National Newspaper Awards Board of Governors welcomes two new members and approves two new award sponsorships

TORONTO, May 11, 2022 – The Board of Governors of the National Newspaper Awards has unanimously approved the appointment of two new members: George Abraham and Andrea Houston.

George Abraham is founder and publisher of New Canadian Media, a non-profit news portal that showcases immigrant journalism and amplifies the work of journalists from various immigrant and ethnic backgrounds. Abraham began his journalism career more than 35 years ago with The Times of India in Mumbai, followed by stints at the Khaleej Times in Dubai and as managing editor of The Peninsula in Qatar. He won a Nieman scholarship at Harvard University.

Andrea Houston is managing editor of Ricochet Media, a multiplatform news outlet that seeks to illuminate cultural and political diversity within Canada. A leading advocate for LGBTQ2S+ issues, she served as managing editor of Torontoist and developed the “Queer Media” course at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism. In 2017, Houston was named role model of the year by the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity.

Abraham and Houston fill two “at-large” positions as part of a move to bring new voices and perspectives to the 20-member Board of Governors. Three other individuals were appointed in recent months: Dexter Brown of the Canadian Association of Black Journalists, Jason Chiu of Canadian Journalists of Colour, and veteran Indigenous journalist Jim Compton.

The new Board members arrive as the awards program is transitioning to new administrators. Effective July 1, Bev Wake becomes Executive Director and Andria Samis becomes Program Director. Both have been working closely in recent months with Paul Woods and Sharon Hockin, who are retiring from their director positions after five years.

At its spring meeting on May 10, 2022, the Board also approved naming two more awards after prominent individuals connected to the news business.

The Stuart M. Robertson Award for Breaking News is being named in honour of the longtime secretary-treasurer and legal counsel of the National Newspaper Awards. While the program dates back to 1949, its current structure was established in 1989. Many of the founding documents of the “modern” incarnation of the NNAs were written and signed by Stuart, who was passionate about the program’s mission of honouring Canada’s finest journalism. He died in March at the age of 74.

The Stuart M. Robertson Award for Breaking News will be sponsored by Lauraine and Paul Woods, both of whom worked closely with Stuart in administering and operating the awards program.

The Beat Reporting award will be named after Joan Hollobon. As the Globe and Mail’s medical reporter from 1959 to 1985, Joan set the standard for what beat reporting should be. She developed expertise that allowed her to tackle breaking news, investigative pieces and explanatory articles with equal ease, and earned the (sometimes grudging) respect of the physicians, scientists and politicians she covered. As one of the first women on the medical beat, she also blazed a trail for generations that would follow. Joan is 102, lives in Toronto and was recently awarded the Order of Canada.

The Joan Hollobon Award for Beat Reporting will be sponsored by her longtime employer, the Globe and Mail.

The Beat Reporting award had previously been named after E. Cora Hind. Effective with the 2022 contest year, the Local Reporting award will be named after Hind, one of the first women to work as a journalist in Canada. She was also instrumental in the suffrage movement and a strong advocate for giving women the right to vote.

Eight other awards are also named after 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)
  • John Honderich Award for Project of the Year (sponsored by the Honderich family)
  • Bob Levin Award for Short Feature (sponsored by the Globe and Mail)
  • Claude Ryan Award for Editorial Writing (sponsored by the Ryan family)
  • Mary Ann Shadd Cary Award for Columns
  • 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)

Other award sponsorship opportunities remain available. We will review all submissions for sponsored awards named after prominent journalists. For information on the program, contact us at the co-ordinates below.


For more information, contact:

Paul Woods
Executive Director
National Newspaper Awards