Beat Reporting (over 25,000 circulation)
Winner: Maria Iqbal, Hamilton Spectator
I chose Maria as the top entry for me because of how well her reporting struck a chord. She really captured the human story, the human experience behind her beat. The pandemic really shone a spotlight on how society has forgotten about its elders, but what I appreciated about Maria’s submissions was that they weren’t all COVID-19 related. I found the dementia series compelling — a very human way to talk about a condition I for one didn’t know a ton about. Part 2, which details the push and pull on a person when making the decision to put a parent or loved one into long-term care hit home, especially after a year where we have all seen the horrific realities of the state of our long-term care. I also appreciated the fact that she included multimedia elements throughout her work to enhance readers’ experiences. I can tell Maria approaches her beat with heart and really knows it through and through. I love that about her work. I love how much effort she puts into it despite the fact that it may not be as popular a beat as crime or education. It also appears she has really owned the beat, which is amazing, given it is the first time the Spectator has dedicated a full-time reporter to it.
Runner-up: Joanna Frketich, Hamilton Spectator
Joanna exhibits a very thorough understanding and knowledge of her beat. She most definitely owned the beat throughout COVID-19, but didn’t let the rest of the beat go uncovered amid the global pandemic — admirable. I found her reporting interesting and I learned some things I hadn’t even heard despite working in news the whole pandemic (i.e. about N95 mask reuse and nurses not being able to help patients who were cold or wanting water in the early days of the pandemic). She also broke stories that were in the public interest and had difficult barriers to access.
Runner-up: Joel Rubinoff, Waterloo Region Record
Joel appears to be doing the hard work of being an ally, unlearning and challenging societal norms through his reporting, which is admirable. I liked that in certain instances he opted for the Q&A format, which left the subjects’ words and stories in their own words and with minimal reporter paraphrasing/interpreting. I also appreciated that he challenged the mayor on the posting of the “White Lives Matter” video, something not all reporters would necessarily do. These were interesting reads and very important ones. I like that Joel broached these topics and exposed the Record’s readership to raw truths they may not have been familiar with prior.
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