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Advocate Editor receives career honors

Saugus Advocate Editor Mark E. Vogler
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  Saugus Advocate Editor Mark E. Vogler is among five journalists who will be inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame next month.

  Vogler received official notification last Friday (April 7) in a letter from the New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) that the association’s board of directors recently approved his nomination to be recognized with some of the most outstanding newspaper professionals from throughout the six-state area. More than 100 individuals have been singled out over the past 20 years for their extraordinary contributions to their newspaper, the news industry and their communities. The Hall of Fame awards will be presented at a celebratory dinner as part of the annual NENPA convention on Friday, May 5, 2023, at the Westin Waltham Boston Hotel in Waltham, Mass.

  “Early in his journalism career, a newspaper bureau chief in Williamsburg, Va. told Mark Vogler that he should ‘go sell shoes’ because he would never make it as a reporter or writer,” NENPA noted in its press release issued this week, announcing the latest Hall of Fame honorees. “But Vogler didn’t quit. He went on to spend more than half a century as a newspaper reporter and editor, going on to win or share more than 75 journalism awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, five Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, an American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award, and an Investigative Reporters & Editors Award for Distinguished Investigative Reporting.

  “His investigative reports have uncovered nursing home abuse, exposed conditions at a state hospital for mentally ill patients, and disclosed flawed education systems that enabled convicted felons to become teachers prompting new legislation to protect the public.”

  Keith Gentili, an award-winning New Hampshire journalist and newspaper columnist, nominated Vogler for the award. Gentili is the Editor & Publisher of The New Boston Beacon in New Boston, N.H. He worked as Vogler’s assistant editor and sports editor nearly three decades ago.

  “Please see the attached look at the remarkable 50-year journalism career of Mark Vogler. His reporter’s story began and continues to this day in Massachusetts as he is the current editor of the Saugus Advocate,” Gentili said.

  “I worked for Mark fresh out of college at The Nantucket Beacon and his impact on my career and life is immeasurable. I named my paper The New Boston Beacon to honor this. The Nantucket Beacon had a group of young upstart reporters and designers and we all referred to ourselves as students at ‘the University of Voge,’” Gentili said.

  “Mark is the epitome of an investigative journalist. He mastered the use of public documents and combined it with a tireless work ethic at a very young age. Then, he spent his entire adult life chasing stories to serve the public. I hope you find his credentials worthy of a place in the New England Newspaper & Press Association Hall of Fame.”

  While editor at The Nantucket Beacon, one of two island weeklies back in the mid-1990s, Vogler directed a 32-part series called “Island at Risk,” which explored the impact of the growth and development issues on the island and challenges that threatened its future. The eight-month project won a first-place award for community service from the New England Press Association and helped to elevate the discussion of growth challenges facing Nantucket. During Vogler’s three years as editor of The Nantucket Beacon, the paper won more journalism commendations and awards from the New England Press Association than any weekly newspaper in New England.

  Vogler is a native of Swansea, Mass., and decided early in his life that he wanted to be a newspaper reporter. As an Eagle Scout in Swansea Boy Scout Troop 26, Vogler earned a journalism merit badge. During the final two years of his days at Joseph Case High School, he wrote sports articles for The Spectator of Somerset. He is a 1974 graduate of UMass Amherst with a B.A. in journalistic studies.

  He broke into the daily newspaper business in 1972, working part-time and weekends out of the Northampton bureau of The Springfield Union while a student at the university. He worked as a reporter, editor and columnist for newspapers in Massachusetts, Florida, Texas, Maine, Virginia and New York. Prior to becoming editor of The Saugus Advocate in March of 2016, Vogler worked 18 years at The Eagle-Tribune of North Andover, where he was a suburban editor, covered Lawrence City Hall and Lawrence Public Schools, wrote human interest columns, worked a stint as the late-night police reporter and spent several years covering the courts.

  He also became involved in several major newspaper investigations. He was the lead reporter on The Eagle Tribune’s auto insurance fraud investigation that culminated in an award-winning series, “At Fault: Inside the Culture of Auto Insurance Fraud,” which won a Sigma Delta Chi Award and Bronze Medallion for Public Service from the Society of Professional Journalists. The probe prompted a county grand jury investigation with 16 indictments and was credited by then-Gov. Mitt Romney with passing a state law making case-running a felony. Vogler broke the original story about a great-grandmother from Lawrence who died in a staged car accident she helped plan as part of an insurance fraud scam. Vogler continued his investigation for more than a year. The creation of a special task force in Lawrence led to more than 500 arrests in the biggest auto insurance fraud crackdown in state history. Gov. Romney’s office sent Vogler a pen from the bill-signing ceremony.

  A winner of more than 75 national, regional and state awards, Vogler is most proud of that pen and another he received 20 years earlier from then-Florida Gov. Bob Graham for “The Bad Apples of Education.” That was an investigative report focusing on flaws in Florida’s education

system that enabled convicted felons to become school teachers. Graham credited Vogler’s stories with passage of a 1984 Florida Law that requires fingerprinting and background checks of schoolteacher applicants. The project won several state and national awards, including a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service from the Society for Professional Journalists.

  Vogler was part of The Eagle-Tribune news team that won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking-news reporting in 2003 for coverage of the tragic drowning of four children on the Merrimack River in Lawrence. As a veteran reporter who specialized in Lawrence coverage, Vogler also contributed to three other Eagle-Tribune projects that won Sigma Delta Chi Awards.

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