Nunatsiaq News wins top prizes at Quebec community newspaper awards
Iqaluit reporter honoured with special award
Nunatsiaq News picked up an armful of awards on Saturday, June 8, at the annual Quebec Community Newspaper Association gala at the Hotel du Lac Carling in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge.
The newspaper was nominated for 15 awards this year.
“It’s a great honour to be recognized for outstanding journalism by our peers in the newspaper industry,” said Nunatsiaq News’ publisher, Michael Roberts.
“It takes a great team to create the best community newspaper website in Canada. It’s a credit to our superb editorial team, and our design, advertising and production staff. Thanks to all our engaged readers and advertisers for helping make this happen.”
Reporter Beth Brown was honoured this year with the Paul Dumont-Frenette Outstanding Journalism award, a special award of merit chosen by the judges after considering all written entries in a given year.
According to the QCNA, Brown’s work “was praised across the board by the judges.”
This was a bittersweet win for the paper, because Brown, who had worked at the newspaper for nearly two years, recently left to join Up Here magazine as an associate editor.
Brown received five nominations for her writing. She won the first prize in the following categories: best education story for her feature on the on-the-land education program offered by Nuna School in Apex, best municipal story for her story about Pangnirtung’s public pleas for help with youth wellness and addictions, and best community health story for her story about a role-playing computer game that’s being tailored to Inuit culture to help combat mental illness.
Brown’s story, with photographs, that captured Iqaluit coming together following a bowhead whale hunt was runner-up in the best feature story category.
Brown’s article about the ongoing controversies over how to best regulate Nunavut’s polar bear hunt placed third in the best environmental story category.
Here are the other awards handed out at the ceremony on June 8:
- The new Nunatsiaq News website, which launched last December, won the best website award from both the Quebec Community Newspaper Association and, earlier this year, the Canadian Community Newspaper Association.
- The newspaper’s editorial writer, Jim Bell, won for best editorial (local affairs) for his review of the federal government’s Nutrition North Canada food-subsidy program, entitled “It’s about nutrition, stupid”. This editorial also won first prize at the Canadian Community Awards in the paper’s circulation category.
- Bell’s story about how the Qikiqtani Inuit Association helped Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. overturn the advice of the Nunavut Impact Review Board to allow an increase in ore production was runner-up in the best business story category.
- And Bell’s story that details Baffinland’s future expansion plans was the runner-up in the best business feature category.
- Sarah Rogers took home the first prize for best feature series, for stories she wrote while covering hearings held in Nunavut by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Those include stories about how sexual abuse was at the root of a Nunavut woman’s death and how the hearings led to an unprecedented disclosure of abuse, as well as a look at efforts to encourage victims to speak up.
- Rogers’ story about how Iqaluit’s Tammaativvik boarding home stepped up security following the violent death of a patient staying at the centre was the runner-up in the best municipal story category.
- Former Iqaluit reporter Courtney Edgar won an investigative reporting award for her reporting on issues affecting Iqaluit’s homeless. That includes stories on a Nunavut family that pitched a tent at the legislature to protest hidden homelessness, a look at how the rules governing the public housing wait list remain murky to many, and the Nunavut Housing Corp.’s explanation of the hard choices it faces.
- Edgar’s story about Iqaluit’s new micro-brewery’s efforts to make its operations environmentally friendly won third place in the best business story category.
- Jane George’s story about Christmas memories from across the eastern Arctic placed third in the best feature story category.
- As well, Nunatsiaq News’ print edition was runner-up in the best front page category, for our Nov. 16, 2018, edition that shows black smoke billowing from Iqaluit’s Northmart store.
Nunatsiaq News has its origins in Inuksuk, a not-for-profit newspaper that was published between 1973 and 1975 in Iqaluit. Under the name Nunatsiaq News, the paper has served eastern Arctic communities in Nunavut and Nunavik since July 1975.
The Quebec Community Newspaper Association comprises English language and minority community newspapers circulating in Quebec, and its English and bilingual publications are distributed weekly, biweekly, monthly and daily to about 770,000 readers across the province.