Tuesday, 22 March 2011

NNA drought

Sun Media, Canada's largest newspaper chain, has barely been recognized in the 2010 National Newspaper Awards nominations announced Monday.

Same old, same old, probably due more to a lack of Sun Media/Quebecor interest and  financial support for awards applications than a lack of newsroom interest in the NNAs.

Two Sun Media exceptions for 2010 - the Belleville Intelligencer and the Sarnia Observer.

Congratulations to the Intelligencer's Luke Hendry, Brice McVicar, Jason Miller and Chris Malette, nominated in the category of local reporting for team coverage of the Russell Williams sex murder and assault spree.

Bill Glisky is one proud Intelligencer managing editor.

Tara Jeffrey
The Sarnia Observer's Tara Jeffrey is another Sun Media nominee for local reporting, getting the attention of judges with her her series of stories about mental health and a spate of teen suicides in Sarnia-Lambton last year.

"Everyone in the newsroom is very proud of Tara," says senior news editor George Mathewson.

At least three former Osprey/Sun Media employees now at other newspapers are nominated: Steve Ladurantaye, Tamsin McMahon and Jenn Pritchett

There are 72 finalists in 22 categories chosen from 1,472 entries submitted by news organizations across Canada. We have to wonder how many of the entries came from Sun Media newspapers.

Winners will be announced May 13 at the NNA banquet at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Winners receive 1,000 and a certificate of award. Runners-up receive citations of merit.

Leading the 62nd NNA finalists: Toronto Star, 16; Globe and Mail, 11; Montreal Gazette, seven; Canadian Press and La Presse, six each; National Post, the Journal in Saint John and the Winnipeg Free Press, three each; Hamilton Spectator, two.

Singles for the Belleville Intelligencer, Brandon Sun, Calgary Herald, Halifax Chronicle-Herald, Lethbridge Herald, Medicine Hat News, Moncton Times and Transcript, Nanaimo Daily News, Postmedia Network, Reuters, Sarnia Observer, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Province, Waterloo Region Record and Windsor Star.

All previous NNA winners since 1949 can be viewed here.

Previous Toronto Sun winners: Peter Worthington, Andy Donato, George Gross, Trent Frayne, Heather Mallick, Jean Sonmor, Yardley Jones.

And photographers Fred Thornhill, Michael Peake, Dave Abel, Tim McKenna, Veronica Milne, Stan Behal, Bill Sandford, Mike Cassese, Craig Robertson, Patrick McConnell.

Most of the photo awards were from back in the day when the front page ruled and the Sun's crack team of photographers answered the call almost daily.

The last NNA win for the Toronto Sun was 2008 for photographer Dave Abel.


  1. You got to pay to play. The Star and the Globe know that. Kudos to the small team that could at the Intel.

  2. Kudos to the even smaller team in Sarnia. Proof again that the smaller Sun Media properties still aim high in producing quality journalism!

  3. Our publisher wouldn't pay, so we couldn't enter.

  4. They waived the entry fee this year.

  5. The entry fee is only $25 for small papers (under 30,000 circ) $40 for larger ones.

    I think its kind of shortsighted of the company not to pay the fees, since netting some nominations would be something they could trumpet to the readers. But at the same time, if you had a piece of work you thought was NNA material, why not just pay the entry fee yourself?

    If you took the expected value of an NNA win, in terms of how it could aid you in landing a better job at a less stingy company or maybe getting a raise, and divided that by what you thought your odds are winning were, say 1 in 100, it would clearly be worth more than $40.

  6. Hard to do award-winning work when you're already pounding out four stories +smalls every day. It's not the money that's the problem, just the NNAs don't have a category for the best Investigative Paragraph, which is about all you can expect to get from most Sun papers these days.