Toronto Star nominated for seven National Newspaper Awards


The Toronto Star has been nominated for seven National Newspaper Awards, one of the highest honours in Canadian journalism, including two nominations for coverage of the Raptors’ championship run.

A team from Torstar publication Hamilton Spectator has also been nominated in the politics category.

“Journalism is such a public endeavour but what the public rarely has a chance to see is the heart, grit and sheer determination that goes into work like this, from setting up the perfect shot to hitting the perfect tone to painstaking research, documentation, court fights and interviews,” said Irene Gentle, the Star’s editor-in-chief. “Whole teams of journalists put their all into this work and it is terrific to see it recognized. Congratulations to all nominees, who continually prove with their work that journalism matters.”

The Star’s Jesse McLean and David Bruser are nominated in the business category — with Marie-Eve Fournier, Katia Gagnon and Stéphanie Grammond of La Presse — for their collaborative investigation that revealed one in five Canadians who file for bankruptcy are doing it for at least the second time.

This is Bruser’s seventh NNA nomination.

The Star’s “Operation Transparency” was nominated for project of the year. The Star’s project, five years in the making, revealed how much doctors were billing the provincial health plan and created a database to allow readers to access that information online.

Cameron Tulk, Nathan Pilla, McKenna Deighton, Andres Plana and Tania Pereira were nominated in the presentation/design category for their work in the Undeniable series, which showcased to readers the effects of climate change across the country.

Edward Keenan was nominated for his columns discussing life and politics in Toronto.

Josh Rubin got the nod in the short feature category for his story on Canadian food truck drivers caught in the drama of a U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.

The Star was honoured twice for coverage of the Raptors run to the championship — Bruce Arthur for his columns and photographer Rick Madonik for his action picture of guard Kyle Lowry in Game 6 of Toronto’s historic win over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Final.

The Star’s sister paper, the Hamilton Spectator, was nominated in the politics category. Steve Buist, Matthew Van Dongen, Teviah Moro and Andrew Dreschel’s reporting showed 24 billion litres of untreated sewage had made it into sensitive wetlands over the past four years, though Hamilton’s city councillors had chosen to keep the spill a secret.

This is the ninth time Buist has been nominated for an NNA.

The Globe and Mail led all publications with 19, and Montreal digital daily La Presse racked up 10 nominations.

The nominations across 21 categories were selected from 774 entries for work published in 2019. Organizers said Wednesday that the winners will be announced next month.

Here is the full list of nominees:

Arts and Entertainment

  • Erin Lebar, Winnipeg Free Press, for a revealing portrait of Begonia, an emerging artist from the city’s music scene.
  • Marsha Lederman, Globe and Mail, for a meditation on art and climate change, and a feature about Margaret Atwood’s frenzied activity after the death of her life partner.
  • Kevin Mitchell, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, for a two-part series on the joys and tribulations of being a vinyl record collector.

Beat Reporting

  • Kelly Grant, Globe and Mail, for reporting she did on pharmacare and medically assisted dying as part of her health beat coverage.
  • Ariane Lacoursière, La Presse, for exclusive and in-depth stories related to the health-care system.
  • Alanna Smith, Calgary Herald, for a package of stories showcasing her work covering domestic violence.

Breaking News

  • Renata D’Aliesio, Melissa Tait, Ian Bailey and Andrea Woo, Globe and Mail, for coverage of the sudden end to a weeks-long search for two teenagers suspected of killing three individuals in British Columbia.
  • A team of Ottawa Citizen journalists for coverage of the crash of a double-decker bus packed with commuters into a steel awning at a transit station, killing three passengers and injuring 23 others.
  • Thomas Dufour, Audrey Ruel-Manseau and Ariane Lacoursière, La Presse, for reporting on the death of a runner in a marathon race, the lengthy wait before emergency services arrived, and the race-planning problems that contributed to the death.

Breaking News Photo

  • Wayne Cuddington, Ottawa Citizen, for a photo of a distraught woman being attended to by a police officer after a man was gunned down in the city’s Byward Market.
  • Derek Ruttan, London Free Press, for a photograph showing police officers confronting a man armed with a large hunting knife.
  • Melissa Tait, Globe and Mail, for capturing the image of a casket, carrying the body of a young man who had been the subject of a weeks-long search, as it was loaded into an RCMP plane in rural Manitoba.


  • Danielle Bochove, Bloomberg News, for stories about the changing nature of automotive work and the way climate change stands to unlock vast natural resources in Canada’s far North.
  • Geoffrey York, Matthew McClearn and Stephanie Nolen, Globe and Mail, for an in-depth investigation into the lending practices and other activities of Export Development Canada.
  • Jesse McLean and David Bruser, Toronto Star, and Marie-Eve Fournier, Katia Gagnon and Stéphanie Grammond, La Presse, for a joint investigation revealing that one in five Canadians who file for bankruptcy are doing it for at least the second time.


  • Isabelle Hachey, La Presse, for columns about a controversial doctor/politician, the misfortunes of a traditional village storyteller, and the injustice caused by the reform of an immigration program.
  • Edward Keenan, Toronto Star, for columns about life, and politics, in Canada’s biggest city.
  • Melissa Martin, Winnipeg Free Press, for two columns related to missing and murdered Indigenous women, and a deeply personal reflection that emerged from a horrifying experience of turbulence while flying home from Japan.

Editorial Cartooning

  • Serge Chapleau, La Presse
  • Brian Gable, Globe and Mail
  • Bruce MacKinnon, Halifax Chronicle Herald


  • Marie-Andrée Chouinard, Le Devoir, for editorials about the École Polytechnique tragedy, a massacre in Christchurch, N.Z., and an author who openly advocated pedophilia.
  • Paul Journet, La Presse, for editorials on federal election spending promises, the pragmatic way young people view environmental issues, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “blackface” scandal.
  • Peter Scowen, Globe and Mail, for editorials about the fire at Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral, the need for healthy and sustained diversity, and pending changes to the law on medically assisted death.
  • Renata D’Aliesio and Melissa Tait, Globe and Mail, for reporting that showed how close the RCMP came to pulling out of the area around Gillam, Man., without finding two fugitives, and the essential role a Cree trapper played in ending the search.
  • Grant Robertson and Matthew McClearn, Globe and Mail, for explaining why unexploded ordnance – bombs, mortars and other munitions used during training exercises, and never detonated – has become one of the biggest financial concerns hanging over the Department of National Defence.
  • Daphné Cameron et Martin Tremblay, La Presse, for revealing how science, policy and agricultural practice work together to boost pesticides to dangerous levels, and why regulations about this aren’t enforced.

Feature Photo

  • Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press, for the image of a young boy silhouetted while swimming in a glass bottom pool 60 metres above street level at a condo tower in Vancouver.
  • Julie Oliver, Ottawa Citizen, for a photo of three campers braving chilly summer weather to take a dip at a nudist colony.

Dan Riedlhuber, St. Albert Gazette, for an image of a seven-year-old crashing into a curb and spinning during a soapbox derby.

General News Photo

  • Jacques Nadeau, Le Devoir, for his photo of a man being apprehended during a climate protest.
  • Francisco Proner, Globe and Mail, for an image, shot by drone, showing a car trapped in a sea of mud and mining detritus after a dam burst in Brazil.
  • Andrew Vaughan, Canadian Press, for a picture of a man watching the impact of Hurricane Dorian along the Halifax harbour.


  • Nathan VanderKlippe, Globe and Mail, for travelling across Asia to uncover deeply personal accounts of persecution faced by Uighurs, Kashmiris and Rohingya.

Get more of the Star in your inbox

Never miss the latest news from the Star. Sign up for our newsletters to get today’s top stories, your favourite columnists and lots more in your email inbox

Sign Up Now

  • Geoffrey York, Globe and Mail, for stories on the emerging conflicts between China and the United States playing out in the African country of Djibouti.
  • Geoffrey York, Globe and Mail, for stories exposing the realities of Sudan, a heavily militarized dictatorship and one of the world’s most difficult countries to penetrate and understand.


  • Katia Gagnon, La Presse, for a shocking exposé of medical errors that caused the deaths of 200 elderly or vulnerable Quebecers.
  • Randy Richmond, London Free Press, for a series exposing how a police officer punched, kicked, stomped and choked a woman, how his fellow officers failed to stop the abuse, and how police spun it all into a misleading story about a dangerous suspect who had assaulted an officer.
  • Kathy Tomlinson, Globe and Mail, for revealing astonishing and brazen exploitation in the immigration industry that has allowed unscrupulous recruiters, consultants and employers to make fortunes off newcomers while governments and regulators look the other way.

Local Reporting

  • Aaron Beswick, Halifax Chronicle Herald, for a series that addressed the environmental, economic and political considerations facing the Nova Scotia government in deciding whether to shut down a pulp mill that had been polluting for decades but gave well-paid jobs to hundreds of people.
  • Nick Dunne, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder, for digging into the mostly untold story of code talkers’ assistance for the allies in the Second World War, an effort that evolved into a broader consideration of the Mohawk language.
  • Randy Richmond, London Free Press, for a series exposing how a police officer punched, kicked, stomped and choked a woman, how his fellow officers failed to stop the abuse, and how police spun it all into a misleading story about a dangerous suspect who had assaulted an officer.

Long Feature

  • Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen, for “Six on a Bus,” a gripping narrative about the harrowing experience of passengers on a city bus that smashed into an awning in a crash that left three people dead and 23 injured.
  • Sammy Hudes, Calgary Herald, for a feature recounting the complicated journey to recovery experienced by a hockey player left paralyzed after the deadly crash of the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus.
  • Ryan Thorpe, Winnipeg Free Press, for documenting the sorrow and despair largely hidden from most Winnipeggers who speed past a neighbourhood that appears to be ground zero for the city’s street drugs and gang violence.


  • Robert Fife, Steven Chase, Sean Fine and Daniel Leblanc, Globe and Mail, for breaking the news that the Prime Minister’s Office had pressured the justice minister to abandon prosecution of SNC-Lavalin, and a series of followup reports as the ensuing scandal grew.
  • A Globe and Mail team for reports from across the country that exposed how private entities exploit loopholes in election spending laws.
  • Steve Buist, Matthew Van Dongen, Teviah Moro and Andrew Dreschel, Hamilton Spectator, for stories revealing that 24 billion litres of untreated sewage had escaped into a sensitive wetland area over four years, and that city councillors had chosen to keep it all a secret.


  • Laura Blenkinsop and Christopher Manza, Globe and Mail, for a deeply interactive presentation intended to help readers understand the dangers of distracted driving.
  • Maxime Jean, La Presse, for a creative look back at the first moon landing 50 years ago, specially formatted for immersive interaction on iPads.
  • Cameron Tulk, Nathan Pilla, McKenna Deighton, Andres Plana and Tania Pereira, Toronto Star, for a presentation that helped readers experience the significant, sometimes terrifying effects of a changing climate.

Project of the Year

  • Globe and Mail for a yearlong project to identify key gaps in the way data are gathered and analyzed in Canada, and to investigate why the data-collection system is so fragmented and inaccessible.
  • London Free Press for “Face It,” a project that explored a multitude of issues faced by those living on the margins in London, from drug-related diseases to a shortage of affordable housing to a scarcity of jobs.
  • Toronto Star for “Operation Transparency,” the culmination of a five-year effort to discover how much individual doctors bill the provincial health plan, and to create searchable databases allowing readers to access that information.

Short Feature

  • Caroline Alphonso, Globe and Mail, for taking readers inside a school where educators do their best to make the learning environment supportive for children battling debilitating illnesses.
  • Louise Dickson, Victoria Times Colonist, for a rollicking tale about how a motley assortment of characters face death.
  • Josh Rubin, Toronto Star, for the story of a Canadian food truck whose owners found themselves unexpectedly caught in the middle of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.


  • Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star, for three columns about the Toronto Raptors’ journey to the NBA championship.
  • Alexandre Pratt, La Presse, for a story about a Black player who was subjected to racist abuse during a semi-professional hockey game, and the ensuing fallout.
  • Dan Robson, the Athletic, for long-form features about the sudden death of former hockey star Ray Emery, the sometimes-troubled journey of the only Inuk to make it to the NHL, and the possibility that head-related injuries from their hockey careers had contributed to the deaths of two retired players.

Sports Photo

  • Stan Behal, Toronto Sun, for a picture of a series-winning basket by Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, captured in the split-second before the ball fell through the hoop.
  • Jason Franson, Canadian Press, for a graphic image of eye-gouging action in mixed martial arts.
  • Rick Madonik, Toronto Star, for a photo of the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry, surrounded by the hands of teammates and opponents.

Nominated entries can be viewed at the NNA website at The link to the nominated entries can be found on the right side of the home page, just below the photo of the 2018 Journalist of the Year.

This story was corrected from a previous version in which two categories were misstated.

With files from The Canadian Press