Journalists Marissa Lentz and Victoria Gibson have been selected as the two recipients of the 30th annual Hon. Edward Goff Penny Memorial Prizes for Young Canadian Journalists.
In the small market category, reporter Marissa Lentz won for her work published in The Peterborough Examiner. Her entry submission included various COVID-19 stories: a look into the financial impact the pandemic has had on real estate sales in the Peterborough and Kawartha Lakes region, how cottagers were barred from Hiawatha First Nation to prevent spread of the virus and the ongoing issues with GTA day-trippers at Burleigh Falls, a popular tourist attraction, such as overcrowding and unsanitary conditions, resulting in its closure.
Prior to starting her role as a reporter with Kawartha Lakes This Week, Lentz graduated from Ryerson University’s journalism program with a minor in sociology in 2020. Shortly after graduating, she obtained a position as an Local Journalism Reporter with The Peterborough Examiner. Some of her articles can be found in The Toronto Star, Global News, and CP24.
Kennedy Gordon, Managing Editor of The Peterborough Examiner said:
“Marissa joined us right at the beginning of the pandemic, and despite the challenges that it posed, quickly established herself as a leading local journalist – so much so that her time with us on contract led to a full-time position at Kawartha Lakes This Week, our company’s paper in neighbouring Lindsay. I was sad to see her go, but its good news for readers there.”
In the large market category, reporter Victoria Gibson won for her work published in the Toronto Star. Her entry submission included a variety of affordable housing stories: a deep look into the stunning growth of child homelessness with an intimate picture of how children cope in shelters, a feature on the hundreds of Toronto babies born into homelessness each year, a story on why women living in homeless encampments choose the outdoors over indoor shelters and a piece looking into of the life and unnoticed death of once homeless Calvin Little.
Gibson is a reporter at the Toronto Star, where she covers affordable and precarious housing in the Greater Toronto Area – a beat that includes coverage of homelessness and the shelter system. She has previously reported for iPolitics’ Queen’s Park bureau, the Globe and Mail’s national and business teams, and for the Kingston Whig Standard, after catching the newspaper bug at The Queen’s Journal. She has been nominated for an Ontario Newspaper Award and, with a newsroom team, for a National Newspaper Award and an Online Journalism Award. This is her second Goff Penny Award, having also won for her work in 2018.
Doug Cudmore, Senior Toronto Editor of the Toronto Star said:
“Victoria combines two fantastic traits – a dogged pursuit of important stories, and a passion for exposing the plight of the city’s most vulnerable citizens. That unique combination is reflected in her work. We’re so fortunate that this is an award for young journalists, meaning we can look forward to many more of her stories in the future. Our thanks to News Media Canada and the Penny estate.”
Winning works from these outstanding journalists can be viewed here.
The Goff Penny Awards honour outstanding work published in daily newspapers by young Canadian journalists aged 20 to 25. News Media Canada thanks all of the young journalists and judges who participated in this year’s competition.