EdNews Awards

April 24, 2012
Laura Harris, ATA News Staff

Stuart Gradon’s award-winning photo captures the expressions of elation in the team members of the Dr. E.P. Scarlett Lancers at winning the provincial championship.

Hot topics in education vied for journalism and photography awards

“Education is often a hot ­topic, but it’s also an ­extremely complex topic, and in 2011, Alberta’s education writers and photographers did a superb job covering a wide range of subjects that were balanced and compelling,” said Jonathan ­Teghtmeyer, ATA associate ­coordinator, Communications.

“Competition was stiff. The submissions were of a high quality, and that is great news for the ATA and organizations with a stake in education because excellent reporting raises awareness and creates an understanding of education issues—and education affects all Albertans whether or not they have children in the system.”

There were only four ­categories, but the Association ­announced six winners of its 2011 Education News Writers and Photographers of Alberta (EdNews) Awards.

Education writers from the ­Edmonton Journal and the Medicine Hat News tied for top honours in the daily newspaper category, as did photographers from the Edmonton Journal and the Calgary Herald.

Journalism—Daily Newspaper

Andrea Sands, Edmonton Journal

Sands took on hot-button topics such as Edmonton Public Schools’ new guidelines for dealing with bullying and other issues related to sexual orientation; the plight of schools barely a year old that already need modular add-ons to meet fast-growing enrolment; recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in public schools; and an alternative school program that foregoes technology and instead use stories, three-dimensional objects and music to teach lessons.

The article on the Lord’s Prayer stood out for one judge, who praised Sands’ ability to look at all sides of the issue and “bring out the personal depth of feeling” on a highly sensitive issue.

Amanda Stephenson, Medicine Hat News

Stephenson looked at the pros and cons of technology; the challenges faced by some students and parents with Alberta’s math curriculum; the unique effects of the 2011 provincial budget on the Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD); and the concerns of PRSD and parents of Prairie Rose students as they seek coping strategies in the aftermath of the 2011 budget.

Speaking of the article on the budget aftermath for PRSD, one judge commended Stephenson for conveying “empathy with rural parents in this difficult situation in balance with the position and intentions of the district administration.”

Journalism—Weekly Newspaper

Kevin Maimann, Edmonton Examiner

It is the second win in a row in this EdNews category for Maimann. Again, he took readers into various schools and provided an up-close-and-personal look at what is going on in classrooms. In 2011, stories included the wraparound service program “The Way In” that helped students with issues affecting their mental health; a volunteer mentoring program and its impact on students; the decision to continue funding the wraparound service program; and the successful inclusion of a kindergarten student with special needs into daily classroom life.

Judges were impressed with Maimann’s research. One noted that the “content of [Maimann’s] stories demonstrates he spent a lot of time in the schools learning about the programs and getting to know his subjects.”

Photography—Daily Newspaper

Stuart Gradon, Calgary Herald

Anyone who has watched athletes interviewed after a ­championship win knows they are usually at a loss for words when asked how they feel, even though it’s written all over their faces. Gradon’s photo likely captured everything the team members of the Dr. E.P. Scarlett Lancers could have said about their provincial championship and more.

Said one judge, “Looking at this photo, one cannot help but go from one expression of elation to the next.”

Larry Wong, Edmonton Journal

Wong’s photograph of the school girls ­placing ­poppies on the headstones of ­Canadian ­soldiers in a ­local Edmonton cemetery was as thoughtful as Gradon’s photo was spontaneous.

“Once again, Larry Wong captures the essence of the story brilliantly,” said a judge. “It is a thought-provoking entrance into a story about student participation in a meaningful ­Remembrance Day ceremony.”

Larry Wong’s award-winning photograph is a thought-provoking entrance into a story about student participation in a meaningful ­Remembrance Day ceremony.

Photography—Weekly Newspaper

Jeremy Broadfield, Cochrane Eagle

When you capture that split-second a human being is lying horizontal on the head of another human being, while incredibly high in the air, it’s magic—and it’s usually a football game. Broadfield was lucky enough to catch that moment and win this year’s weekly newspaper photography award.

“The dry grass and red and white uniforms make the perfect backdrop for the one and only player in a green uniform attempting to hold onto the football,” said a judge. “I really enjoyed the way this picture was composed!”

The EdNews Awards were initiated in 1980 to recognize the important role that Alberta ­newspapers play in promoting awareness of public education ­issues, events and achievements.