Reporter Randy Turner of the Winnipeg Free Press was a winner in sports writing at the 2013 National Newspaper Awards in Charlottetown, P.E.I., on Friday night.
Turner was one of three members of the Winnipeg Free Press who were recognized for their extraordinary work at the national awards gala.
Turner, reporter Bill Redekop and columnist Gordon Sinclair Jr. were nominated for NNAs, which are considered Canada’s top print journalism awards.
Turner won for a series of stories in the sports writing category: unregulated hockey leagues for elite young players, the future of curling in rural Manitoba and the unhealthy habit of chewing tobacco by hockey players.
Turner is also a previous NNA winner, claiming an award in 2004 for his feature on Team Canada coach Brent Sutter and local players prior to the 2005 World Junior Hockey championship in Grand Forks.
"I’m just fortunate to work at a paper with such a solid commitment to long-form journalism and that I get more than my fair share of opportunities and time to develop them," said Turner, expressing thanks to associate editors Scott Gibbons and Julie Carl.
Editor Paul Samyn said all three of Turner’s features "captured all that sports journalism should offer the reader."
"He delivered solid reporting wrapped up with vivid story telling that captured competitive fire, intrigue and drama," Samyn said. "We are so proud of the work Randy did and the value he added to the understanding of two Manitoba passions: hockey and curling."
Redekop was nominated in the business writing category for a two-part series on the rise and fall of an Internet pharmacy business. His story detailed how three Manitobans turned the province into the Internet drug industry’s epicentre, before it all came crashing down.
Sinclair was nominated in the short feature category for his profile of 83-year-old Alexander "Sandy" Turnbull, who died in December 2013 after spending most of his life in care facilities.
Sinclair is one of the most recognized columnists in the country. Prior to tonight, he’s picked up two NNAs for columns in 1988 and 2007, and a third NNA as part of the Free Press team that covered the Flood of the Century in 1997.
"We are also proud of the recognition both Gordon Sinclair Jr. and Bill Redekop received for their outstanding work," Samyn said.
Ian Hitchen, a reporter with Free Press sister newspaper the Brandon Sun, was also nominated under the category of local reporting for his stories about allegations that children in an Old Order Mennonite community had been physically abused.
The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail each won five awards while Michele Ouimet of La Presse won two individual honours as the NNAs were handed out for the 65th time.
Ouimet won in the Columns category and shared top spot with La Presse colleague Agnes Gruda in the International category.
The Toronto Star’s five wins came for Project of the Year and Multimedia Feature (team entries), Arts and Entertainment (Linda Barnard), Explanatory Work (Amy Dempsey) and Long Feature (Don Gillmor).
The Globe and Mail’s wins came in Business (team entry), Beat Reporting (Dakshana Bascaramurty), Short Feature (Grant Robertson), Presentation (Jason Chiu) and News Feature Photo (Moe Doiron).
The Calgary Herald won two awards on its own - Breaking News (team entry) and Feature Photo (Leah Hennel) - and teamed up with the Edmonton Journal to win in the Investigations category (team entry). The Journal also won in the News Photo category (Shaughn Butts).
Single awards went to the Canadian Press (Politics), Edmonton Sun (Sports Photo), Halifax Chronicle-Herald (Editorial Cartooning), New Brunswick Telegraph Journal (Local Reporting), Waterloo Region Record (Editorials) and Winnipeg Free Press.
The winners were announced at an awards ceremony Friday night. Winners received cheques for $1,000 and a certificate of award. Other finalists received citations of merit.