NNAs: Toronto Star wins five National Newspaper Awards
JOSH TAPPER STAFF REPORTER Published On Fri Apr 27 2012
A revelatory multimedia glance at Somalia’s crippling famine. A courageous investigation into abuse in Ontario long-term-care homes. An innovative graphic analysis of Toronto’s skyrocketing condo boom.
Those projects were among five awards won by the Star at the 63rd National Newspaper Awards gala, held Friday at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
Videographer Randy Risling, national security reporter Michelle Shephard and web designer James Ma won the multimedia feature category for a gripping series of on-the-ground stories and videos on Somalia. The award was Shephard’s third.
“Last year was a stellar year for the Star newsroom, and we’re thrilled to see our efforts reflected in five National Newspaper Awards, one of the highest honours in Canadian journalism,” said Star editor Michael Cooke. “Our winners show excellence across a broad spectrum of types of storytelling. We are immensely proud of their work and honoured to work alongside them.”
Since the NNAs began in 1949, the Star has won 129 awards.
Catherine Farley, Brian Hughes, Noor Javed, Joe Rubin and Nuri Ducassi took home the presentation award for their three-part, graphics-rich look at Toronto’s burgeoning skyline. Farley, who retired on Friday after a 20-year career on the Star’s graphics team, won her first NNA after being nominated four times.
Urban affairs reporter Daniel Dale, who won consecutive Edward Goff Penny Memorial Prizes in 2010 and 2011 as Canada’s best young journalist, won in the short features category for his first-person story about what happens when a stranger drops a toonie on the floor of a subway car.
A Star investigative team made up of Moira Welsh, Jesse McLean and Andrew Bailey nabbed the investigations category for its shocking exposé of widespread elder abuse inside this province’s nursing homes. The NNA is the second high-profile award won by McLean in 2012 after he won the Goff Penny Prize last month. Welsh and Bailey won NNAs in 2009 as part of a team investigation into workplace safety.
Susan Pigg won the beat reporting category for a series of stories on Canada’s aging society, including a heart-wrenching front-page article on gay men living in nursing homes and often forced back into the closet. Pigg also served more light-hearted fare with a story about being a mom learning to love Justin Bieber.
The Star received nine nominations in total. On Friday, Star reporters finished as runners-up in four categories: Steve Russell, in news photography, for a shot of the late Jack Layton after last year’s federal election results were announced; Tara Walton, in news feature photography, for a harrowing portrait of an elderly Alzheimer’s patient who had been sexually assaulted; Mary Ormsby, for an explanatory feature on the mechanics of Patrick Chan’s figure skating; and Jennifer Wells for a riveting 4,000-word profile of Peruvian miners who risk their lives working in the treacherous Rinconada mine.
Susan Clairmont of the Hamilton Spectator, a Star sister paper, won in the columns category. The Globe and Mail earned eight awards.
The Star’s Cooke stressed the importance of the daily efforts of journalists across the newsroom.
“The Star produces moving, important, groundbreaking journalism every day of the week,” he said.“Those stories may not always win awards, but they change the way the city functions, the way the nation sees itself, the conversations we have on our front porches. Our entire newsroom can take pride in that. Tomorrow, we’ll be back at it.”