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Vernon newspaper golden at B.C. awards gala

Morning Star named best in its circuation category at annual BCYCNA Ma Murray event in Richmond
Reporter Brendan Shykora (left) and group publisher Karen Hill accept the gold award won by the Morning Star for general excellence in its circulation category Saturday, May 14th, at the 100th anniversary B.C. Yukon Community Newspaper Association Ma Murray Awards Gala in Richmond. (youtube screen shot)

Vernon’s community newspaper and its online branch is among B.C.’s finest.

The Morning Star won gold in its circulation category for general excellence at the 2022 B.C. Community Yukon Newspaper Association’s annual Ma Murray Awards, presented Saturday, May 14, at the River Rock Casino and Resort in Richmond.

The Morning Star defeated fellow Black Press publications Peach Arch News of White Rock (silver) and the Cowichan Valley Citizen from Duncan (bronze) in circulation Category F.

“The Morning Star has an engaging front page with catchy writing and good digital prompts,” said the judges. “Strong local features and overall organization. Great design with ads that integrate well with stories in the layout…”

Former publisher Karen Hill, now a Black Press group publisher based in Kelowna, and current reporter Brendan Shykora accepted the award.

“The Morning Star team puts a great deal of effort into everything they do every single day,” said Hill.

The Morning Star has been nominated in its category for top-three in eight of the past 10 years, but this marked the first time the publication has won gold. Since 1998, the local paper has picked up five silver and five bronze awards in one of the largest circulation categories in B.C. and the Yukon.

“We have a fabulous team there,” said Hill. “Most of them have been with Black Press for a very long time. Thank you to everyone.”

Reporter Roger Knox was recognized with a Silver Quill award for his 25 years of service in the community newspaper industry.

Interim editor Jennifer Smith won a bronze certificate in the KPU (Kwantlen Polytechnic University) Breaking News Video award for her work covering the Halloween morning fire and its aftermath that destroyed Vernon’s North Valley Gymnastics Society’s facility on 31st Street.

(Smith’s category can be found at 1:37:12, and the General Excellence Award is presented at 2:24.19)

“I’m so proud of the work our editorial team does on a daily basis, and the same goes for everybody at the Morning Star,” said current publisher Chris Mackie. “Our entire team here, along with our hub in Kelowna, have produced amazing products during some very trying times. It’s nice to see us get recognized for that hard work.”

A total of 13 Black Press publications were nominated for 21 General Excellence awards. The Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News, Revelstoke Review and Gulf Island Driftwood joined The Morning Star in winning gold.

The gala Saturday was the 100th anniversary of the Ma Murray Awards, recognizing the achievements of the association’s 93 member newspapers and their digital media.

READ MORE: Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

READ MORE: Vernon Morning Star shines at awards

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