The Yukon News dominated the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s 2014 Ma Murray Newspaper Awards on Saturday, taking home seven top prizes.
In what could well be a record, reporter Jesse Winter took home four first-place awards for his excellent writing and photography.
Winter won the award for best feature series for his reporting on the ongoing dispute over Vanier Catholic Secondary School’s same-sex policy. “It is a seamlessly presented story that’s ambitious and unflinching,” the judge wrote. “The series clearly illustrates the importance of media in forwarding community discussion and action on important and contentious public policy issues. A pleasure to read.”
Winter also won the arts writing award for “A brief history of typeface,” his story on Ben Barrett-Forrest’s animated video on the history of typography. “In the hands of a lesser writer this could have been just a ‘stunt piece,’” the judge wrote. “What we get is a creative and well-crafted story with just the right amount of whimsy.”
For photography, Winter won the photo essay award for “Down and out in Robert Service Campground,” a project in which he spent three weeks camping out with social assistance clients to document their struggles. “This work is worthy of any paper in Canada,” the judge wrote.
And Winter won best black-and-white feature photo award in our circulation class for his shot of a child playing on the beams of the S.S. Tutshi memorial in Carcross.
Al Pope won the award for best columnist, for his writing on subjects as diverse as the discrimination faced by gay people, in which he “deftly weaves history with current events to put the issue into perspective,” to a humorous take on the trouble of keeping chickens as pets.
Editor John Thompson won the top prize for best editorial, for “New meaning to low standards,” on the controversial re-election of Liard First Nation Chief Daniel Morris.
“It’s often much easier to turn a blind eye to politics and problems in minority communities because of the potential for accusations of racism,” the judge wrote. “But this editorial lays out the facts and history in vivid detail … of the recently elected chief. The writer also doesn’t skirt the issue of women’s groups who had failed to take a stand on the issue. This is powerful writing that makes a strong, unequivocal case.”
And Heidi Neufeld won the award for best classifieds section. “Clear, clean and concise,” the judges wrote. “Use of free word ads makes for a very healthy classifieds section and a high level of community engagement. Great work!”
Mike Thomas placed second for best sports photo, for a shot of a snowboarder flipping through the air, eclipsing the sun.
Jacqueline Ronson received a third-place award for arts writing, for “How to make a movie in two days,” her story on Moira Sauer’s successes in filmmaking.
And Mike Thomas and Aasman Brand Communications won a bronze prize for best website and online innovation.
The awards were presented on Saturday night at a gala in Richmond, B.C.
Last month, the newspaper won six top prizes at the Canadian Community Newspaper Awards.