NORTH ANDOVER — Reporter Jill Harmacinski won the prestigious Sevellon Brown Journalist of the Year Award, and The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass. won Publick Occurrences along with Distinguished Newspaper in the 2022 New England Newspaper & Press Association competition.
Harmacinski’s award recognizes her outstanding coverage of a break in a 34-year-old cold case involving the Lawrence murder of Melissa Ann Tremblay of Salem, New Hampshire, who was stabbed and left on the railroad tracks to be run over by a train when she was 11 years old. That same coverage earned the newspaper its Publick Occurrences prize.
On April 29, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and investigators announced that Marvin McClendon, 74, of Bremen, Alabama, and formerly of Massachusetts, was charged with the 1988 first-degree murder of Tremblay and would be extradited to Massachusetts.
Harmacinski, however, wanted the story sooner and requested a trip south to find out more. The powerful resulting narrative that appeared May 1 in the Sunday Eagle-Tribune provided intricate insight into the man accused of this heinous crime.
The Sevellon Brown award is presented annually to just one New England journalist, recognizing the individual for producing journalism of distinction.
For the newspaper’s Publick Occurrences award, judges lauded The Eagle-Tribune for vigorous proactiveness.
“The paper didn’t wait for the slow wheels of justice to bring a suspect back to face the murder charge of more than three decades before,” judges wrote in their comments. “It sent a reporter to the small Alabama town where he had fled after the crime.”
Additionally, The Eagle-Tribune staff won Distinguished Newspaper for journalistic excellence based on reporting, editing, photojournalism and design. Sister publication the Gloucester Daily Times also won that honor.