What a night it was for the Town Crier and its sister publications Toronto Today and Vaughan Today as the publications received a personal best 10 awards in seven different categories at the annual Ontario Community Newspapers Association Better Newspapers Awards.
Leading the pack was copy editor Shawn Star who took home first place in the Arts & Entertainment writing category for a story he did in Vaughan Today on guitarist Dom Polito[/url] who relearned the instrument after an accident destroyed two fingers on his right hand. Judge Chris Foulds[/url] praised Star’s story as much for its community nature as for the quality of the work.
“Star’s writing is refreshingly straightforward without edging into treacly territory,” Foulds wrote. “This is a fine profile of an everyman who has accomplished much in the face of a daunting obstacle.”
Taking Columnist of the Year honours was former Town Crier sports editor Brian Baker, who won for his Game Fixer[/url] column in Toronto Today. The three submissions, which discussed local sporting issues, were described as “persuasive, colourful and smartly written,” by judge Julie McCann.
“Whether he is writing about a misunderstood ad campaign or street hockey bylaws gone wrong, he owns his material — and his reader.”
The most productive category of the night for the Town Crier was Health & Wellness where stories from our Kids & Families section captured first and third places along with an honourable mention.
In top spot was an article “Time for that talk” written by former intern Sharon Ko. The piece discusses tips and tricks on how to talk to your kids about sex. Judge Kevin Higgins wrote highly both of Ko’s interview choices and the layout and design of the story by editorial art director Shadi Raoufi.
Another former intern, Alima Hotakie, took third for her story “Living life in the raw — one bite at a time.” The feature focused on the ins and outs of living on a raw food diet, which Higgins noted as being a “healthy eating option that not many know about.”
Receiving an honourable mention for her work is freelancer Susan Wakefield for her article “Through the hard times,” which discusses how to deal with bereavement and loss.
The tradition of being recognized for online excellence continued with a first and a third place in the member-judged Surfer’s Selection category. Toronto Today’s website[/url] was top of the heap earning 31 total points based on the number of votes cast, 14 points higher than its nearest rival. Vaughan Today’s site[/url] placed third with 13 points.
A story from our Leaside Today guide written by former Town Crier reporter Joshua Freeman was awarded third place in the Business & Finance category. Freeman’s piece “Laird’s new vibe” looks at how the face of Laird Drive has changed since the introduction of major commercial developments to the strip. Judge Rick Volman lauded Freeman for his rare strength of focus in the complex article.
“(Freeman) allowed each voice to tell their part of the story without tripping over one another.”
Like Higgins, Volman also praised Raoufi’s design.
“What honestly sealed the deal, though, the use of a magazine-styled layout by the publisher,” he wrote. “The layout was crisp, clean and arty enough to make the story stand barely above the fray.”
An honourable mention went to reporter Omar Mosleh in the Feature Writing category for his Vaughan Today story “Finding peace in the village[/url]” about the struggles the local Ahmadiyya Muslim community has had to overcome, both locally and across the world.
Another honourable mention was awarded to former City Hall Bureau chief Kris Scheuer in the Education Writing category for an article called “How much is too much?” which discussed finding the right amount of homework that kids should do to retain and build upon what they’ve learned in class.
Congratulations to all the reporters, photographers, designers and editors who helped to uphold the tradition of journalistic excellence for which the Town Crier is known across the province.
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