The Alberni Valley News has earned a trio of awards from the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspaper Association. Winners of the 2021 Ma Murray Awards were announced during a live virtual ceremony June 10, 2021.
The News won gold in the COVID-19 Advertising category (under 10,000 circulation) for the popular Roam Near Home series that profiled interesting outdoor places to visit and COVID-friendly activities for families.
We won silver for our 2020 Remembrance Day section titled ‘We Will Remember Them,’ which featured stories about Alberni Valley veterans, their memories and contributions to various global conflicts since the Second World War.
We also won silver for general excellence in our circulation category—traditionally a tough category, with strong newspapers from across the province.
I am very proud of our team at the Alberni Valley News. Our 15th year has been our most challenging and our small, committed staff has risen to the challenge. The awards we have received this year are a testament to that commitment.
When the pandemic hit, as an essential service, we never stopped working. The doors may have been locked, local advertisers’ businesses shuttered, events cancelled, but the AV News team used their resources and resiliency to continue on, not only producing an informative edition of the Alberni Valley News every week but with updates every day on our website and social media. As well, behind the scenes our office administrator, Heather Milligan, and myself supported other Vancouver Island newspapers remotely to ensure they also published every week.
With awards, the names you see are often those of our staff you also see around town. Our editor Susan Quinn, reporter Elena Rardon, advertising rep Rachel Theus and myself. And, of course, the essential drivers and carriers who deliver the newspaper. Back at the office we have a strong team also supporting us. Our office administrator Heather Milligan is the first face you see when you come into our office. She takes care of our carriers, books our ads, sends our pages to press and much more. Myrna Clark, who was the first employee hired when the Alberni Valley News first opened in summer 2006, works from our office producing classified advertising pages for newspapers around the province.
These provincial awards are named for the late Margaret “Ma” Murray, one of the most outspoken figures in Canadian journalism. Her tenaciousness as one of the province’s first female publishers beginning in the 1930s continues to inspire community journalism today.
That dedication to community news is evident here in our office. The people who work at the Alberni Valley News care about what lands on your doorstep every week or shows up online or in your email via our daily newsletters or Facebook newsfeed. That’s what makes us an award-winning newspaper and an award-winning team.
Teresa Bird is publisher of the Alberni Valley News.