The St. Albert Gazette was the toast of the Alberta Weekly Newspapers Association 2010 Awards of Excellence last weekend as both the newsroom and ad departments returned home with hardware.
Taking first place wins were co-editor Bryan Alary and reporter Kevin Ma. Alary, who has served previously as the Gazette’s city hall reporter, won the Best Local Editorial competition for his submission, ‘Council needs to keep spending in check,’ a warning for city council ahead of budget time to “get realistic about spending.”
“Bryan has always been passionate about municipal affairs and his editorial writing reflects that,” said co-editor Peter Boer.
Ma took top spot in the Excellence in Environmental Writing category for his piece, ‘The air up there.’ Ma put extensive hours in the feature by setting up air quality monitoring stations around St. Albert and analyzing and reporting the results. Prior to Ma’s story, there had been no comprehensive study of the city’s air quality.
“It was a story borne out Kevin’s own personal initiative and sheer determination,” Boer said.
Ma also took home second place for Best Trades and Technology Writing with a feature piece on a group of local high school students taking part in a culinary challenge at NAIT. Joining him for second place honours was Anna Borowiecki in the University of Alberta Writing Award for her piece on an exhibit at the institution that examined fashion and sustainability.
“Anna is an accomplished feature writer with a knack for finding the most interesting part of any story and raising it to the forefront,” Boer said.
In the best local news category, Cory Hare took second place for his dogged work in examining the controversy over the proposed Habitat for Humanity project at 70 Arlington Dr.
“Cory has been covering this issue since day one and has made sure our readers explore every single possible angle associated with it. His work has contributed significantly to the public debate about the project.”
Rounding out the individual awards was sports editor Jeff Hansen, winning third place in Excellence in Sports Writing for ‘Kennedy as good as gold.’
“Jeff Hansen is synonymous with sports in St. Albert,” said Boer.
The Gazette was also recognized in three other categories with the Green Guide, a taking first place for the Special Sections and Supplements Award while the revamped www.stalbertgazette.com took second-place honours. The paper’s production staff also received a third-place nod for its ‘Timeless’ work in the Excellence in Ad Campaigns category.
“From our sales staff to our production department and everyone in between, the Gazette is staffed with amazing and talented people,” said Boer.