Free Press columnists nominated for top awards


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Winnipeg Free Press humour columnist Doug Speirs and sports columnist Randy Turner have earned National Newspaper Award nominations.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/03/2009 (5125 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg Free Press humour columnist Doug Speirs and sports columnist Randy Turner have earned National Newspaper Award nominations.

Doug Speirs was nominated Thursday in the columnist category for a series of columns he penned in 2008, including a piece on waiting in line at Tim Hortons.

Sports columnist Randy Turner was nominated for his coverage of the Beijing Olympics and for The Killing Fields, a candid look at the physical toll football takes on CFL players.

The NNAs are Canadian journalism’s most prestigious awards. Sixty-six nominees in 22 categories were announced Thursday, with the Globe and Mail leading the pack with 13 nods.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony May 22 in Montreal.

"I’m really happy for Randy and Doug," said Free Press Editor Margo Goodhand. "They make it look easy, but they’re both gifted writers and they deserve to be recognized."

Turner, who won an NNA in 2004, said he owes a debt of gratitude to Winnipeg Blue Bombers CEO Lyle Bauer and former Bomber Glen Scrivener, who helped put a face on the issue. He’s also indebted to Debbie Benjamin, the widow of former Bomber offensive lineman Nick Benjamin.

"Her blunt honesty really drove home the physical cost many football players pay long after their careers are over," Turner said. "Hopefully, in shedding light on the statistics, there will, in the future, be more of an effort by those in the game — doctors, players, therapists, management — to not just delve into dangers such as weight gain, head trauma and stress and playing injured, but look at them for what they are: a cocktail for shortened life expectancy."

Goodhand said Turner’s feature prompted dozens of letters and emails from readers who said it was one of the best features the Free Press had ever run.

Speirs, who began writing the paper’s humour column three years ago, said he was totally stunned by the nomination.

"I never thought this would happen in a million years, but I couldn’t be more delighted," he said. "The kind of weird stuff that I write, I always thought that would be the last thing to get nominated, but maybe during a depression we need stupid stuff like this."

Besides the Tim Hortons column, Speirs earned a nod for an open letter he penned to International Olympic Committee president Jacque Rogge, and a humorous guide to the federal election, Another helping of politics? No, I’m stuffed.

"Doug’s columns are welcome relief some days when the news is unrelentingly grim," Goodhand said.

Other notable nominees include Stephanie Nolen of the Globe and Mail, who was nominated for the sixth straight time in the international reporting category, and the Canadian Press’s Jim Bronskill and Sue Bailey for their investigation of stun-gun use.

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