National Newspaper Awards reflections

The National Newspaper Awards gala is upon us once more. The annual NNA event celebrates the best work done by major Canadian daily newspapers.
This year I’m honoured to have been part of the teams on two nominated projects.

The months-long #StarBigIdeas project, which is up for Project of the Year, was a group effort led by Toronto Star City Editor Irene Gentle in partnership with the Martin Prosperity Group.

In my role at the time as the Star’s social media team editor, I had the good fortune to work on this project nearly every day along with a small team of writers and editors. Social media was integral to the project because much of its success hinged on participation from the community. Via primarily Twitter and Facebook, Toronto residents heard about the project, discussed the various ideas and submitted their own. For this reason, it has already taken gold at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards for Best Use of Social Media.

But this project went beyond social media, unfolding on multiple platforms and mediums – on the printed page, during live chats, through polls, videos and interactive graphics, and even real-life events. The above image was created as part of an interactive element. Click here to see the full version.

The result was a thoughtful, nuanced debate that continued for close to a year.

Another project I’m proud to have played a role (albeit a smaller one) in was a months-long multimedia project that looked back at 100 years since the start of the first world war. It too played out on multiple platforms (there was even an encyclopedia!) and thus was a challenge to strategize when it came to social media. Luckily at the project’s heart there were two tireless journalists – Katie Daubs and Richard Lautens – who documented their journey Walking the Western Front in print, online through journal updates, and on social media. I particularly enjoyed sharing their Instagram photos with the Star’s audience.

There is so much high-quality, amazing work nominated for NNAs that it is, as they say, an honour to be nominated. But while I’ll admit to having my fingers crossed that the projects so near and dear to myself and former colleagues win, I’m happy to have been given the chance to work on such great projects in the first place.

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