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Generous readers propel Courier to gold at newspaper awards

Courier journalists also nominated for upcoming provincial awards

The generosity of our readers and stories about aboriginal mothers and bees gave the Vancouver Courier three golds at annual national community newspaper awards.

Its among the best ever showings for the Courier at the Canadian Community Newspaper Awards, which honour community newspaper journalism across the country.

The outpouring of support last December from Courier readers for the papers annual Christmas drive for Directions Youth Services helped the Courier land a gold for outstanding community service. The drive, coordinated by office manager June Stafford since its inception eight years ago, accepts reader donations of clothes, toiletries and gifts to make the holiday season easier for youth living on Vancouvers streets. Christmas 2012 was one of the most successful campaigns in the projects history.

Staff writer Mike Howells stories about aboriginal single mothers in Strathcona struggling to lift themselves out of poverty earned a gold for the Courier for best feature series. Howell spent several months following the mothers and their families at home, school and community centres in their attempt to better the lives of their families despite difficult circumstances.

Frequent Courier contributor Stanley Tromps examination of mason bees gave the Courier a gold for best agricultural story, an unusual win for an urban newspaper. Tromps well-researched feature examined how the friendly mason bee is helping fill the pollination gap as wild bee stocks decline due to parasitic mites.

The Courier has also been nominated for four journalism awards and for best newspaper in its circulation category at the Ma Murray Newspaper Awards, which honour the best in community newspaper journalism in B.C. and the Yukon.

Courier photographer Dan Toulgoet, who won a Ma Murray gold for best news photography last year, is nominated for best feature colour photo for his nighttime shot of the water fountain at Bloedel Conservatory.

Courier contributing writer and photographer Rebecca Blissett is nominated for best outdoor recreation writing for her feature Pool players, which examined fans of Vancouvers outdoor pools.

Courier writer Naoibh OConnors story on a cycling program at King George secondary earned her a nomination for environmental initiative. OConnor won this award category last year.

Mike Howells series of stories on aboriginal single mothers is nominated for best feature series. Howell won the same category last year.

The Courier is also nominated for best overall newspaper in its circulation category.