Postmedia journalists won five awards at the National Newspaper Awards on Friday, with a London Free Press reporter recognized as both the reporter of the year and the best local reporter.
The Ottawa Citizen reporters and photographers won three awards.
Randy Richmond of the Free Press was chosen as journalist of the year 2019 by a panel of three former National Newspaper Award recipients.
He also won the local reporting category for a story about how a police officer assaulted a woman while his fellow police officers stood next to him, and then “turned it all into a deceptive story about a dangerous suspect who had assaulted a officer”. The story was also a finalist in the category of investigative reports.
“The judges noted that extraordinary journalistic efforts over almost two years were necessary to shed light on the incident,” said the National Newspaper Awards. “This represents a clear public service, with the journalist as a watchdog.”
Richmond, who has worked for Postmedia News for 22 years, has won several national awards, including the Michener.
“It is strangely appropriate to celebrate the best of Canadian journalism in the midst of a pandemic,” said Lucinda Chodan, Senior Vice-President, Editorial, Postmedia. “This is a time when millions of Canadians are turning to print newspapers and news websites for credible information about COVID-19.”
“The ANN winners and nominees represent how good journalism can be.”
Julie Oliver, a photographer from the Ottawa Citizen who won the national award twice before, also received a victory for her background photo of three swimmers preparing for a swim in a nudist colony in cool summer weather.
Wayne Cuddington, also of the Citizen, won the news photo category for his photo of a woman with the police after a man was shot in the city’s Byward Market district.
Citizen’s Andrew Duffy won the William Southam Prize for a long story for his tale of passengers on a city bus that crashed, killing three and injuring 23. He was co-winner in the category surveys in 1996.
Unlike in previous years, there was no awards gala. Instead, they were announced via a webcast on Friday.
Postmedia, which owns Canada’s major daily newspapers, including the National Post, the Montreal Gazette and the Vancouver Sun, had many finalists among those vying for the awards.
In the sports category, Toronto photographer Sun Stan Behal was nominated for his iconic photo of Kawhi Leonard’s winning streak for the Toronto Raptors, a heartbeat before the ball enters. He has won this category twice before and the news photo category once.
But the award went to Toronto Star Rick Madonik for his picture of Raptor guard Kyle Lowry in game six of the same series.