The Vineyard Gazette’s series on coastal ponds was recognized with an award for outstanding journalism this week by the New England Newspaper and Press Association.

Alex Elvin, the principal reporter on the nine-part series, accepted the award Thursday at a luncheon in Natick. The Gazette was also named a Distinguished Newspaper at the event for the third straight year.

The coastal pond series, published in the Gazette last summer and online, was one of three weekly (and 12 daily newspapers) to win a Publick Occurrences Award, established in 1990 to recognize individual and team merit at New England Newspapers. The award is named for the first newspaper published in America in 1690.

“This series defines the true spirit of the Public Occurrences Award,” the judges wrote.

“It is most impressive on many fronts: it has range — both width and depth, it is well-written, it is artfully illustrated, and it even has an ingenious subscription promotion with proceeds going to a worthy cause,” they added, referring to the Gazette’s donation of 1,000 seed clams to the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group for every subscription it received.

“As all series good series do, Coastal Ponds Under Pressure not only shines a light on a problem, it also explores solutions and prompts action.”

The judges singled out Mr. Elvin and photographer Tim Johnson for special notice.

“Alex Elvin is to be congratulated for writing a series worthy of the science section of The New York Times and photographer Tim Johnson should be praised for photographs that are both beautiful and relevant,” the judges wrote.

The New England Newspaper and Press Association is the region’s largest journalism trade group, with more than 450 newspaper members. It also sponsors the New England Better Newspaper competition, which announces its awards in February.