The coveted Ma Murray Award bestowed by the BC & Yukon Community Newspaper Association. (Black Press file photo)

The coveted Ma Murray Award bestowed by the BC & Yukon Community Newspaper Association. (Black Press file photo)

Community of Quesnel reflected in pair of newspaper wins

Observer takes Best In Class and breaking news trophy

The Quesnel Cariboo Observer is best-in-class in the province of B.C. for community newspapers.

The newspaper took home gold in Newspaper Excellence (Category B – Under 10,000) division at the Ma Murray Awards held May 4 by the BC & Yukon Community Newspaper Association (BCYCNA).

Newspaper Excellence judges score newspapers based on editorial content including front page, community news, editorial opinion pages, local features, sports and recreation and the arts, as well as overall design and appearance, photos and production, advertising and online presence.

Along with winning General Excellence, the Observer also took home gold for Multimedia Breaking News for coverage of the disappearance and murder of Carmelita Abraham, titled Investigation into missing Indigenous woman leads to murder charge for Quesnel man.

The coverage involved the work of two newsrooms – the Williams Lake Tribune, the community where Abraham was first reported missing, and the Quesnel Cariboo Observer, the community where tragically Abraham’s body was discovered and family and community leaders gathered in the days to follow.

The story coverage included traditional newspaper writing and publishing as well as a video feature and social media.

The team included former Quesnel editor Cassidy Dandochik and reporter Rebecca Dyok, as well as Cariboo/Thompson regional editor Angie Mindus along with Tribune reporters Ruth Lloyd and Monica Lamb-Yorski.

The judges commended the news teams for working together closely to cover a difficult subject with sensitivity.

“Community journalism can be difficult but it is always important work that I am proud to be a part of,” said Mindus. “We are thankful to the community who continue to trust us to tell their stories.”

Observer publisher Tracey Roberts said it is a great honour to win two gold awards at the Ma Murrays.

“I thank my staff for all the hard work in putting out an award-winning product each week,” said Roberts. “It really is a team effort.”

In all, Black Press papers in northern B.C. garnered 17 podium spots at the awards which celebrate the achievements of nearly 100 member publications.

“We are proud of these awards because it lets the public know in very special terms just how hard we work to be accurate and insightful on behalf of our community,” said Roberts. “When you are focused on your work, in a business like ours, there is no time to consider things like winning awards. That comes later, and it is all in the eyes of people outside our town. It’s amazing to know we stood out just for doing what we do.”

READ THE AWARD-WINNING STORY HERE: Investigation into missing Indigenous woman leads to homicide charge against Quesnel man

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