Nieman News

Five contemporary New England journalists and the Colonial founder of the Hartford Courant, America’s oldest newspaper in continuous publication, will receive the Yankee Quill Award this fall for their contributions to the betterment of journalism in the six-state region.

The Yankee QuillAward is presented annually by the Academy of New England Journalists through the auspices of the New England Society of Newspaper Editors Foundation. It is considered the highest individual honor awarded by fellow journalists in the region.

The 2010 honorees are Oreste D’Arconte, publisher of the The Sun Chronicle, Attleboro, Mass.; Melissa Ludtke, editor, Nieman Reports, Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University; Mary Pat Rowland, managing editor, Foster’s Daily Democrat, Dover, N.H.; Dan Rea, talk show host, WBZ Radio, and former investigative reporter, WBZ-TV, Boston; and Mark Smith, publisher, The Caledonian-Record, St. Johnsbury, Vt.

In addition, the award will be presented posthumously to Thomas Green, founder of the Connecticut Courant, now The Hartford Courant, under the academy’s historic recognition category.

Thomas Green started the Connecticut Courant as a weekly paper in 1764, and it became the largest circulation patriot paper during the Revolutionary War. The daily Courant evolved in 1837, after Green had sold the paper. Green printed the Declaration of Independence for the nation’s founders.

Thumbnail sketches of the other Yankee Quill Award winners:

Oreste D’Arconte: 41 of his 44-year newspaper career spent in Attleboro. He started as a reporter, and moved up the ranks to managing editor, editor and general manager. He has been publisher of the The Sun Chronicle since 1998. He was cited for “doing and encouraging in-depth journalism on important local issues, unrelenting efforts for public access to government meetings and records, leadership in the New England newspaper industry and unselfish service to community organizations.”

Melissa Ludtke: Editor for the past decade of Nieman Reports, the prestigious quarterly magazine about journalism produced at Harvard University. She is also a former Time correspondent and Sports Illustrated reporter whose pioneering efforts provided women journalists with equal access to interview athletes. Ludtke was cited for her “distinguished history of fighting for equal opportunities for women sportswriters, deft editing of one of America’s most thoughtful journalism publications, and conscientious involvement with children’s and other social organizations.”

Dan Rea: Host of the talk show, “NightSide,” on WBZ NewsRadio in Boston. He was a television news reporter from 1976 to July 2007 at WBZ-TV in Boston, winning prominent recognition for his investigation into four men wrongfully imprisoned for a 1965 murder. Rea was cited for his “distinguished record of righting wrongs through diligent news reporting, sense of fairness in presenting inherently sensational events, commitment to the First Amendment, and admirable involvement with community organizations serving often-ignored societal needs.”

Mary Pat Rowland: Her entire journalism career has been spent at Foster’s Daily Democrat in Dover, N.H. She’s been a correspondent, bureau reporter, municipal reporter, bureau chief, news editor and, since 1990, managing editor. She has also been active in regional journalism organizations, and currently serves as president of the New England Newspaper and Press Association. She was cited for “mentoring of generations of reporters in the basic skills of our profession, and leadership in the newspaper community.”

Mark Smith: Third generation of his family to serve as publisher of the Caledonian-Record in St. Johnsbury, Vt. He has been long active in press freedom organizations, successfully challenging the Vermont State Police in a landmark right-to-know case decided by the Vermont Supreme Court. He was cited for his “steadfast support of the First Amendment, editorial support for transparency in government, and a commitment of time and energy to newspaper organizations.”

The Yankee Quill awards will be presented as part of the annual conference of the New England Society of Newspaper Editors on Friday, Nov. 12, at the Holiday Inn Tewksbury, Mass.

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