Home > Awards > CCNA writing award winners, with judges comments

CCNA writing award winners, with judges comments

April 30, 2011

Earlier I reported on the award winners of the CCNA’s special competitions.

Now it’s time for the writing awards. Photo awards and general excellence will hopefully come soon. Again, I’m not going to mention those few awards that don’t include a B.C. or Yukon rep.

Best news story – Circ. 4,000 to 12,499

Judge Gail Martin wrote: “Initiative is what made the difference in this competition. While there were numerous entries that covered extremely newsworthy events, the reporters who took the time and effort to get the information no one else had were the ones who won in this category.”

GOLD – Danielle Bell, Nanaimo (BC) Nanaimo Daily News

Martin wrote: “Danielle Bell, with Nanaimo Daily News, submitted the most impressive entry. Under a tight deadline, Bell was able to get more information than her fellow reporters, following a shootout in downtown Nanaimo. This was in spite of the fact that the RCMP weren’t talking, and the area was cornered off. Bell was able to find out that the man who was killed had known his life was in danger, prior to a brazen shooting. This took several visits to the site, knocking on numerous doors and making use of emergency services contacts. The fact that the story was also written well makes this the top entry in this category.”

SILVER – Autumn MacDonald, Quesnel (BC) Quesnel Cariboo Observer

Martin wrote: Autumn MacDonald also took a crime story, and took it one step further, after a mentally challenged man was arrested for carrying what looked like a handgun. In reality, it was a toy gun. MacDonlad interviewed Rodney Moffat and his family, showing just how traumatized they were over the incident – and suggesting that officers used more than the required amount of force in the arrest. What made this story stand out was the compelling way MacDonald told the story, making readers feel compassion for Rodney and his family.”

BRONZE – Larissa Robyn Johnston, Whitehorse/Yukon Territory (YT) The Yukon News

Martin wrote: “Larissa Robyn Johnson also showed initiative, connecting the dots between a toddler’s choking death and the subsequent move of an ambulance station. The previous month, residents opposed having an ambulance station in their area due to concerns about the noise from the sirens. In her interview with the family, Johnson was able to show a community that was starting to have a change of heart – knowing that having an ambulance nearby could have prevented a needless death.”

Best Feature Story – Circ. up to 3,999

GOLD – Lachlan Labere, Sicamous (BC) Eagle Valley News

Judge Grace Peacock wrote: “Top prize went to Lachlan Labere for the raw and honest insight he gives us into a local family man who happens to be a convicted marijuana smuggler wanted by the United States for alleged involvement in a cross-border drug operation. The contradiction of Colin Martin’s principled personal values and the life of crime he’s lived is established right from the start, hooks the reader in and carries the current of narrative straight through to the end. Through clean, concise writing and the use of colourful quotes, Labere reveals the ordinary man behind the crime. His presentation of this man’s story is unassuming and makes him seem relatable – and therein lies the magic and the real kicker for achieving first place. Presentation was deserving (front page placement) for such a unique profile. Only one thing could have improved this piece and that would have been comments from other sources personally close to Martin to help round out our understanding of his character.”

SILVER – Martha Perkins, Bowen Island (BC) Bowen Island Undercurrent

Peacock wrote: “Second place goes to Martha Perkins who takes a story about the anniversary of a small, independent school on Bowen Island and pulls out of it colourful scene establishment (placing us on a wharf with a sleepy Grade 9 student waiting for a ferry to take to school) and a multitude of perspectives whose placement in the story help the reader understand exactly why this place is so much more than just a school. Quality of writing was top notch, story flowed effortlessly. I found myself a bit disappointed she didn’t continue the scene setting she had led with elsewhere in the story as it proved very effective.”

BRONZE – Tasleem Mawji, Fort St. James (BC) Fort St. James Caledonia Courier

Peacock wrote: “In third place, Tasleem Mawji focused on a woman’s initiative to open a drop-in centre for the aboriginal street people in Fort St. James. Not only was the story structured well and the writing clean, but Tasleem did a great job translating this woman’s passion for her cause onto the page. Tasleem shows the reader by reconstructing a scene for the lead – something journalists can’t get away with in hard news stories, but a device that works effectively here. Though a variety of sources were included here, missing was that of the street people themselves.”

Best Feature Story – Circ. 4,000 to 12,499

Judge Rob Vogt wrote: “The three stories that rose to the top did so because they flowed, were well written and laid out, offered a unique perspective and had a wide range of visual details.”

GOLD – Autumn MacDonald, Quesnel (BC) Quesnel Cariboo Observer

Vogt wrote: “The first place entry, tells the story of a funeral director which is a unique topic most readers can relate to. The writing had a good rhythm, enhanced by visual details and strong, but not excessive quotes.”

SILVER – Genesee Keevil, Whitehorse/Yukon Territory (YT) The Yukon News

Vogt wrote: “The second place entry draws the reader in right away with a vivid description of the life of a young person at risk. It is fast-paced and riveting reading. It also puts a human face on a government report that, if it had been adopted, would have prevented some of the trauma suffered by the subject of the story.”

BRONZE – Lisa Brown, Bridgewater (NS) Bridgewater Bulletin

Best Feature Story – Circ. more than 12,500

GOLD – Sheila Reynolds, Surrey/North Delta (BC) The Leader

Judge Carole Morris-Underhill wrote: “First place goes to Sheila Reynolds for her gripping feature for the Surrey-North Delta Leader. Reynolds detailed the graphic abuse her subject suffered at the hands of her husband skillfully and with precision. Her words kept the reader engaged — wondering from the beginning how it would end. She told the story that so often goes unreported. She shone a light on domestic abuse. Well done!”

SILVER – Ashley Wray, Abbotsford (BC) The Abbotsford News

Morris-Underhill wrote: “The second place entry came from Ashley Wray of The Abbotsford News. So often we wonder how good kids go bad, how their lives spiral out of control. We must not forget that every murder victim is someone’s child, someone’s friend. Wray’s article was heartbreaking to read, but offered great insight into the story behind the news. She went where many reporters are afraid to go — and what resulted was an award-winning entry.”

BRONZE – Lauren Gilchrist, Peterborough (ON) Peterborough This Week

Best Feature Series – Circ. up to 3,999

GOLD – Sean McIntyre, Salt Spring Island (BC) Gulf Islands Driftwood

Judge Paul Rudan wrote: “The Gulf Islands Driftwood and the Bowen Island Undercurrent provided their readers with comprehensive and well-researched stories on the problems and solutions to affordable housing. Best of all, every story in their respective series was character-driven – the key to great feature writing.”

SILVER – Martha Perkins, Bowen Island (BC) Bowen Island Undercurrent

Rudan wrote: “The Driftwood just edged out the Undercurrent. The deciding factor was the Driftwood provided a better package of stories, including sidebars packed with stats. Nevertheless, a great job by Driftwood reporter Sean McIntyre and Undercurrent editor Martha Perkins.”

BRONZE – Darrel Greer, Nunavut (NU) Kivalliq News

Best Feature Series – Circ. 4,000 to 12,499

GOLD – Belle Hatfield, Yarmouth (NS) Vanguard

SILVER – Krista Bryce, Nanaimo (BC) Nanaimo Daily News

Judge Steve Bonspiel wrote: “This was a very thorough, informative series on our health. It was good to read about the different aspects and stories that come with learning about our health. Bryce drove the story with what was probably the easiest entry to read of the bunch.”

BRONZE – Gordon Brock, New Liskeard (ON) Temiskaming Speaker

Best Feature Series – Circ. more than 12,500

GOLD – Tyler Olsen, Chilliwack  (BC) Chilliwack Times

Judge Byron Christopher wrote: “A well-written piece that looked at the shocking abundance
of marijuana grow-ops in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Very innovative. Good use of a Google map to illustrate locations of more than 200 known grow-ops in the community. The series also included an eyeopening account of what actually happens to the owners of these grow-ops once they’re charged (mild consequences). There was also some tough slogging by the reporter who attempted to get a reaction from a repeat offender.

“The final three were very close, but the ‘Homegrown’ series won out because the story was so unique. If there’s a complete opposite to news-release journalism, this is it.”

SILVER – Lee Berthiaume, Ottawa (ON) Embassy

BRONZE – Jane Seyd, North Vancouver/West Vancouver (BC)  North Shore News

Christopher wrote: “This was a heartfelt and educational story about the terrible consequences of impaired driving, and how common the practice is. This was a well researched piece. Jane examined the pain of survivors, the challenges of law enforcement and, with the experience of a court reporter, she also sought out defence lawyers to hear what they had to say. A balanced and well-crafted story with illustrations that were easy to follow. Jane had a compelling lead and her story progressed well. She also obtained some data through Freedom of Information.”

Outstanding columnist – Circ. open

GOLD – Marcus Hondro, Bowen Island (BC) Bowen Island Undercurrent

Judge Kimberley Noble wrote: “after ranking the best work and giving extra points for originality and voice, I awarded the top spot to Marcus Hondro of the Bowen Island Undercurrent, who managed to turn a column on local baseball into a piece about sports, family, politics, philosophy, metaphysics and, above all, Bowen Island.”

SILVER – Frank McTighe, Fort Macleod (AB) The Macleod Gazette

BRONZE – Meg Coles, St. Anthony (NL) Northern Pen

Outstanding reporter initiative – Circ. up to 9,999

GOLD – Sean McIntyre, Salt Spring Island (BC) Gulf Islands Driftwood

Judge Brenda Jefferies wrote: “First place winner Sean McIntyre of Gulf Islands Driftwood delivered the complete package in his series on affordable housing on Salt Springs Island, B.C. Weaving multiple interviews and a plethora of statistics into an engaging read that put a human face on an important issue. In addition, he used every tool at his disposal, including sidebars, graphs and photos to frame the problem, dig for the root cause and instigate change.”

SILVER – Kevin Weedmark, Moosomin (SK) World-Spectator

BRONZE – Genesee Keevil, Whitehorse/Yukon Territory (YT) The Yukon News

Jefferies wrote: “Third place winner Genesee Keevil of the Yukon News shows that persistence and courage pay off in her coverage of the tragic drowning of RCMP officer Michael Potvin. When she didn’t get straight answers about safety policy from officials, she did the leg work and turned in a compassionate, well-written series of stories that exposed the need for change. The RCMP responded by initiating a national review of the issue.”

Outstanding reporter initiative – Circ. more than 10,000

GOLD – Jeff Nagel, Surrey/North Delta (BC) The Leader

Judge Brodie Thomas wrote: “Jeff Nagel’s six part series “Trash Talk” from the Surrey-North Delta Leader on Metro Vancouver’s waste management plans hit the issue from all sides and provided readers with information above and beyond what was being debated in council chambers. He showed environmental pros and cons for both main options of either burning or landfilling, but he also delved into the business of trash. It was an engaging and informative read.”

SILVER – Paul J. Henderson, Chilliwack (BC) Chilliwack Times

Thomas wrote: “Paul J. Henderson of the Chilliwack Times interviewed over a dozen people for his profile of George Mitchell Allgood a.k.a. Reno Trevow Hogg. The subject’s life unfolded chronoligically for the most part and the story also raised questions about border security. As a personal profile, we come to see that the main character was charming but shifty – a different person to many people.”

BRONZE – Todd Vandonk, Peterborough (ON) Peterborough This Week

Best National Editorial – Circ. up to 9,999

GOLD – Richard Mostyn, Whitehorse/Yukon Territory (YT) The Yukon News

Judge Al Shackleton wrote: “Richard Mostyn of the Yukon News did an excellent job taking on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government’s use of veterans for a photo op. Mostyn quickly sets the scene and then gets to the point. He exposes the government’s hypocrisy in an easy to understand manner, making excellent use of research to drive home his points. This was an outstanding editorial.”

SILVER – David Burke, Squamish (BC) The Chief

Shackleton wrote: “David Burke of the Squamish Chief delivers a powerfully written editorial on Canada’s sorry international reputation on the environment. Burke takes a strong stand, uses facts and research well to back up his position, and doesn’t pull a single punch in his delivery. A great example of what an editorial should be.

BRONZE – Aaron Beswick, St. Anthony (NL) Northern Pen

Best National Editorial – Circ. more than 10,000

GOLD – Matthew Claxton, Langley (BC) Langley Advance

Judge Al Shackleton wrote: “This editorial was well written, short and concise. He presented the consequences of not being vaccinated for measles based on unproven science and he offered the solution. This is a subject that most readers can relate to and should have a considerable impact on the reader.”

SILVER – Frank Bucholtz, Langley (BC) The Langley Times

Shackleton wrote: “While this topic has been discussed and editorialized countless times, I like this one. He actually presented two issues in this editorial: the problems with minority governments and the problems with long gun registry. He showed various sides of the debate and presented solid information on how it hasn’t and can’t work. It was well written and easy for any reader to follow and perhaps even be convinced.”

BRONZE – Rose Sanchez, Swift Current (AB) Prairie Post

Best Local Editorial – Circ. up to 3,999

GOLD – Lisa Joy, Lacombe (AB) Globe

SILVER – Jacqueline Lawrence, Gravenhurst (ON) Gravenhurst Banner

BRONZE – Tracy Hughes, Salmon Arm (BC) Salmon Arm Observer

Judge Conal MacMillan wrote: “Tracy Hughes of the Salmon Arm Observer throws some cold water on what could become a heated, emotional issue in the wake of a senseless tragedy. Hughes aptly hits all the right notes in pointing out that regulations are in place to prevent similar tragedies and that, perhaps, good judgment needs to prevail. Her editorial serves to properly frame the discussion going forward.”

Best Local Editorial – Circ. 4,000 to 12,499

GOLD – Barbara Dean Simmons, Clarenville (NL) The Packet

SILVER – Susan Quinn, Port Alberni (BC) Alberni Valley News

Judge Al Shackleton wrote: “Susan Quinn’s editorial in the Port Alberni Valley News called for transparency at the local government level. The paper also lauded a councillor who sought to throw more light on the decision process to increase taxes in the community to make up a shortfall created with a default by local company. A short, sharp, shock, the editorial was a Ninja raid (Ed. note: !!!) on a group that prefers the dark. Quinn’s piece could easily be adapted to any level of government across the country.”

BRONZE – Dave Whitfield, Canmore/Kananaskis/Banff/Lake Louise (AB) Rocky Mountain Outlook

Best Local Editorial – Circ. more than 12,500

GOLD – Ted Colley, Surrey/North Delta/White Rock (BC) The Now

Judge Al Shackleton wrote: “It takes a lot of guts to write a front page editorial, but Ted Colley from Surrey Now has more than guts by using exceptional writing to clearly convey their disgust with the MP. Exceptional.”

Ed note: Colley’s editorial was on a free-spending MP and ran on the front page (alongside a news story about the issue), which is something that really does take exceptional guts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a front page editorial.

SILVER – Paula Carlson, Surrey/North Delta (BC) The Leader

Shackleton wrote: “Brilliant writing makes Paula Carlson’s editorial a standout. Writing about sex shops and the impact on community isn’t easy, but this editorial hits all the right chords. Not a single word wasted.”

BRONZE – Mark Cripps, Dundas (ON) Dundas Star News

Best Historical Story – Circ. 4,000 to 12,499

GOLD – John Thompson, Whitehorse/Yukon Territory (YT) The Yukon News

Judge Tim Kalinowski wrote: “A superb re-telling of an exciting time in Yukon history. The story grabs your attention from the first headline “Goldrush convicts rise from the grave” and continues on magnificently from there. What more could you want in a great historical story? Great research, great narrative force, a compelling local historical context and a little skulduggery and murder thrown in just for good measure: A good tale, well told.”

SILVER – Emma Graney, St. Anthony (NL) Northern Pen

BRONZE – Gordon Brock, New Liskeard (ON) Temiskaming Speaker

Best Historical Story – Circ. more than 12,500

GOLD – Robert Mangelsdorf, Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows (BC) The News

Judge Lorraine Poulsen wrote: “The story written by Robert Mangelsdorf about the Whonnock Post Office was told in a calm, quiet manner allowing the reader to enjoy not only the history of the actual building but easily imagine the service rendered over the years. The story contains all the qualities needed to entice the reader to read every word. The writing is as unhurried as the atmosphere being described, making for a most enjoyable read. The writer didn’t over think this piece or in any way attempt to make the story anything it wasn’t. The accompanying pictures served to complete this excellently written, well told story. Very well done.

SILVER – Richard Vivian, Orangeville (ON) Banner

BRONZE – Roszan Holmen, Victoria (BC) Victoria News

Poulsen wrote: “In third place is the story about lepers from Victoria News written by Roszan Holmen. The article is about looking for a more complete story; and while that message comes across clearly, it does not dominate the piece. The writer’s style of using short, well-formed paragraphs, each filled with amazing detail, leaves the reader wanting to know more – exactly what the story hopes to accomplish. Well done.”

“I could give honourable mention to many like the Guelph Tribune for the story about uncovering building art . The war bomber story from the North Shore News, the unique love story from the New Westminster Record and the story of a grave in Holland from the Guardian in York, Ont.”

Best Headline Writing – Circ. Open

GOLD – Kamloops (BC) Kamloops This Week

Judge Kelly Lapointe wrote: “Kamloops This Week did a great job of showing creative flair while using the elements of the story given without trying too hard and making too many leaps to tie everything together. Great, accurate wordplay that leaves an impact – just an overall impressive effort that stuck with me.”

Ed. Note: The headline was “Oh Danny boy! The pipes, the pipes were calling.” The story was about a dog named Danny that got trapped in a sewer pipe. ‘Nuff said.

SILVER – Wakefield/Gatineau Hills (QC) Low Down To Hull & Back News

BRONZE – Port Perry (ON) Scugog/Uxbridge Standard

Best Local Cartoon – Circ. up to 9999

GOLD – Norm Muffit, Inuvik (NT) Inuvik Drum

SILVER – Lawrence Woodall, Port Hardy (BC) North Island Gazette

Judge Blake Wolfe wrote: “They say nothing is certain but death and taxes, but I’d make the
argument for Christmas and stoop-and-scoop bylaws are a close second. Not as heavy subject matter as my first place pick, but the topic has impact both locally and across the country.”

BRONZE – Jonathan Mahood, Parry Sound (ON) North Star

Best Local Cartoon – Circ. more than 10,000

GOLD – Michael DeAdder, Ottawa (ON) Hill Times

SILVER – Ingrid Rice, Whistler (BC) Question

Judge Greg Bennett wrote: “Ingrid Rice let B.C. taxpayers know in a humorous way that they were going to have to pay for the party that was the 2010 Olympics. Again…a concept that was well executed that gave me something to think about and a smile at the same time.”

BRONZE – Walt Radda, Port Perry (ON) Scugog/Uxbridge Standard

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