The Nelson Star won five awards at this year’s Ma Murray Awards in an online event on June 10.
Reporter Tyler Harper’s story Dangerous oasis: The fatal history of a popular Kootenay Lake beach won first place in the Feature Article Award category for papers under 10,000 circulation.
“This story highlights a danger that cost one man his life in a place that is frequented by many people in our community,” Harper said. “I hope if people continue to use Six Mile Beach they keep my story in mind.”
His story Lily and the lake: How a young B.C. girl with Down syndrome swam to her dream, won the Outdoor Recreation Writing award at this year’s Ma Murrays, and his photograph of the story’s protagonists Lily Nay and Ida Jenss won the Feature Photo Award (circulation under 10,000).
“Lily Nay is my hero,” Harper said. “I think what she did was remarkable and gave our community something to cheer for during a very difficult year.”
The Ma Murray Awards are presented annually by the B.C. and Yukon Community News Association, which has 93 member papers ranging in circulation from 1,000 copies per week to 100,000. The awards are named for Margaret (Ma) Murray, a colourful B.C. newspaper editor and publisher who was active from the 1930s until the 1980s.
Covid Coverage – Editorial (under 10,000) was a new category at the Ma Murrays this year. Harper won for his series entitled Ramadan in a Pandemic.
His two stories showed how British Columbians were marking Islam’s holy month during the lockdown as well as how a Nelson man was working with Doctors Without Borders in Pakistan where participants tried to celebrate safely.
“Not being able to celebrate Ramadan in person was difficult for many British Columbians, which is something I tried to highlight and pay respect to in the story,” Harper said.
Bill Metcalfe’s story Youth climate strikers reach 53 weeks, which profiled Nelson teens Ginger Osecki and Calypso Blackman’s year of weekly climate protests in front of city hall, took second place in the Environmental Initiatives category.
“I was struck by how mature and focused these 14-year-olds were,” said Metcalfe. “I was glad to be able to convey that to our readers.”