BAR HARBOR — The Courier-Gazette and staff received awards in a variety of categories including Photography Best in Show, Front Page Design and Specialty Page Design at the Maine Press Association’s 2022 Better Newspaper Contest Saturday, Oct. 22.

The annual award ceremony took place at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel and Event Center in Bar Harbor. This was the first in-person award ceremony since 2019. Members of The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association were judges for this year’s contest.

Longtime journalist Stephen Betts won the high honor of first place for Photography Best in Show for his photo of Captain Garth Well balanced precariously aboard the historic schooner Lewis R. French. Betts also won first place News Headline for, “It takes a village to make a park,” and third place Feature Photo.

Managing Editor Christine Simmonds and Executive Editor Dan Dunkle won second place in the Freedom of Information special category for their work covering the Thomaston east/west bypass project. Judges praised the pair for their use of sources, straightforward storytelling and firm editorial stance. “This is an example of community journalism that every paper should know and learn from,” the judges said.

Simmonds also won second place Graphic for her social media terms illustration.

Dan Dunkle and Designer John Cross were awarded first place Front Page Design. “Very clean design and a strong lead story combine to make a winning front page,” the judges said.

Arts Editor/Designer Christine Dunkle took First Place Specialty Page Design for her Midcoast Wedding Special. Judges said they loved her photo, story and advertising placement.

Dunkle also won third place Supplement or Special Section for The Courier-Gazette.

Shlomit Auciello received first place Opinion Columnist for her column, Letter From Away.

Production Manager Stephen Enggass won first place Local Ad for his Windhill Organics advertisement.

The Courier was also awarded third place General Excellence Digital and third place Best Circulation Promotion.

Designer Heidi Belcher and Advertising Sales Representative Justin Riley won third place Local Ad for Shelley’s Flowers and Gifts.

Glenn Billington won third place Scenic Photo for a sunrise picture over Rockland Harbor.

Sports winners will be in a separate story in the sports section. Ken Waltz won second place Sports Page Design and third place Sports Headline. Waltz and Holly Vanorse Spicer won third place Outdoors Story. Mark Haskell won second place Sports Profile.

A complete list of 2022 award winners will be posted to the Maine Press Association website.

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

This photo of Capt. Garth Wells on the bowsprit of the schooner Lewis R. French was named “Best in Show” for photography at the 2022 MPA Better Newspaper Contest. Photo by Stephen Betts

This sunrise photo of Rockland Harbor won third place Scenic Photo at the 2022 MPA Better Newspaper Contest. Photo by Glenn Billington

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