Sun Staff Report

BOSTON -- The Sun and its staff were honored for its work by the New England Newspaper and Press Association on Saturday night.

The awards were presented at the annual NENPA awards banquet, at the Park Plaza Hotel.

Judges from across the country pored more than 5,000 entries in the New England Better Newspaper Contest, the region's largest writing, photography and multimedia contest. The Sun is in the highly competitive class of newspapers with a circulation of 30,000 or more.

The award winners are:

* Reporter Grant Welker, second place, business/economic reporting. Welker was recognized for a series of stories about the Lowell-founded Market Basket supermarket chain, and attempts by its board of directors to remove its chairman.

Judges wrote: "Families battles don't always make for regional news stories,but the family battle over control of supermarket chain, Market Basket, was well covered by The Sun and how it impacted not only one of the community's major businesses, but the tight-knit Greater Lowell Greek community as well."

* Enterprise Editor Christopher Scott and reporter Rick Sobey, second place, spot news reporting. Scott and Sobey were honored for their on-deadline story about suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his time as a boxer in the Golden Gloves in Lowell.

Judges wrote: "The Sun's thorough, smart reporting and writing about the death of bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is the definition of great spot news.


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Timely, key interviews shed light on a baffling case and helped put the suspect in context."

* WhatDoUWannaDo, The Sun's weekly supplement, third place, arts and entertainment section. Copy editor Joanne Deegan designs and edits this section.

Judges wrote: "Lots to read in this fun section."

* David Pevear, third place, history reporting. Pevear told the tale of Jimmy Scondras, a Lowell High star who is still remembered 70 years after his death in World War II.

Judges wrote: "There's never a dearth of human stories to tell about World War II, as this Veterans Day piece illustrates. The focus is on Lowell school sports legendy Jimmy Scondras, who's still remembered by his aging contemporaries 70 years after his death on Iwo Jima."

* "Salute to Women," a supplemental section, third place, special section or editorial supplement. This section was edited and designed by Kristopher Pisarik, managing editor/nights.

Judges wrote: "'A Salute to Women,' continues for a section year its recognition of those women, past and present, who have done so much to advance the Lowell region: health staffers, writers, store owners, non-profit executives. Women from all walks of professional life are duly noted. And, there's even room for Louisa May Alcott."

Sun Editor Jim Campanini said the awards are recognition of the staff's hard work, and the newspaper's continued commitment to community journalism.

"Our talented and dedicated staff represents the best of their craft," Campanini said. "We are proud of what they are able to achieve. Our readers and communities should be, too."

The Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg, The Sun's sister publication was honored with three awards on Saturday night. One of those awards, for front-page design, went to copy editor Bruce Phillips, who works in the Lowell newsroom on the combined copy editing/design desk.

Two awards winners and their works received standing ovations from the crowd of more than 400: Weekly photographer of the year Shannon Hicks of The Newtown (Ct.) Bee, who photographed the Newtown school shooting, and daily photographer of the year Ken McGagh of the MetroWest Daily News, who photographed the Boston Marathon finish line area moments after two bombs were set off.