North Island Gazette wins big at 2021 Ma Murray Newspaper Awards

Zoe Ducklow and Bill McQuarrie both won gold at the online ceremony

Ma Murrays 2021 virtual ceremony screenshot

Ma Murrays 2021 virtual ceremony screenshot

The North Island Gazette won two golds and a silver on Thursday night (June 10) at the annual Ma Murray newspaper awards.

Former Local Journalism Initiative reporter Zoe Ducklow (now working at the Goldstream Gazette) was nominated in the Environmental Initiative category for her in-depth story on the North Island’s 7 Mile Landfill, as well as the Multimedia Feature Story category for an interactive piece on the Marble River Fish Hatchery releasing salmon babies.

Ducklow ended up winning gold for the 7 Mile Landfill story and silver for the Marble River Fish Hatchery releasing salmon babies story.

Ducklow said she never thought she would win an award for writing about garbage. “As my editor joked, I won with a pile of garbage! But Pat Donaghy is so full of knowledge and ingenuity that a landfill tour was far more fascinating than I would have guessed. I’m proud to have won but more proud to showcase how clever and creative the North Island’s sanitation workers are.”

Freelancer Bill McQuarrie was the other Gazette nominee, with his stunning front page photograph of Sointula’s Sophie Tynjala figure skating during the ‘Spacecapades’ Ice Carnival winning gold for Sports Photo Under 10,000 (circulation).

“You’ve got to love it when your editor calls and asks you to go down to a cool and darkened arena, capture a high speed action shot of the most important figure skating event of the year, and do it without using a flash,” laughed McQuarrie, who added that winning the award reminded him of that evening covering the Spacecapades Ice Carnival. “The technical challenges of shooting in the cold, low light, camera unfriendly environment of the arena, but mostly I remember the skaters; the athletes who performed so well that evening.”

He noted it was the last indoor event he was able to photograph before the COVID lockdown became a reality, “and it left some great memories of what a small community like ours has and can achieve. Despite our size, we seem able to produce a disproportionate number of amazing athletes, outstanding scholars and generally good people. Exactly the kind of community and people that make my job as a photojournalist so easy.”

Hosted by the the BC & Yukon Community News Media Association, the Ma Murray awards honour and celebrate the work of community journalists across the province for advertising, photography, writing and overall newspaper excellence.


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