TORONTO—While The Manitoulin Expositor is no stranger to the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) Betters Newspapers Competition podium, 2021 was definitely a banner year for the team. The Expositor was named a finalist in 10 categories, five of which earned the newspaper first place honours. The 10 awards are a record for The Expositor.
“This was among the most in province,” said Alicia McCutcheon, Expositor publisher and immediate past president of the OCNA. “I can’t begin to express how proud I am of the team. The scope of the awards we won showcases a well-rounded newspaper—from reporting, to graphic design to our website and online offerings, we were acknowledged across the board.”
Warren Schlote placed first out of 34 entries in the Best News Story category for his coverage of the tragic death of Ontario Provincial Police Constable Marc Hovingh. “This series of stories on the death of OPP Const. Marc Hovingh provided a complete, well-written explanation of the incident which led to his death, which occurred while he was responding to a complaint while on duty,” judge Frank Bucholtz writes. “The Expositor went far beyond that, also writing about his significant role in a tight-knit community. The newspaper also assisted his family in gathering information about him for a memorial album. All of this is local journalism at its best.”
The 20-page special section ‘Out of the Shadows: An in-depth look at Manitoulin’s opioid crisis,’ researched and written by Mr. Schlote, and published in June of last year, swept every category it was entered in, starting with Community Service.
“The Manitoulin Expositor’s entry was a standout in this category,” writes judge Penny Sakamoto. “The research and content written by reporter Warren Schlote is commendable and the end result of a 20-page special section and supporting print and digital articles provides a very thorough examination of the opioid crisis on Manitoulin Island. A few community news media organizations in Canada have published similar pieces and all OCNA members should follow The Manitoulin Expositor’s lead. Very well done.” This is the second consecutive year The Expositor has won top honours in this category.
‘Out of the Shadows’ also placed first in the Best Special Section category and for Best Online Special Initiative. Kudos for the special initiative category are shared among Mr. Schlote, webmaster Dave Patterson and photographer Giovanni Capriotti.
“The Manitoulin Expositor lives up to its name with this heartbreaking and enlightening investigation of the opioid epidemic devastating its community,” Best Online Special Initiative judge Matt Preprost comments. “The depth of research and storytelling by Warren Schlote is first class and the photography by Giovanni Capriotti to illustrate the story is superb. The digital presentation is exceptional. A must read. Outstanding work by all. Congratulations!”
The Expositor’s website Manitoulin.com placed first in the Best Website category, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Mr. Patterson, Expositor production manager and webmaster. “What a great website,” writes judge Pat Healey. “Love how only the article scrolls, while the weather and ads remain. This is a website design that other news websites should look to. Well done!”
In the Environment Ontario category, associate editor Michael Erskine placed second out of 56 entries for his June 30, 2021 story ‘Little Current Fish and Game Club introduces the 2021 fry harvest.’ “This is a good example of community journalism with an environmental focus,” writes judge and editor Moush John. “It gave us an outline of the issue/activity, stating its current status from what it was before.”
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Lori Thompson placed second out of 54 entries in the Best Police/Court Story or Series category for her series on police and mental health, which caught the attention of police associations across the province.
Manhattan/Manitoulin’s Bonnie Kogos also took second place in the Best Guest Column category for her piece reflecting on 9/11 25 years on. “A compelling and riveting account of being in New York during the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago,” judge John Arendt writes. “When I started reading this column, I couldn’t stop. The personal connections to this horrific event were what made the piece so captivating.”
The talented Kendra Edwards took a second-place finish for her full-page ad promotion for a Haw Pop barbecue fundraiser at Orr’s Valu-Mart and a third-place finish in the Best In-House Promotion category.