Once a year the Nation and its team of writers, editors, columnists, photographers, production staff, graphic and web designers, sales people and accountants are judged on the quality of their work. It is truly a team effort that makes the Nation possible. As in years past, this year has shown that the Nation is a community paper to be reckoned with. In total, the Nation brought home 12 Quebec Community Newspaper Association awards from the gala ceremony in Gatineau May 31.

Awarding us 1st Place for Best Special Section, judge Ann Hepburn said she “loved this publication!” She found it well balanced with a positive message and “the content keeps you engaged right to the back cover!”

Martin Siberok took 1st Place for Best Arts & Entertainment Story. The judge said his article was a well-written and concise review of the documentary Smoke Traders. “It stands out not only for its added insight into the subject but also for its topical relevance,” said Professor Wayne Larsen.

1st Place for Best News Photo went to Lyle Stewart because of the way he captured the depth of passion in the student protest against the Charest government in 2012, and because “it also foreshadows what would happen to the Liberal government.”

Stewart was on a roll with another 1st Place for Best Column Writing. Pascale Castonguay from the Association de la press francophone said his pieces were “well written” with interesting points of view. She felt Stewart showed you could be both “serious and funny.”

Daniel David won 1st Place in the Best Editorial (local affairs) category. Judge Professor Davis Swick said his editorial showed excellent skills that featured a “strong lead” with “language that flows.”

Amy German won 2nd Place for Best Feature Story with a piece that looked at homeless Aboriginals in Val-d’Or. Judge and Editor Rankin MacDonald called it, “A story from the streets that gives us pause as we are drawn in with the desperate photo and a story you hope will change things. It calls out to all of us.”

I managed to snag 2nd Place for Best Feature Photo. It was of geese being spun in Waskaganish at last year’s Grand Council/CRA Annual General Assembly. The judge said, “By resisting the urge to pose the people, the photographer has allowed people to feel they have access to a very interesting space.”

2nd Place for Best Business Story went to Jesse Staniforth. The judge found his effort to be “very well researched and written.”

Staniforth didn’t stop there and added a 3rd Place for Best Education Story to his credits.

Our west coast writer Xavier Kataquapit garnered 3rd Place for Best Column Writing. He was found to be “smart and funny.”

Lastly, I saw two 3rd Places for Best Editorial (local affairs) and the Bob Phillips Award for Best Editorial (general). The first found me to be “heartfelt” and “intimate…speaking to one reader at a time.”

I feel all of the team here at the Nation are winners and it shows not only in these awards but in the dedication and desire we all share in doing the best job possible in ensuring our readers have the best publication possible.