I hope you have seen the story about The Globe and Mail's great night Friday at the National Newspaper Awards – winning eight and garnering a record 24 nominations for the finalists' list for excellent coverage over a broad range of work. The winners are a classy group, not just from The Globe but from all papers. From the podium, they made the point that journalism is a team sport and their work is better because of the editors who work alongside them.
What you don't know is that on Friday before the awards ceremony began, we gathered in the Globe newsroom to hand out our own internal editorial excellence awards. One of the reasons why we have these awards is to honour the editors, researchers and designers whose work makes The Globe great.
These annual awards started in 1984 with one for excellence in writing and have now grown to six. We start with nominations open to all of our staff, then the senior editors look at the groundswell of nominations and vote for the winners.
Editor-in-Chief John Stackhouse announced the winners to a packed newsroom starting with The George Brown Prize for editing. This is an award which salutes the fundamental importance of editors in the creation of good copy. Strong editing, of course, encompasses many things from story conception to structure, language, clarity, style and production. This year's winner was Danny Sinopoli, the editor of our Style section. Danny and his team completely relaunched Style as a magazine-quality section on a weekly basis, then recently added Style Advisor. In announcing the win, John said, "The secret is that Danny takes how we cover fashion, beauty, home decor and food as seriously as we take politics or business. He brings an attention to detail and an understanding of the nuance of language that has prompted one freelancer, who writes for several lifestyle magazines, to say, 'There's an edit, and there's a Danny edit.'"
Danny, ever humble, said it was a team effort and he had the best group of editors in the business.
Next up was the Stephen Godfrey Prize for newsroom citizenship. Stephen is a former Arts reporter who not only was one of the best at his job, but he frequently offered advice and story suggestions to all parts of the newsroom. This year's winner was Stephanie Chambers, one of our small but mighty team in Editorial Research. Stephanie was praised for helping many Globe journalists resolve computer issues, for training reporters and editors in best research practices and for extolling the virtues of using Excel to sort and analyze data. Stephanie also made a point of thanking the three others on her team.
We also have an Innovation Award which recognizes pioneers who develop new ways to promote our journalism. This year's winner was Michael Babad, an editor and online columnist in the Report on Business. Mike's job has been morning assignment editor and he's always fuelled by endless cups of coffee (he even has a coffee maker on his desk). A few years ago, he was asked to start writing a briefing note for the assignment editors who arrived later in the morning. One day, an editor suggested publishing the note online. Within two years, the morning blog has become a huge reader favourite thanks to Mike's sharp, incisive writing and his often brilliant headlines. If you haven't read him before, start now.
The David Pratt Award for visual work (named after a former design chief and current design editor) went to our Vancouver photojournalist John Lehmann who was also nominated at the National Newspaper Awards for this stunning photograph. As John Stackhouse noted, "talented photojournalists thrive when they are far removed from mission control. Given a healthy dose of editorial freedom and ample space to display his work, he has shown us what is possible."
The Richard (Dick) Doyle Prize is given for great reporting, getting the news first and right, often about things that people don't want us – and by extension the readers – to know. This year's winner, Mark MacKinnon from our China bureau, had a stellar year, which was also recognized later Friday by the National Newspaper Awards. He won two NNAs: one for his work on the Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear fallout and a second, shared with Andy Hoffman, for his work on the Sino-Forest Corp. story involving accusations of stock fraud.
The Stanley McDowell Award for writing is named after a former editorial writer. It was surprising to many of us that Roy MacGregor, one of the greatest writers in the entire country, had never won this award. Roy writes with great authority and passion on our national identity and sports. John Stackhouse said his "knowledge of the country is unsurpassed... He writes with insight, unimpeachable integrity and, when needed, spine."
Roy was in town from Ottawa to be the emcee of the NNA awards gala. And as with all of the other winners on the day, he was humble. Roy thanked the tireless editors in the Sports department for saving him on more than one occasion.
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