, Shane DelMonaco is a co-recipient of the award. “Great idea to feature the newspaper and the kids,” contest judges wrote.

Lura Jackson received three awards in writing in the categories of Environmental, Food, and Analysis. Of the winning Food article, which outlined the value and meaning of farmers’ markets to the community, the judges said: “The vibrancy of the farmers’ market is illustrated in words and pictures. An interesting narrative about the market’s origins and continuing impact.”

“Quality writing can’t happen without quality stories,” Jackson said of the writing awards she received. “I’d like to sincerely thank Calais and the surrounding communities for being such an interesting and inspiring place.” 

The Calais Advertiser received 3rd place in Advertising Series for its Dining Guide, an award given to ad designer and layout specialist Cheryl Stabinski and advertising manager Beth McCray. “I thought it was very neat to be recognized,” said Stabinski. “Being with the paper for over thirteen years, it’s second nature to do what I do for each week’s paper, so actually being recognized for the Dining Guide section was very cool. Beth and I work very well together and I am glad the newspaper received that and many other awards.” McCray seconded the sentiment: “I have been with The Calais Advertiser Inc. for just over two years, and while I take great pride in helping the papers run as smoothly as possible, I must say I was completely honored to even be mentioned in regards to an MPA award. We are a well-oiled machine when we are on the same page.” 

The Machias Valley News Observer received four awards. The paper’s cartoonist Bob Bryson took home 2nd place in the Editorial Cartoonist category. One judge lauded Bryson saying, “These cartoons are simple, but pack a big punch.”  Sarah Craighead Dedmon and veteran MVNO journalist Ruth Leubecker were jointly awarded 3rd place for the MVNO editorial section. Leubecker said she was thrilled. 

“The editorial section to me has always been the most important part of the paper and it’s a very integral part of community journalism,” said Leubecker. “I’m so proud to be a part of the Machias Valley News Observer and this win.”

Dedmon won two awards for writing. “Verizon Wireless Disconnects Downeast” took 2nd place in the Investigative Report category, according to one judge “an excellent illustration of the essential role local papers play in holding services accountable.”

She also won 2nd place in the Environmental Story category for her coverage of the Downeast Institute’s clam seeding initiative, “DEI deploys science, strategy and 100,000 clams in Machiasport.” Dedmon said she loves her job.


“On the surface our region seems quiet and rural, but there are so many significant stories that start locally, then connect us with national and global issues as with DEI’s clams and climate change,” said Dedmon. “I am never bored.”


1st Place - Best Circulation Promotion: 

Paperboys Return to Calais (The Calais Advertiser)

2nd Place - Editorial Cartoonist (Machias Valley News Observer)

2nd Place - Environmental Writing: DEI deploys science, strategy and 100,000 clams in Machiasport 

(Machias Valley News Observer)

2nd Place - Investigative Report: Verizon Wireless disconnects Downeast (Machias Valley News Observer)

3rd Place - Dining Guide Series (The Calais Advertiser)

3rd Place - Features Section (The Calais Advertiser)

3rd Place - Food Writing: The Value of Farmers’ Markets to Community (The Calais Advertiser)

3rd Place - Environmental Writing: Pratt Goes Green 

(The Calais Advertiser)

3rd Place - Analysis Writing: Municipal Fiber Optic Broadband overview (The Calais Advertiser)


3rd Place - Editorial Section (Machias Valley News Observer)