alberta newspapers awash in national awards.

The mainstream media has taken quite a beating over the past year, and while it’s really easy to focus on the negative (especially when people are losing their jobs), it’s important to recognize some of the great journalists and newspapers that are continuing to report, write, and publish print news in our communities.

Earlier this month, the Canadian Community Newspapers Association announced the winners of their annual awards. Congrats to the Alberta award winners, which included the Wainwright Star Chronicle, Elk Point Review, Jasper Booster (which has since shut down), Vaxhaull Advance, MacLeod Gazette, South Peace News, Taber Times, Hinton Parklander, Peace River Record-Gazette, Bonnyville Nouvelle, Banff Crag & Canyon, Rocky Mountain Outlook, Canmore Leader, St. Albert Gazette, Okotoks Western Wheel, Fast Forward Weekly, SEE Magazine, Sherwood Park News, Sylvan Lake News, Athabasca Advocate, Strathmore Standard, Provost News, Wainwright Edge, Drumheller Mail, and Lethbridge Community College’s Endeavour.

While they have yet to announce the winners, three writers, one photographer, one cartoonist, and a team of reporters are among the Alberta nominees for the 2009 Canadian Newspaper Association National Newspaper Awards:

Beat Reporting: Michelle Lang, Calgary Herald, for health and medicine coverage

Arts and Entertainment: Elizabeth Withey, Edmonton Journal, for stories of three Canadian artists, two in music and one author

Feature Photography: Ian Martens, Lethbridge Herald, for a shot of a full moon as a backdrop for a wedding photograph being taken by another photographer

Editorial Cartooning: John B. Larter, Calgary Herald

News Photography: Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald, for a photo of a distraught woman who has just learned her son was the victim of a murder.

Breaking News: Calgary Herald team’s coverage of the Lall family murders


saturday night’s all right for voting…

Ladies and Gentlemen, two very important contests underway in Alberta as we speak and it’s important that you get out and vote!

1) Check out CTVs Media Idol Calgary and vote for the Calgary Sun‘s Dave Breakenridge for his stunning rendition of “twinkle twinkle.”

2) Tyler Daignault is facing some tough competition in SONIC 102.9 Monster Jam contest and he needs your vote to get to the top!

Ed Stelmach Media Paul Stanway Public Affairs Bureau Tom Olsen

the media becomes media affairs.

Not to totally regurgitate an Alberta’s Public Affairs Bureau media release, but this is somewhat significant news:

Edmonton… Two veteran journalists will join Premier Ed Stelmach’s office in key communications roles. Premier Stelmach announced the appointment of Paul Stanway as Director of Communications and Tom Olsen as Director of Media Relations.

Tom Olsen and Paul Stanway are two well-known very predictably Conservative columnists from conservative Calgary newspapers. Olsen’s brother worked as part of Ralph Klein’s communications team back in the 1990’s. Other than bringing in two right-wing media pundits into his inner circle, it’s too early to tell how this move will turn out for Stelmach. I guess it may depend on how good of a relationship these two actually have with their soon to be former collegues.

It should also be interesting to look up what Stelmach’s two new spin-doctors have written about him in the past. Google is both a wonderful and dangerous thing.