Board of Selectmen honor editor with commendation
At last week’s meeting, selectmen presented Saugus Advocate Editor Mark E. Vogler with a citation, congratulating him with being inducted into the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame.
Vogler, 70, whose journalism career spans more than 50 years – including the last seven years as editor of the Saugus paper – received a letter last month from the New England Newspaper & Press Association notifying him that he is among five journalists throughout the region who will receive the lifetime achievement honor. The Hall of Fame awards will be presented at a celebratory dinner as part of the annual convention of the New England Newspaper & Press Association tonight (Friday, May 5) at the Westin Waltham Boston Hotel in Waltham, Mass.
Selectmen asked Vogler to approach the lectern at last week’s meeting (April 25) and then presented him with a citation and asked him to offer some remarks. He told the board that he always enjoyed a good working relationship with selectmen during more than a dozen years working as a reporter at two different papers in Saugus. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he worked at North Shore Sunday. He said he would continue covering the town as long as health allowed him.
“It’s a great honor and you’re fair and it’s really the only full Saugus paper in town,” Selectman Corinne Riley told Vogler.
“And I appreciate you covering everything that happens here. Thanks Mark,” she said.
Selectman Jeffrey Cicolini told Vogler that his honor was “well deserved.” “It’s not an easy job at times. You’re always going to make one side upset, whoever is getting the opposite side of the story,” Cicolini said.
“So, I know what that position feels like. So, great job as always,” he said.
“Fifty years. How did you do this for so long?” Selectman Michael Serino wanted to know.
“It’s a great accomplishment. You’ve always been a fair reporter. And I want to thank you for that and for your service to our community,” he said.
Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Debra Panetta told Vogler that board members are “all thrilled for you.” “This is a huge accomplishment and I just couldn’t be happier for you. Thank you for being at all our different events,” Panetta said.
“You never miss anything Saugus. You should probably be honorary ‘Mr. Saugus’ for us. And I appreciate your Town Meeting coffees. It’s a great opportunity for people to come and listen to what people have to say. So, again, thank you very much. Congratulations.”
Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano thanked Vogler and said he found the reporter to be “very fair in your stories and I consider you a friend.” “So, thank you very much and congratulations,” Cogliano said.
Vogler has won or shared 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.
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 Press 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.
Prior to becoming editor of The Saugus Advocate in March of 2016, Vogler worked for 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.
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.
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 considered his greatest honors to be two ceremonial pens used by governors in two different states to sign legislation into law. In 1984, Vogler’s investigative report, “Bad Apples of Education, focused on flaws in Florida’s education that enabled convicted felons to become school teachers. Former Florida Governor Bob Graham credited Vogler’s stories with passage of a 1984 Florida Law that requires fingerprinting and background checks of schoolteacher applicants.
In 2004, Vogler received a pen from former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who credited the reporter’s stories 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.