Mark Alan Lovewell, 61, has written on Martha’s Vineyard since 1978. For more than 34 years, Mark has worked for the award-winning weekly newspaper Vineyard Gazette on staff as a writer and photographer. Prior to living on Martha’s Vineyard, Mark worked for the daily newspaper New York Post as an editorial assistant. While in college, he wrote and completed research at the South Street Seaport Museum.
Mark’s love for the sea also led him to work as a merchant sailor. He’s made four trips to the fishing grounds of Georges Bank, twice on an NOAA research vessel, once on a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution vessel, and once on a fishing boat. He has traveled the seas as a crewman, a passenger, and as a journalist. Mark also crossed the Pacific, sailed through the Panama Canal and traveled the waters of Northern Europe. A few years ago, he even flew to China searching for the New England bay scallop.
Since 1979, Mark has committed his professional writing career to working full-time at the community weekly Vineyard Gazette. He began those first years in production and later moved into a position as a full-time reporter. He published his first story in the Gazette in 1980 and has been writing there ever since. He writes the full gamut of news ranging from late-breaking, written overnight, to projects that take months to complete. He writes one of the Island’s oldest columns, “With the Fishermen,” started in 1925 by the late Joseph Chase Allen. And true to Mr. Allen’s intent, Mark stays committed to focusing on the commercial fishermen and the important role they play in the spirit that drives this community.
In his 40-year career as a writer, Mark has freelanced for a number of publications and met quite a few journalists. Writing is a craft requiring practice, just like playing music. It requires time with an instrument. Both hope for an audience. He has written for big and small publications, including a few that no longer are around: the SoHo Weekly in lower Manhattan, and the alternative weekly newspaper of Martha’s Vineyard, The Grapevine.
And with good humor, he can make so extreme a claim as to have worked with the best and worst print journalists from, Henry Beetle Hough, the late publisher of the Vineyard Gazette to Rupert Murdoch, the past publisher of the New York Post. Between those granite stones, he has worked with quite a few editors and dozens of reporters.
We’ve now evolved into a bedroom tourist community. More and more of the homes built are occupied by those from afar. The Vineyard has become a summer destination, where people come to fill their lives with sunshine and recreation, and they bring with them a different social theatre.
For me — like so many other good folks on this Island — just by prevailing, by hanging onto this community by my fingernails — we can make a significant social contribution to this place. Just staying true to what is already here is no small accomplishment. By staying connected to this Island by eking out a living, by holding onto a home by the seat of my pants, and by carrying on as a story teller in words, pictures and music, I have a paycheck rising above all else.
The ultimate perk of chronicling what I see is I get to grow into an old timer here. I get to recall when events were different. I get to rattle off stories about how Turtle Lawry once landed swordfish at Memorial Wharf in Edgartown. I get to remember the Nobska tooting its steam horn as it pulled away from the Oak Bluffs wharf. I can tell others how I remember dairy farms and even at least one turkey farm. I get to remember when the Gay Head Cliffs were redder.
I get to be the sailor on the fantail, at the stern of this Island vessel, who has a long view of the ship’s wandering wake going out past the horizon.
— Vineyard Style Magazine, Spring 2002
Mark was first listed in Marquis Who's Who in 2005.
He has received a number of awards from the New England Press Association—now renamed the New England Press and Newspaper Association. For two consecutive years, Mark won first place for history writing. In February 2011, he received a first place for writing a story about the 100th anniversary of a gallant rescue at sea.
In 2010, he joined the volunteer editorial board of the Catboat Association’s Bulletin, published three times a year. He is their lead editor.
In the past, he has written and photographed for the Maine-published-monthly Commercial Fisheries News. The articles were about the Vineyard commercial fishermen and their efforts to reinvent themselves in changing times.
1993, he won the first place for environmental reporting from the New England Press Association for a trip he did to Georges Bank. It was a state of the fisheries project. That same year, he also won and shared the first place for a spot news story on the grounding of the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) off Cuttyhunk. He also shared a first-place general news with two other writers for a general news story.
An article with photographs appeared in the International photography magazine Hasselblad Forum in 1990. He was featured in Vineyard Style Magazine, in the spring of 2002. The article included a photography spread and was written by the magazine’s editor John Budris.
He participated in the book An Insider’s Guide to Cape Cod and the Islands, edited by Greg O’Brien, by collecting stories and writing about Cuttyhunk, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. The book was published by The Stephen Greene Press, distributed by Viking Penquin Inc. in 1988.
Four of his stories appear in Vineyard Gazette Reader, An Anthology of the best of the Island newspaper, 1970-1995, edited by Richard Reston and Tom Dunlop, published by the Vineyard Gazette, 1996.
He has written fiction, The Weigh-In, a short story for the book Fishing the Vineyard, paintings by Ray Ellis and edited by Ed Jerome, © 2000, Compass Publishing, Savannah, GA.
In February of 2010, he received the first place for a history story on the restoration of an old catboat. At the February 2007 convention held at the Park Plaza in Boston, Mark received two first-place writing awards from the association.
Mark received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in journalism from Empire State College, State University of New York in 1978.
Other Publications of Note
Sea History, a magazine of the National Maritime Historical Society, Autumn 2003, photographs and article written about woodcarver Joseph Uranker.
Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s membership publication Messenger.
Martha’s Vineyard Magazine and Best Read Guide, owned by the Vineyard Gazette, from 1980.
Anglers Journal, in 2013, he wrote an article about one Vineyard family’s last opportunity to harpoon and harvest swordfish from these waters.
Catboat Association Bulletin, a publication of the Catboat Association. A lead editor, writer and photographer, since 2010.