Hoekstra, Spalding win at Websters
Corrected: awards happened Nov. 1, not Dec. 1, as I had falsely written.
little very late on this, but awards can slip under the radar if you’re not nominated I should catch up with some important awards that were handed out not long before this blog came into existence. The Jack Webster Awards took place Wednesday Nov. 1 and a couple of community reporters were up for prizes.
Derek Spalding of the Nanaimo Daily News won the community reporting award for his story “Outbreak Exposure,” for, as the Daily News put it “for his hard-hitting coverage of an extended outbreak of Clostridium difficile at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.”
Spalding began the story after going to the hospital in 2008 for an unrelated assignment and seeing signs indicating a C. difficile outbreak was under way.
Efforts to obtain accurate information from the Vancouver Island Health Authority then led Spalding on a two-year odyssey under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
He eventually learned that the health authority was deliberately withholding his requested information.
Documents he obtained showed that VIHA intended to put out its own information to the public before releasing his requested documents to soften what he was about to reveal.
“It feels good that it’s recognized, but it’s an important story for the people of Nanaimo. It shows how important freedom of information laws are and demonstrates how important it is for the media to continue scrutinizing public bodies,” said Spalding.
Spalding beat out Kamloops This Week reporter Tim Petruk‘s “East Side Stories” along with the CFJC TV Kamloops news team.
Gordon Hoekstra of the Prince George Citizen won the Jack Webster Business, Industry & Economics Award for “Pipeline Promise? A Prince George Citizen Special Report,” which the Citizen described “a three-part series about Enbridge’s proposal to build a pipeline across northern B.C.” Hoekstra beat out the Victoria Times Colonist and the Vancouver Sun for his award. While Hoekstra did pose for a photo of his award, I prefer this one from a past awards gala.
Naoibh O’Connor of the Vancouver Courier was nominated for the best print feature story for her Jan. 14 story on private schools in Vancouver. Alas, she was defeated by The Province, which won a team award for its massive Operation Phoenix series. One suspects the presenters were worried about having to pronounce her name.
Find a full list of award winners, along with links to photos and videos from the gala, here.
If anyone can find online versions of Hoekstra and Petruk’s story, please leave a comment with a link.