The Eagle wins journalism awards

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New England Newspapers Inc. has earned seven honors, including three Publick Occurrence awards for outstanding journalism, from The New England Newspaper & Press Association's 2017 competition.

The Berkshire Eagle was named a Distinguished Newspaper of the Year in weekday and Sunday categories for its circulation class. The Manchester Journal was named a Distinguished Newspaper of the Year among weekly newspapers in its class.

UpCountry magazine, which launched in January, took top honors as magazine of the year among specialty publications in New England. The bimonthly magazine covers the Berkshires and Southern Vermont.

"I feel thrilled beyond words that NENPA honored our papers with so many important awards," said Fredric D. Rutberg, president of New England Newspapers Inc. "While the recognition of our peers in the publishing industry is gratifying, the real appreciation must go to the talented, committed reporters and editors who turned the owners' commitment to quality into reality, and to our readers and advertisers who strongly supported our publications since the purchase in 2016."

New England Newspapers Inc. — The Eagle, Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal — have been locally owned since May 2016. The ownership group includes Robert G. Wilmers, Hans Morris, Judi Lipsey and Rutberg.

The Eagle took home two Publick Occurrences — awards that recognize the "very best work that New England newspapers produce each year" regardless of circulation size — for its coverage of the opening of Building 6 at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and for its reporting on languishing broadband internet access in the Berkshires.

Coverage of the opening of Building 6 was noted for its "highly readable nature" and for the evident amount of work from staff members and freelancers that went into producing the section.

Judges commended The Eagle's "exhaustive, deep and highly readable coverage" of the digital divide in the Berkshires, noting that the reporting led the governor and other state officials to release more broadband funding.

The Eagle was one of two newspapers to win more than one Publick Occurrences award — the other was the Concord (N.H.) Monitor.

The Brattleboro Reformer also was awarded a Publick Occurrences for "Andy's journey: The struggles through ALS," noting its "in-depth, sensitive reporting with intimate photos" that gave the public a clearer understanding of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

Executive Editor Kevin Moran credited a team effort and support for the successes.

"The work that our news staffs put forward this past year and the support our ownership has provided have combined to produce some stellar journalism this past year, and we are pleased to be recognized for it," Moran said.

Alan English, publisher of New England Newspapers Inc., called the acknowledgments recognition of "a place where great work is being done."


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