Northern newspapers impress national judges

Nunatsiaq takes 13 community newspaper prizes


Nunatsiaq News and its staff took home 13 prizes, for work done in 2008, from Canadian and Quebec community newspaper association banquets held at the Sheraton Centre in Montreal this past weekend.

Much to the amusement of Canadian Community Newspaper Association members who attended their organization's May 21 banquet, Nunatsiaq News won a Canada-wide prize that normally goes to rural publications in southern Canada: Best Agricultural Story.

John Thompson, a former Nunatsiaq News reporter who now works for the Yukon News in Whitehorse, took first place in that category for "This spring and summer, you can grow your own," a feature on Iqaluit's community greenhouse.

The Nation, which serves the sub-Arctic James Bay Cree territory in Quebec, took second prize in the agricultural category for a story on an economic development project in Chisasibi: "Chisasibi mushrooms offer economic boost."

And newspapers from all three northern territories won praise from judges in sweeping the top three awards in the CCNA's Best Local Editorial category.

"Either there's more corruption, impunity or disregard for public safety up north, or the papers in Canada's Far North are particularly willing to expose it," judge Mark Allen of the Glacier Media Group said in his comments.

Jim Bell of Nunatsiaq News took third place in that competition for his April 4, 2008 editorial "Pre-election delusions."

Richard Mostyn of the Yukon News took first place and Jen Geens of The Yellowknifer took second place in the same category.

News North of Yellowknife won a first place award for its Opportunities North special section, and Darrell Greer of Nunavut News North won the first place prize in the Outstanding Columnist category.

Nunatsiaq News contributor Justin Nobel won second place in the CCNA's Best Photo Essay competition for "Kangiqsujuaq gets first bowhead in a century," a photo-feature on Nunavik's first legal bowhead hunt to be held in years.

At the Quebec Community Newspaper Association awards banquet, held the next night on May 15, Nunatsiaq News continued its winning ways.

Nobel's Kangiqsujuaq bowhead hunt piece won first place in the QCNA competition for Best Photo Essay.

And in the same category, Jane George's "The blooming beauties of Bathurst Inlet" took the third place prize.

Photographer Chris Windeyer and reporter Jane George combined their talents to take first place in the Best Feature Page category for "Nunavut's day of the seal," published March 21, 2008.

And editor Jim Bell won first place in the Best Editorial-Local Affairs category for "First Air bonus fiasco contains big lesson," published Dec. 12, 2008.

"The Nunatsiaq News editorial came out on top for the clarity of the writing, the clear, hard-hitting argument based on careful research, and the recognition of the wider implications of the issue, leading to a proposal for a solution," judge Enn Raudsepp, the former chair of Concordia University's journalism department, said in his comments.

Other awards won by Nunatsiaq News at the QCNA banquet are:

  • Best Website: (second place);
  • Best Business Feature: "Mary River: Baffin's mountain of opportunity," Arthur Johnson (second place);
  • Best Sports Story: "Stone thrower's Iqaluit legacy," Chris Windeyer (second place);
  • Best Municipal Affairs Story: "It's infrastructure crunch time in Iqaluit," Jim Bell (second place):
  • Best News Story: "Lyall family must wait for killer's sentencing," Chris Windeyer (second place); and,
  • Best Investigative Reporting: "First Air board pay themselves hefty bonuses," Jane George (third place.)

The Canadian Community Newspaper Association represents most English-language weekly papers and small-circulation dailies in Canada. The Quebec Community Newspaper Association represents most English-language newspapers that circulate in Quebec.

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