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Provincial, national acclaim for Yellowknifer

NNSL staff
Northern News Services
Published Friday, May 18, 2012

Yellowknifer was recognized six times at the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association awards in Calgary on May 5, not long after earning the Best Editorial Page Canada-wide.

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Yellowknifer was the best among all entries at this year's Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association awards for its editorial writing, editorial page design and content, trades and technology writing, and arts and culture writing.

In Calgary, Yellowknifer earned first place for Best Local Editorial, Best Editorial Page, Arts and Culture Writing and Trades Technology Writing as well as second place for Best Local News Story and third place for Best Feature Story by a Local Writer.

A few weeks earlier in Toronto, Yellowknifer garnered second place for Best Editorial Page and finished third for Best Multimedia Feature, which combined online and newspaper features to examine the prospect of a geothermal project as the backbone of a downtown district energy plan.

The Best Local Editorial, written by managing editor Bruce Valpy, focused on MLA-elect Daryl Dolynny's attempts to persuade the Business Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC) to dismiss a lawsuit seeking repayment of $100,000 from a loan to Aurora World Corporation, a defunct tourism business in which Dolynny was a partner. In return for absolving the loan, Dolynny offered to supply the BDIC with information that would be damaging to BDIC employee Bill Turner, who was engaged in a constitutional challenge against the GNWT over its hiring policy.

"Excellent editorial," the judges wrote, commending it for holding their rapt attention from the headline to the final sentence. They credited the opinion piece for drawing important distinctions between politics and business and for being "well thought out and complete."

The Trades Technology Writing Award - "Students practise the trades," by reporter Laura Busch - offered a good introduction to the trades, covered both genders and made good references to the opportunities made possible through trades, according to the judge.

Yellowknifer's reporting on a fatal Arctic Sunwest Twin Otter crash in Old Town last September "captures the enormity of the crash and a community's response to it," the judges wrote in giving it second place for Best Local News Story. In the story "Two die in plane crash," reporters Katherine Hudson and Nicole Veerman "delivered a thorough response to a significant breaking news story ... the reporters interviewed several sources and crafted a balanced and complete news story."

A feature story by reporter Galit Rodan titled "Coping after the loss of a baby" earned third place by presenting "with tenderness, the guilt, grief and persisting heartache about stillborn and miscarried children. The anguish, lasting a lifetime for many mothers - and the fathers too - is related by two women who founded a community support group for bereaved parents like themselves," the judge stated. Other Northern News Services' papers also fared well at both competitions. Nationally, Best News Story went to reporters Galit Rodan and Nicole Veerman for their NWT News/North coverage of the Arctic Sunwest Twin Otter crash, a follow-up story on the article that appeared in Yellowknifer days earlier. News/North also took home a blue ribbon, signifying general excellence.

Deh Cho Drum was number one for Best Front Page at the Canadian Community Newspaper Association awards, third place for Best Local Cartoon - drawn by the late Norm Muffitt - and also earned a blue ribbon.Hay River Hub was tops for Best Sports Page in its class at the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association awards. Inuvik Drum took second place for Arts and Culture Writing and third place for Best Trades Technology Writing in Calgary.

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