Janice McDonald and Sarah Gawdin accept the 2019 Newspaper Excellence Award at the Ma Murray Gala on April. 27. This is the second year in a row the Hope Standard has won this award. (Submitted)

Janice McDonald and Sarah Gawdin accept the 2019 Newspaper Excellence Award at the Ma Murray Gala on April. 27. This is the second year in a row the Hope Standard has won this award. (Submitted)

The little paper that could: The Hope Standard wins GOLD for newspaper excellence

For second year in a row, The Standard has won the top spot at the BCYCNAs

She didn’t have much of an education, but there was no shortage of intelligence or spunk when it came to Margaret “Ma” Lally Murray, who made a name for herself in the British Columbian newspaper business in the mid 19th century.

Now, nearly 30 years after her passing, journalists from across the province gather annually at the Ma Murray Community News Media Awards to not only celebrate the industry, but to honour the amazing work of those who write the stories their communities care the most about.

And this year, for the second time in a row, The Hope Standard came in first in the Newspaper Excellence Award category for papers of comparable size. The Revelstoke Review and North Island Gazette came in second and third, respectively.

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“We are the little paper that could,” commented Janice McDonald, a long-time Hope Standard employee, when she stepped on stage to help accept the award along side The Standard’s journalist, Sarah Gawdin.

“The Hope Standard definitely sets the bar high, boasting an excellent front page and strongest (sic) community news,” wrote the judges in their summary explaining why The Standard had earned itself gold in newspaper excellence. And with “excellent community involvement… (and a) good design (that’s) easy to read and navigate, (there are) lots of reasons for locals to grab a paper each week.”

And grab they do: each week The Hope Standard prints 1,500 issues, which get distributed to local subscribers and businesses for sale.

“Our readers are dedicated and involved in our newspaper,” said Gawdin. “They visit our office, they call, and write letters. They’re how we deliver the news we do: by keeping us in the loop, it’s almost as if our one-person newsroom can be everywhere at once.

“But none of this would have been possible without the hard work of Emelie Peacock, the paper’s previous editor.”

Community news is like a pie, Peacock said to Gawdin when she was handing over the reins: you need a slice of news, a slice of business, a slice of entertainment, a slice of sports, and a slice of community happenings. By delivering a bit of everything that’s going on, you can keep the community apprised about just about everything.

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The Standard doesn’t shy away from holding politicians to account, but at the same time, (it has) to include the positive things, too,” Peacock explained.

“With the newspaper industry being what it is, and with journalism being under attack, The Hope Standard is an example of why journalism matters,” continued Peacock during a telephone interview from Yellowknife.

“Journalism really matters at a local level, and that’s where it does its job really well.”

So when she heard The Standard had won a Newspaper Excellence Award at the Ma Murray’s this year, Peacock said she felt like a “proud mamma. Once you hold that amount of responsibility in your hands, and once you get to know a community and immerse yourself that much—even if only for a year—the paper feels like more than just a product, it’s almost like a baby of yours that you’re taking care of.

“So this is wonderful news. The paper was a great product before I came there, and I just continued to put out a paper the community deserved, so I am glad to see it get the recognition it deserves a second year in a row.”

The Standard publishes weekly on Thursdays, but is always available online at www.HopeStandard.com.


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