It’s time for us to give ourselves a pat on the back.
The Reminder received a total of eight nominations in the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspaper Association (SWNA) Better Newspapers Competition, including a number of group and individual honours. The nominations show the top three entries in each category, meaning the paper is guaranteed eight podium honours.
The Reminder was nominated in the Best All Around category in the circulation class from 1,200 to 1,999. Staff members were also nominated in the category of Best Headline Writing. Reporters Eric Westhaver and Cassidy Dankochik, along with sales rep Sharon Kirkup and office manager Shannon Thompson are each named.
The honour comes after a story in the Aug. 7 issue of The Reminder named, “What the cluck? Zoo egg auctions continue after posts removed”. The story covered the ongoing Egg Wars social media fundraisers held by staff at the Joe Brain Petting Zoo and how posts for the auction were being automatically deleted by Facebook after being deemed abusive to animals.
Westhaver is nominated for four awards in total, including for Best Feature Story for a profile on local nature and wildlife photographer Randy Whitbread entitled “Photographer Whitbread’s retirement hobby becomes obsession”. The piece ran April 17.
Another nomination came in the Best Saskatchewan Recreation Story category for Westhaver’s story “Flin Flon Pride weekend returns, celebrating success,” which was shown in The Reminder’s August 14 issue. The article both runs down the details of last summer’s Flin Flon Pride event while also chronicling Andy Richard, a musician and one of Flin Flon Pride’s most prominent success stories.
Westhaver is also up for honours in editorial writing. In his first year as a column writer, his work with the “In Our Words” columns received nominations in the Editorial Writing Excellence and Columnist of the Year category.
Reporter Dankochik was nominated in two individual categories, earning a nod in Best First Nations Coverage for a story in The Reminder’s June 12 issue called “Missing, murdered Indigenous women are ‘forgotten people’: Elder”. The story, which came out shortly after the June 3 release of the final report of the federal Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry, features an in-depth interview with elder Margaret Head-Steppan on what must come next.
Dankochik was also nominated in the Best Habitat Conservation Story category for his piece on former Hapnot Collegiate graduate Chris Willey and his work with Project Aware, an environmental group that works to protect environments under the sea. The piece ran in The Reminder’s Sept. 25 issue.
Last year, The Reminder earned four top-three honours in the same provincial awards, including three first places. The paper is also eligible for the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association (MCNA) Better Newspaper Competition Awards, which will be announced at a later date.
The final finishes for this year’s SWNA awards will be announced later this year.