2023 Canadian Community Newspaper Awards

Premier Awards - Best Feature Story ( Circulation 4000 to 6499,Circulation 6500 to 9999,Circulation 10000 to 12499) Back

  • Place Name: First Place
    Contestant Name: Manitoulin Expositor (Manitoulin Island, ON)
    Entry Title: On Valentine’s Day, Mindemoya couple ended their lives together
    Entry Credit: Michael Erskine
    Judge Comment: Compelling features need compelling personal stories and you don't get more compelling than a couple married for 73 years who choose to die together on Valentine's Day. Michael Erskine chose to tell the tale in chronological fashion, straightforwardly giving the facts about the couple's relationship in a way that made their decision to die together understandable to any reader. Erskine avoids the temptation to be overly dramatic or sentimental, and explains the MAID process through the experience of Donna and Jim Nevills. It's a heart-tugging story told well.
  • Place Name: Second Place
    Contestant Name: The Eastern Graphic (Montague, PE)
    Entry Title: Who will apologize to Jason Sark?
    Entry Credit: Paul MacNeill
    Judge Comment: Paul MacNeill tells a story the justice system was content to leave in the dark, of Jason Sark, who was wrongly sent back to prison after a sentence appeal he knew nothing about. This is a well-researched and well-written feature that tells a story that needed to be told. -- of a miscarriage of justice that wrongly put an Indigenous man back in jail and derailed his efforts at rehabilitation. MacNeill tells the story warts and all, so readers get a real picture of who the victim is, but also what impact the justice system's mistake had. MacNeill's work led to a first-ever apology from a provincial cabinet minister to an Indigenous person for a mistreatment by the justice system in in Prince Edward Island. It's journalism at its finest, telling a story of someone mistreated and forgotten by the system and holding the system to account.
  • Place Name: Third Place
    Contestant Name: Pique Newsmagazine (Whistler & Pemberton, BC)
    Entry Title: From the Sea to Sky to Kharkiv, a ray of hope
    Entry Credit: Brandon Barrett
    Judge Comment: It's hard to tell the story of the impact of the Ukraine war on a British Columbia community. But Brandon Barrett found the perfect way to do so, writing about the many efforts of Dasha Axelsson to help people in her birthplace of Kharkiv. She felt compelled to help a city from her distant past when it was invaded by Russia and took on urgency as a place of people in immediate need. Barrett recounts in detail how Axelsson became more and more involved and connected with people helping on the ground in the Ukraine. The story explains the impact of the conflict and is well illustrated with photos from the Ukraine of people being helped there. It uses the efforts of a local woman to tell the bigger story, a great example of connecting local readers with an international conflict.
  • Competition Comment: This was a remarkably difficult category to judge because of the high quality of entrants across the board. It was impressive to see how many in-depth features are being done related to news stories to give readers background and angles they would not get from breaking news -- the involvement of local people in world events, detailed explanations of organizations and events, local angles to national stories, original investigative work relevant to local communities and compelling personal stories of the people behind the headlines. It shows community papers are doing their job well, going beyond the headlines to provide the kind of journalism that readers can't get elsewhere to help understand what is really going on in their communities.