The Eagle-Tribune took top honors for investigative reporting in the annual New England Better Newspaper Competition.

Reporter Keith Eddings' expose last year of the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council won first prize in competition with daily newspapers of over 30,000 circulation from throughout New England.

"Mr. Eddings is a distinguished reporter whose work exposed the slovenly and unscrutinized work habits of (the agency's) long-time head," the judges said. "Eddings' work is admirable: persistent, thorough, fair and fearless. Both he and The Eagle-Tribune deserve praise for the exemplary work."

The Eagle-Tribune also won in these categories:

General News Story: Reporter Brian Messenger, second place for his story and video on an 11-year-old cancer survivor who became the victim of a cyber bully. "Solid treatment of a truly sordid situation," the judges said.

Special Sections or Supplements: Tracey Rauh and staff, third place, for The Andovers magazine. "This glossy perfect-bound beauty shines brightly among lifestyle magazine offerings," the judges wrote. "Featuring well thought-out content flow from front to back, a diverse mix of features and shorts, with plenty of local names and faces to make it a must-read for the region's business savvy, historians as well as hip foodies and fashionistas."

Sports Page or Section: Sports staff, third place, for a special commemorative section on the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup triumph. "The local columnists 'strutted their stuff' with their own unique and refreshing analysis and features," the judges said. "Photography and design were excellent"

Sports Story: Chris Smith, third place, for his story on Andover High basketball star Natalie Gomez-Martinez and the Andover couple who became her second family.

Also honored were two of The Eagle-Tribune's sister publications, the Gloucester Daily Times and The Daily News of Newburyport.

Gloucester night editor and designer Andrea Holbrook won a first-place and two third-place awards for page design in the newspapers under 30,000 circulation category. Times reporter Gail McCarthy won second place for history reporting. Matt Burke, the Times' former sports editor, won third place for best sports column.

Cape Ann Magazine, published by the Times and edited by The Eagle-Tribune's Tracey Rauh, won second place for best special section.

The staff of the Daily News won second place for living page or section. Daily News reporters Dave Rogers and Angeljean Chiaramida won third place in environmental reporting. Reporter Lynne Hendricks and Editor John Macone won third place for a story and editorial upholding the public's right to know

The contest is sponsored by The New England Newspaper & Press Association. The awards were presented last week at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston.

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