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EDITORIAL: Outlook stands out as top news outlet with national, provincial awards

The exceptionally high quality of journalism coming out of the Rocky Mountain Outlook newsroom has again been recognized on provincial and national stages.

The exceptionally high quality of journalism coming out of the Rocky Mountain Outlook newsroom has again been recognized on provincial and national stages.

At the recent Canadian Community Newspapers Awards (CCNA) and Alberta Weekly Newspapers Awards (AWNA), the Outlook and its editorial staff won 25 awards, including first place in best newspaper overall provincially, and third in best all-round nationally.

Outlook photographer Jungmin Ham, or Min, cleaned up at the CCNA’s with seven photojournalism awards, including four first place snaps, while the remarkable work of reporters Jessica Lee and Cathy Ellis won first and second place, respectively, for best feature series.

One of the top reporters covering Indigenous communities in Canada, Lee's important storytelling went to the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, taking a look at how they're preserving language and culture. 

While Ellis, whose reputation is well-known for her wildlife and environmental reporting, wrote on a new study that shows how development and human activity is threatening wildlife.

Long-time Outlook cartoonist Patrick LaMontagne, whose handy work about Bow Valley quirks often invokes laughs and stirs conversation, won first and third for best local cartoons.

At AWNA, the Outlook once again showed its strength, winning Best Overall, Best Front Page, Best Sports Section, and second places for Best Editorial Page, and Best Special Section (A Shot At Glory).

Outlook reporters Ellis, Lee and Jordan Small, whose commitment and dedication to sports locally and nationally is second to none, all took home individual provincial awards in Best Local News Story, Best Feature Column, and Best Sports Writing categories. Needing a trophy rack for all her awards this year, photojournalist Ham also took home accolades in Best Feature and Spot News, and an honourable mention in sports action.

The Outlook is pleased with the awards, which are a nice recognition for many long hours, research and first-rate work. As always, the talented reporters and photojournalists at the Outlook are a dedicated bunch. 

We seek out what’s happening in our communities on the street level up to local governments, on the sideline of the sports field, in the mountains and with our unique and beloved wildlife, and, of course, the stories of the people in our community.

As community members, we live and face the same issues like everyone else, such as the housing crisis, cost of living, and the threat of natural disasters, but we also share in the triumphs. We’re not an anonymous name behind a computer screen. We’re around town, at the grocery stores, at the local hockey rink, and willing to lend an ear and have a conversation.

Over the past two decades since it was founded, the small town newspaper has consistently been a juggernaut at these journalism award ceremonies. The Outlook had and still does have lots of experience in our business; however, the professionals inside the newsroom have also helped with the development of younger journalists, showing by example what the standard of journalism is.

The great storytelling coming out of the newsroom is a reflection of the community. Sometimes there are stories that make us smile and laugh, and sometimes there are stories that make us frown and shed tears. However, there are no such things as “good” or “bad” stories – there are just stories, and it’s our job to report on them.