Améli Pineda and Magdaline Boutros of Le Devoir named journalists of the year in 2021 National Newspaper Awards; 17 journalists are first-time winners

Améli Pineda and Magdaline Boutros of Le Devoir were named journalists of the year as the 2021 National Newspaper Awards were announced, marking the first time the award has gone to more than one journalist.

Pineda and Boutros, who won the Beat Reporting category, were among 15 category winners considered for recognition as Journalist of the Year. Only individual winners and two-person teams are eligible for the honour. The seven previous Journalists of the Year were individual entrants.

In addition to teaming up with Pineda in Beat Reporting, Boutros was also a finalist in International Reporting and (with colleague Ulysse Bergeron) in Sustained News Coverage.

Pineda and Boutros won for in-depth coverage of domestic violence in Quebec. The three Journalist of the Year judges said their work on feminicide and its ramifications, especially for children left behind, reminded us that to live free from fear is an unfulfilled promise for many. They called it an eloquent demonstration of journalism’s ability to bring truth to those who hold the power to change society for the better.

Pineda and Boutros are both first-time winners. A total of 17 journalists won an NNA for the first time. A complete list of this year’s winners are available here.

Among the first-time winners, Evan Buhler of RMO Today won twice: in Feature Photo and in Local Reporting, where he was part of a team with Tanya Foubert and Greg Colgan.

RMO Today, based in Canmore, Alta., was one of two organizations to have journalists honoured for the first time. Tori Marlan’s win in the Long Feature category was a first for Capital Daily, a news outlet in Victoria.

Karyn Pugliese won her first National Newspaper Award, and just the second for the National Observer, in the Columns category for gut-wrenching columns about Canada’s residential school scandal.

Marcus Gee of the Globe and Mail was the only other double winner, taking home top honours in Short Feature and Sustained News Coverage, a team effort with colleagues Andrea Woo and Ian Brown. It was the sixth NNA for Gee, the fifth for Brown and the second for Woo.

The Globe and Mail’s Grant Robertson won for the eighth time, equalling Serge Chapleau, Jacquie McNish and Stephanie Nolen for the most wins all-time. Robertson was selected in the Sports category for his joint submission with first-time winner Rachel Brady.

Bruce MacKinnon of the Halifax Chronicle Herald (Editorial Cartooning) and Mark MacKinnon of the Globe and Mail (International Reporting) each won for seventh time.

The Globe and Mail led all organizations with 10 wins among the 22 categories. The Halifax Chronicle Herald, RMO Today and the Toronto Star each had two. The Canadian Press, Capital Daily, Le Devoir, the London Free Press, the National Observer and La Presse each had one win.

There were 66 finalists from 22 news organizations in 22 categories. Finalists and winners were selected by three-judge panels in each category from 869 entries submitted for work published for the first time in 2021.

This is the 73rd year for the awards program, and the 33rd under the current administrative structure. The awards were established by the Toronto Press Club in 1949 to encourage excellence and reward achievement in daily newspaper work in Canada. The competition is now open to newspapers, news agencies and online news sites approved for entry by the NNA Board of Governors.