CANADA—Your community newspaper has a few more accolades under its belt, this time on a national stage.
Last week News Media Canada announced the winners of the Canadian Community Newspapers Awards for the year 2020 and 2021. The Manitoulin Expositor nabbed a first place and second place finish in both years.
One of the most prestigious awards a newspaper can claim is Best News Story, and The Expositor’s Warren Schlote, now a freelancer, took this honour for the November 2020 front page story ‘PC Hovingh fatally shot while responding to property dispute near Gore Bay’s East Bluff.’ Second and third place honours both went to The Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal in Ashcroft, BC.
The Expositor took second place for Best Local Civic Journalism for its special supplement and corresponding web page ‘Out of the Shadows: An in-depth look at Manitoulin’s opioid crisis.’ This distinction also went to Mr. Schlote. First place in this category went to the Rocky Mountain Outlook in Alberta and third to Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News in BC.
In 2021, associate editor Michael Erskine took first place in the Best Agricultural Story category for his front-page story ‘Neighbours’ dispute in Green Bay area brings focus to rural ‘right to farm’ debate.’ Second place went to The Lake Report in Niagara-on-the—Lake and third to Nanaimo News Bulletin in BC.
The Expositor also received a second-place nod for Best Feature Photo for Aaron Case’s front-page photo ‘Night Bite’ which showed a dazzling sunset over Pike Lake as a fisherman jigs for walleye.
“Congratulations to Warren, Mike and Aaron on these important awards,” said Expositor Publisher Alicia McCutcheon. “The stories Warren and Mike were tasked with reporting on were both heady subjects, for very different reasons, obviously, but topics that were incredibly important to share.”
“I once attended a newspaper editors convention in Durango, Colorado where we talked about significant events that happened in our small communities that attracted national attention,” Ms. McCutcheon continued. “That always sat with me. Constable Marc Hovingh’s tragic death was one of those circumstances. I remember sharing with Warren the knowledge I took from that Colorado conference—it is up to us to do this story better than anyone else. It is this community’s story to tell and that’s our job. Warren rose to the challenge, filling the entire front page with stories that shared the sad news, but also the rich life that was Constable Hovingh’s. It is nice to have this work acknowledged on a national scale. Well done again, Warren.”
“The story which garnered a first-place finish for Mike was an important one for Manitoulin’s agricultural community,” Ms. McCutcheon added. “It was a touchy subject as the parties involved were most definitely at odds. A big congratulations to Mike on this award.”
“It was nice to see ‘Out of the Shadows’ recognized on a national stage,” the publisher said of the supplement’s second place finish. “We are incredibly proud of this significant body of work and again, congratulations, Warren.”
Ms. McCutcheon also thanked Mr. Case for sharing his submission to the paper. “I recall at that time the sunsets were spectacular. Unfortunately, it was because of the wildfires raging in California. Nonetheless it was a beautiful shot and highlighted how lucky we are to live in such a place at any time of the year. Well done, Aaron.”