BAR HARBOR — The Camden Herald had a strong showing Saturday night, Oct. 22, at the Maine Press Association Better Newspaper Contest, including first place wins for General Excellence Print, Advertising General Excellence and General Excellence Digital in the Weekly I category.

The awards were presented at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel & Event Center in Bar Harbor, concluding a day of programming and networking for reporters, photographers, journalists, advertising staff, and designers from across the state. The contest was judged this year by The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

In the Weekly 1 division, for newspapers with less than 2,000 print circulation, The Camden Herald took the top prize for the second consecutive year. Judges said: “This publication has the most unique and differentiating content of all newspapers reviewed…Great news judgement on the covers, from business development, important ballot information, property transactions — most all of which include imagery or photos.”

The Camden Herald’s opinion writers earned awards including First Place for the Editorial Page.

Alison McKellar won first place Local Columnist.

Reade Brower took first place for Opinion Columnist.

Editor Daniel Dunkle took first place for Editorial.

Stephen Betts won first place News story for his story, “Father still seeks answers 10 months after son died in Camden fire.”

Dunkle and Arts Editor/Designer Christine Dunkle won first place together for Front Page Design.

Cartoonist and Illustrator Dan Kirchoff won first place Illustration for his drawing of the entire Megunticook River and Camden waterfront to illustrate a major feature on discussions about the Montgomery Dam. Dunkle and Susan Mustapich won a third place writing award for Continuing Story covering the dam issue.

Daniel Dunkle received the Weekly I Photography Best in Show award for a picture of the Jan. 6 vigil held on the Village Green in Camden.

He also won a first place Food Story award for an article he wrote about the tradition of New England Boiled Dinner (with help from Bob McGowan at French & Brawn in Camden) and a second place award for Religion/Spirituality for an article about getting back to in-person worship after the pandemic. He won a third place Feature Story award for a story about Patrisha McLean’s Finding Our Voices bookmarks that promote awareness of domestic violence.

An image of people rushing into the ice-cold harbor for the polar plunge earned Holly Vanorse Spicer a third place News Photo award.

John Cross, Design and Sale Staff won first place for a Supplement/Special Section. Christine Dunkle won for Supplement Cover, second place.

Heidi Anderson-Belcher and Glenn Billington won first place for Local Ad.

Camden Herald staff won second place for Best Circulation Promotion.

A more detailed listing of sports department wins will be posted separately. The Sports Section by Ken Waltz, Mark Haskell and Holly Vanorse Spicer won third place; Zack Miller won second place for Sports Video; Waltz won first place for Sports Headline; Waltz took second place for each of the following: Sports Photo, Game Story, Sports Profile and Sports Page Design. Spicer won Second Place Sports Photo.

One big winner at this year’s MPAs was Kay Neufeld of The Franklin Journal, who some local readers may remember interning for The Camden Herald during the pandemic. She wrote a feature on Camden Harbormaster Steve Pixley and ran a photo in the paper of her car with a massive kayak she had just purchased overhanging both ends of the roof. She won numerous awards Oct. 22 as she continues to work as a Maine journalist.

A complete list of 2022 award winners will be posted next week on the MPA’s website.

The Maine Press Association (MPA), founded in 1864, is one of the oldest professional news organizations in the nation. Learn more at

This polar plunge photo by Holly Vanorse Spicer won an award in the Maine Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.