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Best of the best?

January 31, 2011

Whistler Question staff celebrate their 2009 General Excellence Ma Murray.

We’re in awards season so I thought it would be interesting to tally up some results from the past nine years of the BCYCNA and CCNA awards. Sure, you can take any given year’s awards lightly, but it’s possible to draw some fairly strong conclusions when you see a newspaper constantly winning hardware — or never touching the stuff.

The verdict? Those Whistler Question staffers on the right work for the best small community newspaper in the province, if not country.

First, some notes: because BCYCNA categories change from year-to-year, and because newspapers’ circulations can fluctuate, not all of these newspapers have garnered all of their awards in the class in which they are found below. This is especially true for CCNA awards, since those categories do not exactly mirrior those of the BCYCNA. For the BCYCNA awards, I gave five points for a first place showing, three for second place and one for third place. (On the premise that there is less of a difference between first and third than there is between third place and your average no-award paper, I tried a 4-3-2 system but the results were almost identical.) As for the CCNA awards, I handed out points on a 6-4-2 basis, on the assumption that it’s more prestigious to win a national award than a provincial one.

I’ve listed the top performers in each category. To make my list, papers must have collected at least 10 points in either category.

Today, I’ll focus on the small(er) papers. Later this week, I’ll tacker the bigger boys and girls.

Without further ado, Category A:

Newspaper BCYCNA awards BCYCNA points CCNA points Total points
Houston Today 6 16 14 30
Merritt Herald 5 13 10 23
North Thompson Times 4 14 4 18
Eagle Valley News 1 3 14 17
Revelstoke Times Review 3 11 11
Lake Cowichan Gazette 4 10 10
Column1 Column2 Column3 Column4 Column5
Cat A
Houston Today 6 16 14 30
North Thompson Times 4 14 4 18
Merritt Herald 5 13 10 23
Revelstoke Times Review 3 11 11
Lake Cowichan Gazette 4 10 10
Eagle Valley News 1 3 14 17

The most interesting thing to note here is obviously the national love shown for the Eagle Valley News. One thing it may have going for it is the fact that it competes against all those papers with circulations below 1,400 for the CCNAAs, but that the BCYs’ smallest class is for papers with under-2,000 circs. That disparity may be to blame for some of the other disparities between B.C./national awards.

Category B:

Newspaper BCYCNA awards BCYCNA points CCNA points Total points
Salmon Arm Observer 7 23 18 41
Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle 6 20 6 26
Valley Echo 5 11 12 23
Interior News 2 8 10 18
North Island Gazette 5 11 6 17

Before it was bumped to Category C, the Salmon Arm Observer, as a paid broadsheet with a decent-sized staff, was a big fish in a small pond. It won its seven BCY awards in consecutive years, between 2002 and 2008.  The Chronicle and Gazette both put together winning streaks at the start, and end, of the decade.

Category C:

Newspaper BCYCNA awards BCYCNA points CCNA points Total points
Whistler Question 7 33 44 77
Squamish Chief 4 10 28 38
Gulf Island Driftwood 5 15 20 35
Williams Lake Tribune 5 11 4 15

The Whistler Question and the Squamish Chief, two Glacier papers, absolutely dominated this category. Only in 2007 did the Question fail to garner a General Excellence Ma Murray. The Chief, meanwhile, started the decade in Cat B, but continued to win awards even when it moved to a bigger category.

Later this week: the best of the bigs.

Care to comment?

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That was a pretty good post, eh? Keep them coming by helping me out.. It’s easy, quick and the pay is shite. E-mail bclocalreporter (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have I made an error? It wouldn’t be the first time. Leave a comment and I’ll shamefully update the post.

We’re making inroads into our census of B.C. community newspapers, but there are still a lot of blanks in the Journo-lust Spreadsheet. How many journalists work at your paper? How often do you come out? Who’s your publisher? Participation is free! The benefits unlimited! The exclamation points boundless!

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