QCT journalists win big at QCNA Competition


The Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph's copy editor and journalist Shirley Nadeau (centre) proudly displays her certificate of excellence for the Best Community Health Story at the recent QCNA Better Newspaper Awards ceremony in Aylmer. With her are (left) second-place winner Andrea Cranfield (The Equity), and (right) Trevor Greenway (The Low Down to Hull & Back News). Presenting the awards was Steve Bonspiel, president of QCNA and publisher of The Eastern Door.

Being honoured by a jury of one's peers is one of the highest accolades possible. Yet this is exactly what the QCT received on Friday, May 31, 2013, from the Quebec Community Newspapers Association (QCNA).

The 33rd Annual Awards ceremony for the QCNA Better Newspapers Competition was held at the Château Cartier in Aylmer, Quebec, to recognize the work of talented writers, photographers, cartoonists, graphic designers, publishers and editors.

The Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph is one of the province's 34 English-language community newspapers, five of which are published in both English and French. These papers have a combined readership of 889,000 covering all regions in Quebec. Every member of the QCNA is invited to submit to the competition what it considers to be its best work of the previous year; the QCNA presents the awards annually in May. The entries are judged by publishers and editors from other community newspaper associations in Canada. This year, the QCT submitted a number of noteworthy articles and photographs for consideration.

At the ceremony, the QCNA's executive director, Richard Tardif, addressed the 75 assembled journalists: "Our community newspapers have certainly raised the bar this year, submitting some hard hitting stories, but not shying away from the soft and meaningful stories." He continued, "It is an important time for community newspapers. The loyalty of our readers is outstanding, and demonstrates how, to this very day, our local newspaper is important. . . . We are the primary print media serving official language communities across the province of Quebec, and we will continue to advocate for our unique membership. Tonight's awards are a representation of how we love our communities and how unique we all are as journalists, photographers, designers, editors and publishers. Congratulations to our nominees and winners."
The emcee for the evening was Camille Ross, Global Montreal TV's morning news anchor. Also present were Charles Taker, liaison officer for the Commissioner of Official Languages, and Greg Nesbitt, president of the Canadian Community Newspapers Association.

QCT copy editor and journalist Shirley Nadeau represented the QCT at the ceremony. The paper had been notified that it was short-listed in five categories, and Shirley was grinning from ear to ear, knowing in advance that, of the nearly 40 presented, she would take home at least one major award for the paper.

The QCT garnered major awards indeed. Bethann G. Merkle was singled out to receive the prestigious Outstanding Photojournalism Award, for "the individual who has shown the best overall performance in photojournalism in the year." In two other categories, Merkle placed second: Best Sports Story ("An inside look at Quebec City's Roller Derby League") and Best Sports Photo (bull rider at July 4th celebration in the USA); she also received a third-place award for Best News Photo (Grand Prix Bicycle Race).

Shirley Nadeau was awarded first prize for the Best Community Health Story for her article "Decision on Shannon's tainted water hard to swallow." The judge's comments were: "When a court decision on a top community health story dealing with TCE-tainted water comes down, Nadeau reports the disappointment. This is a clear, important story. The effects of the tainted water on cancer rates can be hard to prove, but we all understand the need to trust our water supply.

Nadeau gives an excellent update on the case in the Municipality of Shannon, clearly describing the judgement as ‘hard to swallow.'"

In addition, the QCT received second prize for the Best Community Newspaper Promotion for its 2012 Mystery Photo of the Week Contest. The contest was the brainchild of Merkle and Nadeau, and the two photographers' photos appeared alternately each week last summer. They also managed the contest, seeing that the weekly, monthly and overall winners received their prizes in a fair and timely fashion. The judge commented that it was a "really nice idea that most definitely kept readers guessing. This could be done in pretty much every city - very versatile and simple concept."

Finally, Bill Cox was recognized with a Correspondent Award for his faithful contributions to the QCT. Cox has been submitting human-interest articles about personal experiences and funny mishaps to the QCT since he moved to Quebec City from Sherbrooke in 2001. For over 12 years, he has added his own particular flair to the pages of the QCT.

Richard Tardif concluded, "I was very pleased that the QCT submitted as much as they did this year, and glad to see that you came out on top in so many categories! I want to say that your newspaper is a miracle! Two-hundred and fifty years next year? Congratulations!"

For more details on the QCNA Awards Ceremony please visit their website: http://www.qcna.org/index.php?page=awards&id=14.
Publisher's Note:

The QCT is extremely proud of all of our hard-working, devoted writers and contributors and was humbled by the success it has achieved within the Quebec Community Newspaper Association. We congratulate our award winners. And, to all of our readers, we thank you for your continued support and loyalty.