The Prov­ince takes ma­jor jour­nal­ism prize with Op­er­a­tion Phoenix se­ries

Se­ries fo­cused on Down­town East­side

The Province - - Front Page - — Staff Re­porter

The Prov­ince was a big win­ner at the 24th an­nual Jack Webster Awards din­ner on Mon­day night.

Op­er­a­tion Phoenix — a year­long in­ves­tiga­tive se­ries that shone a light on the prob­lems of home­less­ness, ad­dic­tion and mental ill­ness in Van­cou­ver’s Down­town East­side — won the Webster for best fea­ture story in print.

The 200-page spread, pub­lished be­tween Fe­bru­ary 2009 and Jan­uary 2010, was the largest project ever un­der­taken by the news­pa­per.

“This was a won­der­ful project,” said edi­tor in chief Wayne Mo­ri­arty. “You don’t go into these things to win awards. We work ev­ery day to pro­duce won­der­ful jour­nal­ism.

“If along the way we are hon­oured by our peers, we have to ac­cept that with heart­felt grat­i­tude.

“The team that worked on this project was an amaz­ing group of peo­ple,” he said.

Op­er­a­tion Phoenix’s sus­tained fo­cus on prob­lems in the Down­town East­side spurred di­a­logue on such con­tro­ver­sial is­sues as harm re­duc­tion, gen­tri­fi­ca­tion and the wel­fare sys­tem.

It asked govern­ment and so­ci­ety what they could do to make a dif­fer­ence.

It re­vealed in­spir­ing sto­ries of gen­eros­ity and kind­ness, as well as evoca­tive tales of tragedy and tri­umph of the neigh­bour­hood’s re­silient cit­i­zens.

In the se­ries’ fi­nal in­stal­ment, The Prov­ince launched Phoenix’s legacy project, part­ner­ing with the Down­town Com­mu­nity Court, Van­cou­ver Com­mu­nity Col­lege, Sprott-Shaw Com­mu­nity Col­lege and Out­ward Bound Canada to of­fer 14 of­fend­ers a chance to go back to school and get out of their de­struc­tive cy­cle of crime and drug ad­dic­tion.

In May, Op­er­a­tion Phoenix won a Na­tional News­pa­per Award in the Spe­cial Project cat­e­gory.

Op­er­a­tion Phoenix’s award-win­ning team in­cluded: deputy edi­tor Ros Guggi; re­porters David Carrigg, Ch­eryl Chan, Lora Grindlay and Elaine O’Con­nor; columnists Ethan Baron and Jon Ferry; pho­tog­ra­pher Arlen Redekop; graphic artist Gin­ger Sed­larova; editors John Fuller and Erik Rolf­sen, and as­sis­tant to the edi­tor Lesa Chu.

CKNW 980 and Global B.C. also col­lab­o­rated with The Prov­ince on the project.

The Prov­ince also was a fi­nal­ist in the best on­line re­port­ing cat­e­gory for O’Con­nor’s B.C. With­out Bor­ders project, which told the sto­ries of many Bri­tish Columbians help­ing oth­ers in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

Prov­ince sports­writers Terry Bell and Ja­son Botch­ford were part of the Canwest News Ser­vice team nom­i­nated for best news re­port­ing of the year in print for their cov­er­age of the sud­den death of Ge­or­gian luger No­dar Ku­mar­i­tashvili dur­ing a train­ing run in Whistler be­fore the Win­ter Olympics.

Cel­e­brated sportswrit­er and broad­caster Jim Tay­lor was this year’s win­ner of the Bruce Hutchis on Life­time Achieve­ment Award.

The an­nual Jack Webster Awards hon­our ex­cel­lence in B.C. jour­nal­ism.

Ch­eryl Chan

Ela ine O’Con­nor

Ethan Baron

Jon Ferry

Lora Grindlay

Erik Rolf­sen

Ros Guggi

John Fuler

David Carigg

Gin­ger Sedlar ova

Arlen Redekop

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