‘Monitor’ named New England newspaper of year

Published: 11/22/2020 7:24:10 PM
Modified: 11/22/2020 7:23:52 PM

The Monitor was named a daily Newspaper of the Year by the New England Newspaper and Press Association.

In addition, the newspaper’s coverage of the Concord School District’s response to accusations of sexual misconduct against a former teacher won two special awards, including the association’s First Amendment Award.

The newspaper’s investigation of what Concord school officials did and didn’t do following reports of misconduct against Howie Leung in 2018 and 2014 included multiple Right to Know requests, and dozens of stories. In addition, the Monitor partnered with the ACLU of New Hampshire and parent Dellie Champagne to file a lawsuit to compel the school district to make public a 100-page report that examined what top administrators did in response to repeated complaints and warning signs.

This year’s New England First Amendment Award was given to both the Concord Monitor and The Day of New London.

“Both newspapers are being recognized for their work about how school districts did or did not deal with teachers who accosted girls,” NENPA officials said.

The Monitor’s total reporting on Leung’s arrest and the district’s efforts to change its culture and policies, as well as changes to state law that resulted, was recognized with one of the Association’s Publick Occurrences awards, which mark “the very best work that New England newspapers produce each year.”

“If public service and impact rate, they did it with this series of reporting: A good story fell into their newsroom and they ran with it, again and again,” the judges wrote. “Because of their tenacious reporting and, in part, because of a lawsuit the paper filed many changes occurred including both the high school principal and district superintendent being forced to resign; the state supreme court ruling changed public access laws, and a state law was passed that closed a loophole that allowed teachers to have sexual relations with students who are of the age of consent. This is a case study on how a newsroom stays on an important story and never stops knocking on doors.”

Many of the stories would not have been possible without Concord parents and students willing to speak to the newspaper about their experiences.

This is the seventh Publick Occurrences the Monitor has won in the past six years covering topics including homelesssness, youth suicide, domestic violence, sexual assault, early-onset Alzheimer’s and challenges at DCYF.

About the awards

The Monitor was named Newspaper of the Year among news outlets in New England with a daily circulation of less than 10,000. The Gloucester Daily Times and Keene Sentinel were named distinguished newspapers in the same category.

A full list of Newspaper of the Year winners can be found on the NENPA website.

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