Compass editor ‘outstanding journalist’
Awards aplenty for NL Weeklies at Atlantic Newspapers gala
Compass editor Terry Roberts was the winner in the category of “outstanding journalist” at the 2013 Newspapers Atlantic Better Newspaper Competition in Halifax on May 11.
It was one of many accolades handed out during a gala at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, which saw TC Media and its employees from this province come away with multiple awards, including two of the three “outstanding awards.”
Fellow editor Adam Randell of The Northern Pen in St. Anthony was named “outstanding photographer,” and was tops in the category of “best feature story.”
Kevin Hiscock, general manager of TC Media communities newspapers in Newfoundland and Labrador, and manager of The Compass, also received a President’s Award from Newspapers Atlantic, while advertising sales representative Maxine Drake of the Southern Gazette in Marystown won the trophy in a category called The Great Ideas Exchange.
Drake, who has been in the media industry for less than two years, was also a standing finalist for “outstanding salesperson.”
Hiscock said the showing by journalists and sales staff from this province is a testament to their passion and dedication to the profession, and the high degree of respect to which they regard the communities they serve.
“These awards are very competitive, and they have to be earned,” Hiscock stated. “I am very proud of the work we do in our communities, and such recognition is validation of the important role that community newspapers continue to play in our province.”
Newspapers Atlantic, formerly known as the Atlantic Canada Newspaper Association, is a non-profit membership organization that represents 70 newspapers with a combined circulation of more than 735,000 newspapers in Atlantic Canada.
The annual gala highlighted what was a two-day conference that also included guest speakers, educational workshops and networking opportunities.
Roberts received the nod for outstanding journalist over two other finalists — Ashley Thompson of The Windsor Hants Journal and Belle Hatfield of The Yarmouth Vanguard. Both papers are based in Nova Scotia.
Judges described Roberts as “a talented writer able to cover a wide range of topics well. Fearless in challenging the powers that be, but also maintains the ability to feel compassion for those who have suffered loss.”
It was noted that Roberts “leaves me with all my questions answered, which is the mark of a good journalist and storyteller.”
Roberts was also a winner in the category of “best national editorial” for a piece headlined Penashue no longer has legitimacy, which was published in the Oct. 23, 2012 print edition of The Compass.
The editorial was described as “a straightforward and compelling argument calling for the resignation of Labrador MP Peter Penashue.”
The judge added: “The clear, clean writing and sober reasoning leads to the only logical conclusion.”
Roberts was also a standing finalist for “best resources story” for a feature headlined A life without cod, which spotlighted how the Town of Bay de Verde had changed in the 20 years since the collapse of the cod stocks. The winner was fellow editor Brodie Thomas of the Gulf News in Port aux Basques.
Roberts has worked in the newspaper industry in this province for more than two decades, with long stints at The Northern Pen in St. Anthony and The Telegram in St. John’s. He joined The Compass in July 2010.
Mercer a finalist
Meanwhile, Compass reporter/photographer Nicholas Mercer was a standing finalist in two categories — “best specialty column” and “best photo essay.”
Mercer, whose sports column is called “To the point,” was praised by the judge.
“He is not afraid to tackle difficult subjects, even to the point of giving hockey fans hell for not being loud enough supporters of the local team. And don’t get him started on TSN.”
Mercer, a native of Bay Roberts, has worked in the news media since the spring of 2011, with stints at The Telegram and The Beacon in Gander. He started with with The Compass in September 2011.
Longtime Compass employee Bill Bowman was also a standing finalist in the category of “best local editorial” for a piece he penned headlined “Those demeaning, insufferable Screech-ins.”
Here is a summary of the award winners:
• The Gulf News — Best Community Service;
• Adam Randell, Northern Pen — Outstanding Photographer, Best Feature Story;
• Barbara Dean- Simmons, Clarenville Packet — Best Local Editorial;
• Terry Roberts, The Compass — Outstanding Journalist, Best National Editorial;
• Jamie Lewis, The Labradorian — Best News Photo;
• Brodie Thomas, The Gulf News — Best Resources Story;
• The Advertiser, Grand Falls-Windsor — winner, general excellence, class 1.
In all , newspapers and their employees from this province were standing finalists in 26 categories.
NL Weeklies were well represented at the 2013 Newspapers Atlantic Better Newspaper Competition in Halifax on May 11. Pictured here are, from left, Compass editor Terry Roberts, Southern Gazette (Marystown) salesperson Maxine Drake, NL Weeklies general manager Kevin Hiscock, NL Weeklies circulation manager Marilyn Puddicombe, and Northern Pen editor Adam Randell.