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Annapolis County Spectator earns top awards at Halifax gala

Annapolis County Spectator Outstanding Editorial award and Outstanding News Story award as presented to editor Lawrence Powell and former reporter Heather Killen by Newspapers Atlantic.
Annapolis County Spectator Outstanding Editorial award and Outstanding News Story award as presented to editor Lawrence Powell and former reporter Heather Killen by Newspapers Atlantic.

HALIFAX - Former Annapolis County Spectator reporter Heather Killen’s stories on refugee sponsorship has earned her the Outstanding News Story of the Year award from Newspapers Atlantic.

The award was announced Saturday evening at Newspapers Atlantic’s annual conference and Better Newspapers Competition (BNC) awards evening held in Halifax.

Spectator editor Lawrence Powell received the Outstanding Editorial of the Year award for his opinion piece about the suicide death of Jackson Fowler of Kingston almost a year ago. That award is sponsored and presented by the law firm BoyneClarke.

“Lawrence Powell writes with righteous anger about how depression, and the toll it takes on those in its grip, is often ignored,” wrote the judges. “A bold move that if it were less skillfully handled risked alienating the reader. Fortunately Powell’s piece gets it right and should serve as a textbook example of how to chastise readers in a way that gets them to think rather than be angry about having their shortcomings pointed out to them.”

Killen wrote a series of stories, beginning in May of 2015, that followed the efforts by Annapolis County residents to bring Middle Eastern refugees to Middleton, Bridgetown, and Annapolis Royal.

“Heather Killen is a reporter who displays passion, competence, and enthusiasm for her subject,” said the judges. “A genuine interest in her community is apparent. The series is beautifully written, and a tribute to all the people she writes about. I also have no doubt it inspired many readers to welcome refugees to their community.”

The award was announced Saturday evening at Newspapers Atlantic’s annual conference and Better Newspapers Competition (BNC) awards evening held in Halifax.

Spectator editor Lawrence Powell received the Outstanding Editorial of the Year award for his opinion piece about the suicide death of Jackson Fowler of Kingston almost a year ago. That award is sponsored and presented by the law firm BoyneClarke.

“Lawrence Powell writes with righteous anger about how depression, and the toll it takes on those in its grip, is often ignored,” wrote the judges. “A bold move that if it were less skillfully handled risked alienating the reader. Fortunately Powell’s piece gets it right and should serve as a textbook example of how to chastise readers in a way that gets them to think rather than be angry about having their shortcomings pointed out to them.”

Killen wrote a series of stories, beginning in May of 2015, that followed the efforts by Annapolis County residents to bring Middle Eastern refugees to Middleton, Bridgetown, and Annapolis Royal.

“Heather Killen is a reporter who displays passion, competence, and enthusiasm for her subject,” said the judges. “A genuine interest in her community is apparent. The series is beautifully written, and a tribute to all the people she writes about. I also have no doubt it inspired many readers to welcome refugees to their community.”

Other Categories

Hants Journal editor Carole Morris-Underhill was a standing finalist in the Outstanding News Story category for her stories on a firefighting controversy in West Hants. Morris-Underhill also won the Outstanding Feature Photo award and was a standing finalist in the Outstanding Sports Photo, Outstanding News Photo, and Outstanding Sports Story categories. Ashley Thompson of the Kings County Advertiser was a standing finalist in the Outstanding News Photo category.

Killen and Kings County Advertiser reporter Wendy Elliott were standing finalists in the Outstanding Investigative Story category for a series of stories the pair wrote on mental health issues. Elliott was also a standing finalist in the Outstanding Local Columnist category.

“I’m so incredibly proud of all of the Nova Scotia Weekly papers and journalists, especially Lawrence Powell, Carole Morris-Underhill, and Heather Killen,” said managing editor Jennifer Vardy Little.

“All of our reporters and editors have amazing talent. They are so dedicated to delivering news to our communities. They work weekends and evenings, they do whatever needs to be done to chase a story down, and I’m thrilled their efforts were recognized by Newspapers Atlantic.”

 

General Excellence

The Hants Journal won the General Excellence Class 1 category, with the Digby County Courier a standing finalist. In General Excellence Class 2, the Kings County Advertiser took top honours. In General Excellence Class 3 (the highest circulation), the Yarmouth County Vanguard was first with the Kings County Register a standing finalist.

Michele White of the Hants Journal was a standing finalist in Outstanding Advertising Campaign and Outstanding Revenue Idea categories.

In the Outstanding Feature Story category Jennifer Vardy Little with the Kings County Advertiser and Tina Comeau with the Yarmouth County Vanguard were standing finalists. The Vanguard was a standing finalist in the Outstanding Special Section category for its annual Lobster Fishing Outlook edition.

The Kings County Advertiser and one of its reporters, Kirk Starratt, were finalists in the Outstanding Online Innovation category.

What’s Important

“In an industry full of change and challenges, what we see here tonight proves that we have not lost sight of what’s important. The communities we serve,” said Newspapers Atlantic president Fred Fiander in his president’s message.

“We would like to congratulate those who find their work mentioned here (awards book) as a winner or finalist. It is always exciting to see the caliber of work that comes through the BNC program each year,” he said. “It is a sound indication of the level of talent within our industry.”

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