Writing a column for a community newspaper offers a unique opportunity to expose wrongs, hold the powerful to account and introduce readers to hidden corners of the world. Columnists also face unique challenges in what to do with the wide-open space that allows opinion to be inserted where traditional reportage does not.
Winner: Anne Jarvis, Windsor Star
The winner of this category, Anne Jarvis of the Windsor Star, blends the finest research and reporting with sharp insights that demand better for the readership she serves. Her eye for impactful quotes and spare, emotive writing saw her entry rise to the top of a competitive field. Whether it was introducing us to a life lost to homelessness and mental illness, calling the federal government to account for the effects of the blockade or exposing the wrongdoings of a municipal leader, her attention to detail and sense of justice is absorbing.
Runner-up: Susan Clairmont, Hamilton Spectator
Taking the reader to the story behind the story is also a compelling quality of runner-up Susan Clairmont of the Hamilton Spectator. Again, the quality of research and writing set her entry apart and gave this judge a difficult time in making a final decision. With the number of journalists assigned solely to the courts and justice shrinking, her work should be greatly valued.
Runner-up: Mark McNeil, Hamilton Spectator
In third is Mark McNeil, also of the Hamilton Spectator. His writing is rich and can take the simplest item, like an old typewriter, and create an interesting piece. I see this kind of column creation as a gift as we emerge from the pandemic and look for bright spots in complex and difficult days.