National and regional honours for Nunavut News

by Casey Lessard- August 6, 2018

Nunavut News was a top achiever in the national and regional newspaper awards competitions this year, earning nine top-three Canadian Community Newspaper Awards (CCNAs) and eight top-three awards from the Ontario Community Newspaper Association (Nunavut News is the only non-Ontario newspaper in the OCNA).

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Michele LeTourneau’s coverage of Bill 37 won the top community newspaper reporting prize in Canada.

Reporter Michele LeTourneau earned the top national reporting award for papers under 10,000 circulation for her ongoing coverage of proposed changes to education legislation, Bill 37, which ultimately failed to pass in the legislature.

“It is difficult to imagine an issue more central to a community than its language and culture,” the judge wrote. “The writing was clear and concise without leaving any important angle uncovered. Excellent job.”

Editor Casey Lessard’s editorial on the subject, “Kill the bill, save the culture” won the top national prize for local editorial in the 4,000 to 12,499 circulation category and second place in Ontario for best editorial under 10,000 circulation.

“A well-written and passionate editorial about (what I’m sure is) a very touchy subject in Nunavut,” the CCNA judge wrote. “The writer presented the problem clearly and offered a solution. Bravo.”

“Fearless editorials should have an emphatic opening,” OCNA judge Joe Banks wrote, “and (Lessard) doesn’t mince words from the beginning … such words … are frank and provocative, two ingredients in a great piece of commentary.”

LeTourneau’s series “Search for peace”, which sought to share the stories of those who lost loved ones to tuberculosis sanitoriums, won first prize in Canada for historical story, first prize in Ontario for feature series and third prize in Canada for feature series.

“This search for history is history in itself,” wrote the judge of the historical story category.

“(LeTourneau) weaves historical data into the stories of the people who are still, today, affected by the repercussions of government decisions and the healthcare tragedy,” wrote the CCNA feature series judge. “Although the subject has been written about repeatedly, she reminds readers why it’s a story we can’t stop telling.”

Cambridge Bay contributor Navalik Tologanak’s coverage of the Somebody’s Daughter workshop in Rankin Inlet earned praise from OCNA judge Joyce Webster, who gave her photo layout third place in Ontario. The spread contained “superb story telling in photos,” Webster wrote.

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John McFadden’s coverage of Clyde River’s “Seismic victory” at the Supreme Court of Canada earned five top-three awards.

John McFadden’s coverage of Clyde River’s win at the Supreme Court, “Seismic victory”, yielded five top-three awards, including first prize in Ontario and second place in Canada for environmental writing, second place in Canada for business writing, second place in Ontario for news story (circulation under 10,000), and third place in Ontario for front page.

Judge Jim Mosher called the coverage “strongly written and well researched.”

“What a front page!” OCNA judge Lily Ryan wrote. “The photo speaks for a community’s victory.”

“It captures the emotion, triumph and frustration of those involved,” wrote one CCNA judge.

“Interesting and important story,” wrote judge Jennifer Thuncer.

Reporter Derek Neary’s story about the daring rescue of an American tourist by Resolute’s Samson Simeonie earned second place in Ontario for feature writing.

“This was an absolutely thrilling read!” judge Jackie Jardine wrote. “Derek Neary’s story captured the drama of the event beautifully.”

Casey Lessard earned second place in Canada (circulation under 10,000) for national editorial for “Haze shrouds cannabis fight over treatment”.

“Strong and contemporary approach to writing and dealing with an important subject. Reasoned approach, logical and argument provides leadership,” the CCNA judge wrote.

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Casey Lessard’s photo of a six-plex on fire earned third place in Canada for spot news photography.

Lessard also earned third place in Canada (4,000 to 12,499) for spot news photography for his “compelling and beautiful” cover photo of a fire that destroyed a six-plex in Iqaluit and left 21 homeless.

The Nunavut News print edition was named second best in Ontario for general excellence (3,500 to 6,499 circulation). Judges Chris Clegg, Emily Distephano and Kevin Weedmark said the paper’s “great mix of hard news and features … (make) it a must read in their community.”
The newspaper was named third best in Canada (4,000 to 12,499) for its “straightforward, easy-to-browse design” and “solid content and storytelling,” the judge wrote.

The OCNAs were presented at a ceremony in Toronto in May, and the CCNAs were announced in July.

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