Finalists announced for 2021 National Newspaper Awards

This includes two corrections to the original release. The Long Feature entry by Tori Marlan was published by Capital Daily, not the Fraser Valley Current. Thia James has been added to the Local Reporting entry submitted by the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.


To view this year’s finalists, click here.


TORONTO, March 18, 2022 – First-time nominations for three small news organizations based in Western Canada are among the highlights as finalists were announced for the 2021 National Newspaper Awards.

RMO Today is a finalist in two categories (Feature Photo and Local Reporting), while Glacier Media (Beat Reporting) and Capital Daily (Long Feature) are also finalists. The annual competition honours the best journalism from Canada’s daily newspapers as well as community papers and digital organizations that publish original content at least five days a week.

RMO Today, an online news site based in Canmore, Alta., covers the southern section of the Canadian Rockies. Glacier Media supplies news to daily and community papers in Western Canada. Capital Daily serves readers in the area around Greater Victoria.

Their entries are among 66 judged as the best work submitted in 22 categories. Finalists, representing 19 news organizations, were selected by three-judge panels in each category from a total of 869 entries submitted for work published in 2021.

Winners will be announced by webcast on Friday, May 6, at 7 p.m. ET. The 2021 Journalist of the Year, chosen from this year’s individual winners, will also be announced then.

The Globe and Mail has the most finalists with 21, in 16 categories. Other organizations with multiple finalists include:

  • La Presse with nine
  • The Toronto Star with eight on its own, plus one shared with the Halifax Chronicle Herald and one shared between the Star’s parent company, Torstar, and the National Observer
  • The Winnipeg Free Press and the Canadian Press with four each
  • The Halifax Chronicle Herald with three of its own, plus one shared with the Toronto Star
  • Le Devoir with three

Other highlights of this year’s nominations:

  • Grant Robertson of the Globe and Mail is a finalist for a 16th time
  • Bruce MacKinnon of the Halifax Chronicle Herald and Mark MacKinnon of the Globe and Mail are each finalists for a 13th time
  • Ian Brown of the Globe and Mail and Isabelle Hachey of La Presse are finalists for a 12th time
  • Magdaline Boutros of Le Devoir is a finalist in three categories: Beat Reporting, International and Sustained News Coverage
  • Kevin Donovan of the Toronto Star is also contending in three categories: Explanatory Work, Investigations and Sustained News Coverage
  • Ten individuals were each selected twice by judges:
    • Bernard Brault in Feature Photo (for an image published by the Globe and Mail), and Sports Photo (for an image published by La Presse)
    • Evan Buhler of RMO Today in Feature Photo and Local Reporting
    • Tom Cardoso of the Globe and Mail in Investigations and Politics
    • Joe Castaldo of the Globe and Mail in Business and Long Feature
    • Marcus Gee of the Globe and Mail in Short Feature and Sustained News Coverage.
    • David Milstead of the Globe and Mail in Investigations and Politics
    • Vanmala Subramaniam of the Globe and Mail in Business and Politics
    • Melissa Tait of the Globe and Mail with two of the three images named as finalists in Sports Photo
    • Ryan Thorpe of the Winnipeg Free Press in Investigations and Long Feature
    • Kelsey Wilson of the Toronto Star in Explanatory Work and Presentation/Design

This is the 73rd year for the awards program, and the 33rd under the current administrative structure. The awards were established by the Toronto Press Club in 1949 to encourage excellence and reward achievement in daily newspaper work in Canada. The competition is now open to newspapers, news agencies and online news sites approved for entry by the NNA Board of Governors.

Nine of the 22 category awards are named after important figures in the news industry. Two have names attached to an award for the first time this year. They are:

  • John Honderich Award for Project of the Year (sponsored by the Honderich family)
  • Mary Ann Shadd Cary Award for Columns

The other awards named after journalistic legends are:

  • George Brown Award for Investigations (sponsored by the Globe and Mail)
  • John Wesley Dafoe Award for Politics (sponsored by Ron Stern)
  • Cora Hind Award for Beat Reporting
  • Bob Levin Award for Short Feature (sponsored by the Globe and Mail)
  • Claude Ryan Award for Editorial Writing (sponsored by the Ryan family)
  • William Southam Award for Long Feature (sponsored by the Fisher, Bowen and Balfour families)
  • Norman Webster Award for International Reporting (sponsored by the Webster family)


Finalists in all categories:

Arts and Entertainment / Culture

  • Hugo Dumas, La Presse, for stories revealing that a successful TV producer had faked his own death seven years earlier
  • Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail, for three features about visual arts
  • Jen Zoratti, Winnipeg Free Press, for a profile of a third-generation Inuit artist


Cora Hind Award for Beat Reporting / Prix E. Cora Hind pour le Journalisme spécialisé

  • Sharon Kirkey, National Post, for reporting on a range of health-care issues
  • Stefan Labbé, Glacier Media, for reporting on climate change and the environment
  • Améli Pineda and Magdaline Boutros, Le Devoir, for reporting about domestic violence


Breaking News / Nouvelle de dernière heure

  • Malak Abas, Dean Pritchard and Paul Samyn, Winnipeg Free Press, for aggressive reporting about an incident in which a nurse was stabbed inside a hospital before a doctor prevented further carnage by launching himself into the attacker
  • A Globe and Mail team for thorough coverage of a deadly heatwave in British Columbia that provided not only intense details about the devastation, but important context about the role climate change played in it
  • A London Free Press team for in-depth reporting and hard-hitting commentary after a man drove his vehicle into an immigrant family out for a summer evening stroll, allegedly targeting them intentionally because of their Muslim faith


Breaking News Photo / Photo de nouvelle de dernière heure

  • Barry Gray, Hamilton Spectator, for an image depicting the moment when protesters, who had gathered to support Indigenous healing in the wake of Canada’s residential school scandal, toppled a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in a downtown park
  • Tim Krochak, Halifax Chronicle Herald, for his photo of an unusual takedown when police and emergency personnel ventured into a lake to capture a man who leapt into the weed-filled water and tried to swim away to avoid arrest
  • Chris Young, Canadian Press, for a photograph of police removing protesters during an operation to clear a homeless persons’ encampment near a downtown Toronto stadium


Business / Économie

  • Christine Dobby, Richard Warnica, Jacob Lorinc and Doug Smith, Toronto Star, for reports about the battle within the Rogers family for control of its business empire
  • Greg McArthur, Tim Kiladze, Joe Castaldo and Wendy Stueck, Globe and Mail, for investigating an investment firm accused of putting investors’ money at risk
  • Vanmala Subramaniam, Clare O’Hara, James Bradshaw and Jaren Kerr, Globe and Mail, for revealing little progress from companies that had publicly pledged to improve the diversity of their workforces and combat systemic racism


Mary Ann Shadd Cary Award for Columns / Prix Mary Ann Shadd Cary pour la Chronique

  • Andrew Coyne, Globe and Mail, for columns about the discovery of graves of Indigenous children who died at a residential school, freedom of speech, and the federal Conservatives’ election loss
  • Isabelle Hachey, La Presse, for columns on medical assistance in dying, the residential schools tragedy, and COVID-19
  • Karyn Pugliese, National Observer, for three columns responding to the discovery of unmarked graves of children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School


Editorial Cartooning / Caricature (portfolio)

  • Michael de Adder, Halifax Chronicle Herald/Toronto Star
  • Graeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator
  • Bruce MacKinnon, Halifax Chronicle Herald


Claude Ryan Award for Editorial Writing / Prix Claude Ryan pour l’Éditorial (portfolio)

  • David Ebner, Globe and Mail
  • Stéphanie Grammond, La Presse
  • John Roe, Waterloo Region Record


Explanatory Work / Texte explicatif

  • Kevin Donovan and Kelsey Wilson, Toronto Star, for an investigation into what happens to stolen cars, sparked by the theft of Donovan’s car from his driveway
  • Marie-Claude Malboeuf, La Presse, for exploring the disturbing reality that many Quebecers are being filmed, sometimes naked, without their knowledge
  • Tu Thanh Ha, Globe and Mail, for looking into how and why thousands of seniors died in care facilities early in the pandemic, and why Quebec was struck particularly hard


Feature Photo / Photo de reportage

  • Bernard Brault, Globe and Mail, for a photo depicting a visual artist who spent seven hours a day, six days a week, moving 50 tonnes of sand from one pile to another
  • Evan Buhler, RMO Today, for an ethereal image of a woman free-diving in the chilly winter waters of Lake Minnewanka in the Canadian Rockies
  • Jason Franson, Canadian Press, for a photograph of a man relaxing in cool water at Edmonton city hall as temperatures hit 37 Celsius


General News Photo / Photo d’actualité générale

  • Nathan Denette, Canadian Press, for a photo of a COVID-19 patient desperately gasping for air as he receives life-saving medical attention in a hospital intensive-care unit
  • Frank Gunn, Canadian Press, for capturing the moment when Michael Kovrig was reunited on a tarmac with his wife after being held captive in China for nearly three years
  • Martin Tremblay, La Presse, for an image that conveyed the scope of historic flooding in British Columbia


Norman Webster Award for International Reporting / Prix Norman Webster pour le Reportage à caractère international

  • Magdaline Boutros, Le Devoir, for a series of reports exploring the impact of 9/11 and the ensuing strife in Afghanistan on its neighbouring country, Pakistan
  • Mark MacKinnon, Globe and Mail, for a gripping account of the effort to rescue individuals who had worked for the newspaper, and their families, after the Taliban took control
  • Nathan VanderKlippe, Globe and Mail, for documenting the mistreatment, profiteering and international blackmail that have plagued millions of migrants desperate to enter the United States


George Brown Award for Investigations / Prix George Brown pour la Grande enquête

  • Kevin Donovan, Toronto Star, for investigating a heartbreaking cold case involving the mysterious death of a young toddler, and the police rush to pin the blame on his parents
  • Tavia Grant, Tom Cardoso, David Milstead, Globe and Mail, for digging deep into the assets of the Catholic Church, which had cited monetary constraints as a reason for not fulfilling its financial obligations to residential school survivors
  • Ryan Thorpe, Winnipeg Free Press, for an investigation into conditions inside Stony Mountain Institution, the only federal penitentiary in Manitoba


Local Reporting / Reportage à caractère local

  • Tanya Foubert, Evan Buhler and Greg Colgan, RMO Today, for a four-part series about traumatic and sometimes fatal incidents experienced by ski tourists in the Rockies, and the role mountain guides might have played in some of them
  • Andrew Rankin, Halifax Chronicle Herald, for exposing the serious damage done by a predatory professor, and how his university turned a blind eye to the issues for years
  • Zak Vescera, Matt Smith, Dave Breakenridge and Thia James, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, for a series exploring Saskatchewan’s overdose crisis and the systems of inequality that drive it


William Southam Award for Long Feature / Prix William Southam pour le Reportage élaboré

  • Joe Castaldo, Globe and Mail, for lifting the veil of secrecy on the online porn empire created by a Canadian company, MindGeek
  • Tori Marlan, Capital Daily, for delving into how a fugitive from U.S. justice managed to take control of a hotel that is both a local treasure and an internationally renowned destination
  • Ryan Thorpe, Winnipeg Free Press, for looking back at the first year of the pandemic, and setting out a road map to a better future


John Wesley Dafoe Award for Politics / Prix John Wesley Dafoe pour la Politique

  • Patrick Brethour, Tom Cardoso, David Milstead and Vanmala Subramaniam, Globe and Mail, for a series of stories revealing that billions of dollars from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy flowed to companies that were not in financial distress
  • Noor Javed, Steve Buist, Sheila Wang and Emma McIntosh of Torstar and National Observer, for stories that pulled back the curtain on the money and power pushing the Ontario government to build more highways and increase urban sprawl
  • Althia Raj, Toronto Star, for stories that offered an inside look at how the federal election was won by the Liberals, and lost by the Conservatives


Presentation/Design / Présentation/Conception graphique

  • Jeremy Agius, Globe and Mail, for an interactive, three-dimensional design highlighting the high vacancy rate in Calgary’s office towers
  • Judith Lachapelle, La Presse, for illustrating, in the style of a comic strip, issues arising from a plan to kill deer living – and jeopardizing plant biodiversity – in a large urban park
  • Nathan Pilla, Kelsey Wilson and Tania Pereira, Toronto Star, for an online presentation that used 3D modelling, animation, videos and photographs to tell the story of a terrifying blaze that brought a fire crew to its knees and changed the way Toronto fights high-rise fires


John Honderich Award for Project of the Year / Prix John Honderich pour le Projet de l’année

  • A Globe and Mail team for an in-depth examination of systemic inequality in northeast Brampton, which consistently registered Ontario’s highest rate of COVID-19 cases
  • A team from La Presse for turning their sights on an explosion of gun violence, much of it associated with young people, that has shaken Montreal
  • A Toronto Star team for turning a critical eye to how COVID-19 exposed pre-existing fault lines in society


Bob Levin Award for Short Feature / Prix Bob Levin pour le Reportage bref

  • Marcus Gee, Globe and Mail, for a story about the fate of a makeshift memorial to people who had died of drug overdoses and other dangers in Oshawa, Ont.
  • Mike Hager, Globe and Mail, for profiling a man whose minimum-wage job involves cleaning up excrement from thousands of crows that congregate at an office park in Burnaby, B.C.
  • John Mackie, Vancouver Sun/Province, for a piece about two former political foes, both of them quadriplegics using wheelchairs, who have become close friends


Sports / Sport

  • Joe Callaghan, Toronto Star, for features about Olympic swimmer Maggie Mac Neil, basketball star Kyle Lowry, and how Muhammad Ali’s iconic bout against George Chuvalo nearly six decades ago brought Ontario’s human rights code into focus
  • Alexandre Pratt, La Presse, for features about hockey player Jonathan Drouin’s battles with anxiety, the Olympic gold-medal victory of Canada’s women’s soccer team, and an enduring rivalry between two high-school teams
  • Grant Robertson and Rachel Brady, Globe and Mail, for an investigation that exposed a widespread problem inside Canada’s national team programs: eating disorders among athletes, and their connection to abuse, maltreatment and a sometimes-toxic environment


Sports Photo / Photo de sport

  • Bernard Brault, La Presse, for a photo of Canada’s national women’s soccer team racing to celebrate after the gold-medal-winning goal
  • Melissa Tait, Globe and Mail, for another image of the women’s soccer team celebrating the Olympic victory
  • Melissa Tait, Globe and Mail, for an artistic photo of Andre De Grasse sprinting past competitors in the Tokyo Olympics


Sustained News Coverage / Reportage soutenu

  • Magdaline Boutros and Ulysse Bergeron, Le Devoir, for deep and ongoing reporting about sexual and physical abuse perpetrated within the Catholic Church in Quebec, and efforts by congregations to make church funds inaccessible to victims seeking compensation
  • Kevin Donovan, Toronto Star, for relentless coverage of the investigation into the killing of billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman, and determined efforts to get police files opened up to public scrutiny
  • Andrea Woo, Marcus Gee, Ian Brown, Globe and Mail, for pursuing a health emergency that claimed thousands of lives in 2021 – Canada’s opioids crisis – even while the country was consumed with the battle against COVID-19


For more information, contact:

Paul Woods
Executive Director
National Newspaper Awards