Mark Alan Lovewell, journalist and photographer, has a strong interest in Martha’s Vineyard maritime heritage. The Island is his home.
Mark received an award this year from the New England Newspaper and Press Association, which will formally be reported in February.
Last year he received a first place in the category of history writing from the association for a story about the centennial rememberance of the sinking of the Mertie B. Crowley, a 296-foot six-masted schooner. The story: A Century Later, Epic Sea Rescue is Remembered, was published in the Jan. 22, 2010 Vineyard Gazette .
He won a first place, the year before for A Catboat Finds Her Way Home to the Sea and was published as a cover on May 22, 2009 in the Vineyard Gazette. The story is about his restoration of an 18-foot Marshall catboat that was built in 1972 but had languished in a field for more than a decade.
The Judges said of the award: “Wow, what a story! There could be no other first place winner in this category. Beautifully written, detailed yet concise. A perfect read.”
In 2007, Mark received three awards at the New England Press Association annual convention. He received a first place for environmental reporting for a special section he wrote and photographed on the state of Georges Bank in the fall of 2005. His employer, the Vineyard Gazette, received a first place for editorial special section for the same project. Plus, Mark received a third place general news for a photograph of the launching of the Island Home, a new ferry that started serving the Vineyard this year. The launching took place in Mississippi.
In recent years he has done a number of writing projects that went beyond the Vineyard shoreline. Here are but a few of his salty favorites.
In April of 2006 he went to China to hunt for the New England bay scallop. His search and subsequent interviews with a number of Chinese experts resulted in a story about a $500 million aquaculture industry that is driving the Asian waterfront economy. There are hundreds of hatcheries and shellfish beds extending from the Straits of Taiwan all the way up to the Yellow Sea.
In the summer of 2006 he went to the island of Cuttyhunk to find out about a successful oyster farm that hires local summer kids to do most of the work. Seth Garfield of Cuttyhunk Farms Shellfish Inc.. is observing his 25th year in business He gave a tour and talked about his work and his business success.
Lobsters used to be this region’s number one seafood but in Southeastern Massachusetts the fishery is in decline. To draw attention to the struggles of local fishermen, he went out lobstering with Menemsha fisherman Pat Jenkinson.
In the fall during the peak of the striped bass and sport fish migration he went flyfishing with a celebrated local angler Ally Moore of Oak Bluffs. Together the two fished for false albacore on Chappaquiddick.
In the fall of 2005, Mr. Lovewell with the help of a team of editors and graphics colleagues at the Vineyard Gazette worked on and published a special section on the declining state of Georges Bank. The project began in the spring of 2005 with a two-week stormy cruise aboard a federal fisheries research vessel. The ship traveled more than a thousand miles of waters on the great bank. The special section is the most comprehensive writing project found anywhere in New England of the once fertile and now troubled fishing grounds.
Each year he writes more than 100 stories for the Vineyard’s oldest weekly newspaper, Vineyard Gazette, where he has worked since 1979. The stories range from fisheries, politics to features and a little bit of science writing. Many of the stories are available by doing a Google search. The search will take you into the Vineyard Gazette’s Internet archives.
In 2007 he wrote articles for the Maine monthly Commercial Fisheries News, about the fishing industry, from bay scallops to an experimental effort to raise blue mussels in Vineyard waters.