Finalists announced for the 71st National Newspaper Awards

Finalists announced for the 71st National Newspaper Awards


TORONTO, March 18, 2020 – Geoffrey York and Melissa Tait of the Globe and Mail lead the way in nominations for the 2019 National Newspaper Awards, with three each.

York, winner of two previous NNAs among six previous nominations, is a finalist in two categories this year. He is nominated twice for the Norman Webster Award for International Reporting, and is also a finalist (for a joint entry with two Globe and Mail colleagues) in the Business category.

Tait, a finalist in the 2018 competition, is nominated in three categories this year: Breaking News Photo, Breaking News (as part of a four-person Globe and Mail submission) and Explanatory Work (with Globe colleague Renata D’Aliesio).

The Globe and Mail has the most finalists with 19, including all three in the International category, two in the Politics category and two in the Explanatory Work category. Other organizations with multiple finalists are:

  • La Presse with 10 (including a joint submission with the Toronto Star)
  • The Toronto Star with seven (including the joint submission with La Presse)
  • The Ottawa Citizen and the London Free Press with four each
  • The Canadian Press and the Winnipeg Free Press with three each
  • The Calgary Herald, Le Devoir and the Halifax Chronicle Herald with two each

There are 63 finalists from 19 organizations in 21 categories. Finalists were selected by three-judge panels in each category from 774 entries submitted for work published in 2019. Winners will be announced next month. The 2019 Journalist of the Year, chosen from among this year’s winners, will also be announced then.

This is the 71st year for the awards program, and the 31st 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 daily newspapers, news agencies and online news sites approved for entry by the NNA Board of Governors.


Thanks to donations from sponsors, seven of the 21 category awards are now named after important figures in the news industry. They 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 (sponsored by the Nellie McClung Heritage Site)
  • 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 Southam family)
  • Norman Webster Award for International Reporting (sponsored by the Webster family)


Other highlights of this year’s finalists:

  • Five individuals are each up for two awards. Renata D’Aliesio of the Globe and Mail is nominated in Explanatory Work (with Melissa Tait) and Breaking News (with three colleagues). Katia Gagnon of La Presse is a finalist in Investigations and (along with two La Presse colleagues and two Toronto Star journalists) is part of a joint entry in the Business category. Ariane Lacoursière of La Presse is nominated in Beat Reporting and (with two colleagues) in Breaking News. Matthew McClearn of the Globe and Mail is a finalist in Business (with two colleagues) and Explanatory Work (with one colleague). Randy Richmond of the London Free Press is a finalist in Investigations as well as Local Reporting.
  • The Editorial Cartooning category features three of the most-honoured individuals in NNA history. Each has won seven NNAs for Cartooning. Brian Gable of the Globe and Mail is a finalist for the 18th time; Serge Chapleau of La Presse is nominated for the 15th time; and Bruce MacKinnon of the Halifax Chronicle Herald is a finalist for the 12th The winner of this category will tie the all-time record of eight individual NNAs, held by Jacquie McNish.
  • Another finalist could also tie that record. Seven-time winner Stephanie Nolen of the Globe and Mail is a finalist for the 17th time, this year in the Business category for a joint entry with Geoffrey York and Matthew McClearn.
  • Grant Robertson of the Globe and Mail is a finalist for the 13th time, in the Explanatory Work category (with Matthew McClearn).
  • Steve Buist of the Hamilton Spectator and Isabelle Hachey of La Presse are each finalists for the ninth time. Buist is part of a four-person Spectator entry in the Politics category, while Hachey is nominated in the Columns category.
  • Sean Fine of the Globe and Mail is a finalist for the eighth time, for an entry with three colleagues in the Politics category.
  • David Bruser of the Toronto Star, Daniel Leblanc of the Globe and Mail and Melissa Martin of the Winnipeg Free Press are each nominated for a seventh time.
  • Stan Behal of the Toronto Sun, Steven Chase of the Globe and Mail, Randy Richmond of the London Free Press (a finalist in two categories this year) and Andrew Vaughan of the Canadian Press have their sixth lifetime nominations.
  • Darryl Dyck of the Canadian Press and Derek Ruttan of the London Free Press are finalists for the fifth time.
  • The St. Albert Gazette received a nomination (for Dan Riedlhuber in the Feature Photo category) in its first year of eligibility.


Finalists in all categories:


Arts and Entertainment

  • Erin Lebar, Winnipeg Free Press, for a revealing portrait of Begonia, an emerging artist from the city’s music scene.
  • Marsha Lederman, Globe and Mail, for a meditation on art and climate change, and a feature about Margaret Atwood’s frenzied activity after the death of her life partner.
  • Kevin Mitchell, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, for a two-part series on the joys and tribulations of being a vinyl record collector.


Beat Reporting (E. Cora Hind Award)

  • Kelly Grant, Globe and Mail, for reporting she did on pharmacare and medically assisted dying as part of her health beat coverage.
  • Ariane Lacoursière, La Presse, for exclusive and in-depth stories related to the health-care system.
  • Alanna Smith, Calgary Herald, for a package of stories showcasing her work covering domestic violence.


Breaking News

  • Renata D’Aliesio, Melissa Tait, Ian Bailey and Andrea Woo, Globe and Mail, for coverage of the sudden end to a weeks-long search for two teenagers suspected of killing three individuals in British Columbia.
  • A team of Ottawa Citizen journalists for coverage of the crash of a double-decker bus packed with commuters into a steel awning at a transit station, killing three passengers and injuring 23 others.
  • Thomas Dufour, Audrey Ruel-Manseau and Ariane Lacoursière, La Presse, for reporting on the death of a runner in a marathon race, the lengthy wait before emergency services arrived, and the race-planning problems that contributed to the death.


Breaking News Photo

  • Wayne Cuddington, Ottawa Citizen, for a photo of a distraught woman being attended to by a police officer after a man was gunned down in the city’s Byward Market.
  • Derek Ruttan, London Free Press, for a photograph showing police officers confronting a man armed with a large hunting knife.
  • Melissa Tait, Globe and Mail, for capturing the image of a casket, carrying the body of a young man who had been the subject of a weeks-long search, as it was loaded into an RCMP plane in rural Manitoba.



  • Danielle Bochove, Bloomberg News, for stories about the changing nature of automotive work and the way climate change stands to unlock vast natural resources in Canada’s far North.
  • Geoffrey York, Matthew McClearn and Stephanie Nolen, Globe and Mail, for an in-depth investigation into the lending practices and other activities of Export Development Canada.
  • Jesse McLean and David Bruser, Toronto Star, and Marie-Eve Fournier, Katia Gagnon and Stéphanie Grammond, La Presse, for a joint investigation revealing that one in five Canadians who file for bankruptcy are doing it for at least the second time.



  • Isabelle Hachey, La Presse, for columns about a controversial doctor/politician, the misfortunes of a traditional village storyteller, and the injustice caused by the reform of an immigration program.
  • Edward Keenan, Toronto Star, for columns about life, and politics, in Canada’s biggest city.
  • Melissa Martin, Winnipeg Free Press, for two columns related to missing and murdered indigenous women, and a deeply personal reflection that emerged from a horrifying experience of turbulence while flying home from Japan.


Editorial Cartooning (portfolio of five cartoons)

  • Serge Chapleau, La Presse
  • Brian Gable, Globe and Mail
  • Bruce MacKinnon, Halifax Chronicle Herald


Editorials (Claude Ryan Award)

  • Marie-Andrée Chouinard, Le Devoir, for editorials about the École Polytechnique tragedy, a massacre in Christchurch, N.Z., and an author who openly advocated pedophilia.
  • Paul Journet, La Presse, for editorials on federal election spending promises, the pragmatic way young people view environmental issues, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “blackface” scandal.
  • Peter Scowen, Globe and Mail, for editorials about the fire at Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, the need for healthy and sustained diversity, and pending changes to the law on medically assisted death.


Explanatory Work

  • Renata D’Aliesio and Melissa Tait, Globe and Mail, for reporting that showed how close the RCMP came to pulling out of the area around Gillam, Man., without finding two fugitives, and the essential role a Cree trapper played in ending the search.
  • Grant Robertson and Matthew McClearn, Globe and Mail, for explaining why unexploded ordnance – bombs, mortars and other munitions used during training exercises, and never detonated – has become one of the biggest financial concerns hanging over the Department of National Defence.
  • Daphné Cameron et Martin Tremblay, La Presse, for revealing how science, policy and agricultural practice work together to boost pesticides to dangerous levels, and why regulations about this aren’t enforced.


Feature Photo

  • Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press, for the image of a young boy silhouetted while swimming in a glass bottom pool 60 metres above street level at a condo tower in Vancouver.
  • Julie Oliver, Ottawa Citizen, for a photo of three campers braving chilly summer weather to take a dip at a nudist colony.
  • Dan Riedlhuber, St. Albert Gazette, for an image of a seven-year-old crashing into a curb and spinning during a soapbox derby.


General News Photo

  • Jacques Nadeau, Le Devoir, for his photo of a man being apprehended during a climate protest.
  • Francisco Proner, Globe and Mail, for an image, shot by drone, showing a car trapped in a sea of mud and mining detritus after a dam burst in Brazil.
  • Andrew Vaughan, Canadian Press, for a picture of a man watching the impact of Hurricane Dorian along the Halifax harbour.


International (Norman Webster Award)

  • Nathan VanderKlippe, Globe and Mail, for travelling across Asia to uncover deeply personal accounts of persecution faced by Uyghurs, Kashmiris and Rohingya.
  • Geoffrey York, Globe and Mail, for stories on the emerging conflicts between China and the United States playing out in the African country of Djibouti.
  • Geoffrey York, Globe and Mail, for stories exposing the realities of Sudan, a heavily militarized dictatorship and one of the world’s most difficult countries to penetrate and understand.


Investigations (George Brown Award)

  • Katia Gagnon, La Presse, for a shocking exposé of medical errors that caused the deaths of 200 elderly or vulnerable Quebecers.
  • Randy Richmond, London Free Press, for a series exposing how a police officer punched, kicked, stomped and choked a woman, how his fellow officers failed to stop the abuse, and how police spun it all into a misleading story about a dangerous suspect who had assaulted an officer.
  • Kathy Tomlinson, Globe and Mail, for revealing astonishing and brazen exploitation in the immigration industry that has allowed unscrupulous recruiters, consultants and employers to make fortunes off newcomers while governments and regulators look the other way.


Local Reporting

  • Aaron Beswick, Halifax Chronicle Herald, for a series that addressed the environmental, economic and political considerations facing the Nova Scotia government in deciding whether to shut down a pulp mill that had been polluting for decades but gave well-paid jobs to hundreds of people.
  • Nick Dunne, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, for digging into the mostly untold story of code talkers’ assistance for the allies in the Second World War, an effort that evolved into a broader consideration of the Mohawk language.
  • Randy Richmond, London Free Press, for a series exposing how a police officer punched, kicked, stomped and choked a woman, how his fellow officers failed to stop the abuse, and how police spun it all into a misleading story about a dangerous suspect who had assaulted an officer.


Long Feature (William Southam Award)

  • Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen, for “Six on a Bus,” a gripping narrative about the harrowing experience of passengers on a city bus that smashed into an awning in a crash that left three people dead and 23 injured.
  • Sammy Hudes, Calgary Herald, for a feature recounting the complicated journey to recovery experienced by a hockey player left paralyzed after the deadly crash of the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus.
  • Ryan Thorpe, Winnipeg Free Press, for documenting the sorrow and despair largely hidden from most Winnipeggers who speed past a neighbourhood that appears to be ground zero for the city’s street drugs and gang violence.


Politics (John Wesley Dafoe Award)

  • Robert Fife, Steven Chase, Sean Fine and Daniel Leblanc, Globe and Mail, for breaking the news that the Prime Minister’s Office had pressured the justice minister to abandon prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, and a series of followup reports as the ensuing scandal grew.
  • A Globe and Mail team for reports from across the country that exposed how private entities exploit loopholes in election spending laws.
  • Steve Buist, Matthew Van Dongen, Teviah Moro and Andrew Dreschel, Hamilton Spectator, for stories revealing that 24 billion litres of untreated sewage had escaped into a sensitive wetland area over four years, and that city councillors had chosen to keep it all a secret.



  • Laura Blenkinsop and Christopher Manza, Globe and Mail, for a deeply interactive presentation intended to help readers understand the dangers of distracted driving.
  • Maxime Jean, La Presse, for a creative look back at the first moon landing 50 years ago, specially formatted for immersive interaction on iPads.
  • Cameron Tulk, Nathan Pilla, McKenna Deighton, Andres Plana and Tania Pereira, Toronto Star, for a presentation that helped readers experience the significant, sometimes terrifying effects of a changing climate.


Project of the Year

  • Globe and Mail for a year-long project to identify key gaps in the way data are gathered and analyzed in Canada, and to investigate why the data-collection system is so fragmented and inaccessible.
  • London Free Press for “Face It,” a project that explored a multitude of issues faced by those living on the margins in London, from drug-related diseases to a shortage of affordable housing to a scarcity of jobs.
  • Toronto Star for “Operation Transparency,” the culmination of a five-year effort to discover how much individual doctors bill the provincial health plan, and to create searchable databases allowing readers to access that information.


Short Feature (Bob Levin Award)

  • Caroline Alphonso, Globe and Mail, for taking readers inside a school where educators do their best to make the learning environment supportive for children battling debilitating illnesses.
  • Louise Dickson, Victoria Times Colonist, for a rollicking tale about the adventures and final journey of Biker Bob’s ashes, which were tossed into the ocean but kept washing ashore.
  • Josh Rubin, Toronto Star, for the story of a Canadian food truck whose owners found themselves unexpectedly caught in the middle of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.



  • Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star, for three columns about the Toronto Raptors’ journey to the NBA championship.
  • Alexandre Pratt, La Presse, for a story about a Black player who was subjected to racist abuse during a semi-professional hockey game, and the ensuing fallout.
  • Dan Robson, the Athletic, for long-form features about the sudden death of former hockey star Ray Emery, the sometimes-troubled journey of the only Inuk to make it to the NHL, and the possibility that head-related injuries from their hockey careers had contributed to the deaths of two retired players.


Sports Photo

  • Stan Behal, Toronto Sun, for a picture of a series-winning basket by Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, captured in the split-second before the ball fell through the hoop.
  • Jason Franson, Canadian Press, for a graphic image of eye-gouging action in mixed martial arts.
  • Rick Madonik, Toronto Star, for a photo of the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry, surrounded by the hands of teammates and opponents.


Nominated entries can be viewed at the NNA website at The link to the nominated entries can be found on the right side of the home page, just below the photo of the 2018 Journalist of the Year.


For more information, contact:
Paul Woods
Executive Director
National Newspaper Awards