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Vernon Morning Star shines at awards

Vernon newspaper collects excellence award, founder honoured
Jennifer Smith shows off the bronze finish in general excellence for The Morning Star at the Ma Murray Community Newspaper Awards in Richmond Saturday. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

The Morning Star is glowing bronze.

The Vernon team picked up a third-place award at the 2018 Ma Murray Community Newspaper Awards in Richmond Saturday at the River Rock Resort.

Competing in the highest category, The Morning Star was up against larger centre newspapers such as the North Shore News (which placed first) and Vancouver Courier (second).

Only a fraction of a point behind the second place finish, The Morning Star earned top marks above its competition for its opinion and editorial page, local features, sports, advertising content and design and classified advertising.

“The Morning Star’s local focus makes community news shine,” the judges’ remarks read. “The front page offers a good story with bold heading and well-cropped, powerful images. Layout is clean and easy to follow. Coverage of local news, sports and arts and entertainment is very strong, with great use of cartoon and viewpoints in the editorial section.

“Great writing overall.”

For a full list of nominees see Black Press nominated

The Morning Star’s new editor also earned silver at the awards for his powerful column about bullying — which he wrote while editor of The Castlegar News.

“John White demonstrates his strong writing ability in tackling two vastly different issues, taking on one with humour and the other with compelling seriousness,” read the judges’ remarks. “In the serious piece, his personal remembrance is melded with research, which takes the column beyond simple navel-gazing.”

The spotlight was on Morning Star co-founder Don Kendall earned the Eric Dunning Award for Dedication and Service to the Community Newspaper Industry.

Four decades in community journalism includes the creation of this award-winning newspaper, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

“I discovered at a young age that I had ink in my blood,” said Kendall, who started delivering the Star Weekly in Vancouver at age eight with an aspiration to become the sports editor at the Vancouver Sun.

“It was a great career, I was challenged, I was inspired, I was rewarded and I was thankful,” he said, thanking his wife for sticking by his side, even helping to stuff flyers and deliver newspapers when needed, along with their five children.

“I’ll never forget the first night we watched The Morning Star roll off the press in Vernon, it was like having another kid.”

During his time in Vernon, The Star earned second place in the Canadian Community Newspaper Awards twice — both times losing to the North Shore News.

Kendall sold The Morning Star to Black Press in 1989, but remained as publisher, and became friends with owner David Black.

“His unwavering belief in newspapers and this company taught me that defeat is not an option,” said Kendall, who visited over 70 Black Press offices in two provinces and four states in over 30 years.

That dedication to newspapers is echoed by another award-winner with Vernon ties.

Karen Hill, former Morning Star publisher and current director of sales for the B.C. southern interior, earned a Silver Quill award for 25 years of service. Hill and former Kelowna Capital News editor Kevin Parnell also earned a Ma Murray community service award for their special publication, a volunteer resource titled Get Involved.

Further brass was earned in Kelowna by senior reporter Barry Gerding (who recently spent some time in Vernon lending a hand) and Okanagan digital reporter Jen Zielinski for a breaking news video following the Okanagan Centre wildfire in Lake Country last July.

Zielinski was also recognized with the Penticton Western News gold and silver win for multimedia breaking news story award.


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Jennifer Smith and Tracy Hughes, Salmon Arm Observer editor, glam it up on the red carpet at the Community Newspaper Awards in Richmond Saturday. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)
Morning Star editor John White and reporter Jennifer Smith picked up honours at the Ma Murray Community Newspaper Awards in Richmond Saturday. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)
Former Vernon Morning Star publisher Karen Hill was among those who earned a Silver Quill at the Community Newspaper Awards Saturday at the River Rock Resort. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)
Morning Star co-founder Don Kendall was honoured at the Ma Murray Community Newspaper Awards in Richmond Saturday. (Jennifer Smith/Morning Star)

Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

20-year-Morning Star veteran
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