Skip to content

Here is a list of the 2020 National Newspaper Award finalists and winners

The National Newspaper Awards for 2020 were handed out virtually on Friday night.

The National Newspaper Awards for 2020 were handed out virtually on Friday night. Here is a complete list of winners and finalists:

Arts and Entertainment 

Winner: Johanna Schneller, Globe and Mail, for columns tackling the subject of gender identity and gender politics in the arts world.

Finalists: Améli Pineda, Le Devoir, for an investigation into accusations by nine women about assault or sexual misconduct by comedian Julien Lacroix; Jean Siag, La Presse, for articles about sexual abuse and misconduct in the circus industry.

E. Cora Hind Award for Beat Reporting 

Winner: Ariane Lacoursière, La Presse, for her work covering health and in particular COVID-19.

Finalists: Aaron Derfel, Montreal Gazette, for his work on the health and COVID-19 beat; Leah Gerber, Waterloo Region Record, for her work on the environment beat, with a focus on the Grand River watershed.

Breaking News 

Winner: The Canadian Press for coverage of the shocking killing rampage that left 22 people dead in Nova Scotia.

Finalists: The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star, both for coverage of the shooting down of a passenger jet in Iran that killed 176 people, including dozens of Canadians.

Breaking News Photo 

Winner: Andrew Vaughan, Canadian Press, for a photo of the body of Gabriel Wortman, shot and killed by police at a gas station after he killed 22 people during a 13-hour rampage in Nova Scotia.

Finalists: Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press, for a photograph of two men clashing at a Black Lives Matter protest in Vancouver; Chris Young, Canadian Press, for a picture showing the anguish of a man as authorities broke up an encampment inhabited by homeless persons in downtown Toronto.


Winners: Kenyon Wallace, Marco Chown Oved, Ed Tubb and Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star, for uncovering the fact that death rates from COVID-19 were higher in for-profit homes than in other types of long-term care residences.

Finalists: Tom Blackwell, National Post, for a report connecting the dots between the demise of Nortel and the rise of Huawei; Kathryn Blaze Baum, Tavia Grant and Carrie Tait, Globe and Mail, for shining a light on how the health and safety of some workers in Canada’s food-supply chain were compromised during the pandemic.


Winner: André Picard, Globe and Mail

Finalists: Isabelle Hachey, La Presse; Richard Warnica, National Post

Editorial Cartooning 

Winner: Michael de Adder, Halifax Chronicle Herald/Toronto Star 

Finalists: Graeme MacKay, Hamilton Spectator; Bruce MacKinnon, Halifax Chronicle Herald

Claude Ryan Award for Editorial Writing 

Winner: Ryan Stelter, Kenora Miner and News

Finalists: François Cardinal, La Presse; Heather Persson, Saskatoon StarPhoenix/Regina Leader-Post

Explanatory Work 

Winner: Tristan Péloquin, La Presse, for concretely explaining the risks and pitfalls associated with artificial intelligence technologies such as facial recognition.

Finalists: Kate Allen, Rachel Mendleson, Jennifer Yang and Andrew Bailey, Toronto Star, for using graphics, maps and enterprising analysis to upend assumptions about how COVID-19’s first wave spread through Toronto; Kathy Tomlinson and Grant Robertson, Globe and Mail, for mining public health documents to ask a critical question in the early days of COVID-19: “How well did the Canadian government follow its own plans”?

Feature Photo 

Winner: Nathan Denette, Canadian Press, for a photo of a woman hugging her mother through a plastic “hug glove” the woman created so the family could embrace despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Finalists: Steve Russell, Toronto Star, for an image of a couple dining on a restaurant patio despite heavy rainfall; Fred Thornhill, Canadian Press, for a picture of a paddleboarder out for an early-morning paddle on the Trent-Severn waterway.

General News Photo 

Winner: Jacques Nadeau, Le Devoir, for a photograph of life in a Quebec long-term care facility during COVID-19, including a worker in a “hazmat” suit.

Finalists: Veronica Henri, Toronto Sun, for the poignant image of a mother in a long-term care facility reaching towards her daughter through a window during a separation caused by COVID-19; Carlos Osorio, Reuters, for a picture that cleverly demonstrated different approaches to COVID-19 in Canada and the U.S.: a Canadian tour boat at Niagara Falls was limited to just six passengers, while an American boat was packed.

Norman Webster Award for International Reporting 

Winner: Nathan VanderKlippe, Globe and Mail, for coverage of repression in the Chinese region of Xianjiang.

Finalists: Tom Blackwell, National Post, for three stories that depicted Oregon’s unique role as an epicentre of human unrest and natural destruction during the U.S. election season; Mark MacKinnon, Globe and Mail, for reporting about how Vladimir Putin has changed Russia, eastern Europe and the entire world.

George Brown Award for Investigations 

Winner: Tom Cardoso, Globe and Mail, for an investigation that uncovered systemic bias against Indigenous, Black and female prisoners in Canada’s corrections system.

Finalists: Rachel Mendleson and Wendy Gillis, Toronto Star, for delving deeply into how much physical force police officers use against Canadian citizens; Grant Robertson, Globe and Mail, for uncovering considerable evidence that the federal government was unprepared for COVID-19 because its Global Public Health Intelligence Network was no longer functional.

Local Reporting 

Winner: The Saskatoon StarPhoenix for “Abandoned Saskatchewan,” an effort to come to grips with the profound metamorphosis of a province that is proud of its rural roots, yet increasingly urban.

Finalists: Karla Meza, Le Devoir, for reports exploring how COVID-19 was especially troublesome for asylum seekers looking to build a new life in Canada; Terry Pender, Waterloo Region Record, for a detailed look at how a member of a Second World War Nazi death squad avoided deportation despite overwhelming evidence, much of it kept hidden from the public.

William Southam Award for Long Feature 

Winner: Isabelle Hachey, La Presse, for “Cinq jours en zone rouge,” a first-person account of working in a COVID hospital ward.

Finalists: Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal/Edmonton Sun, for a sombre meditation on receiving, and coming to accept, a diagnosis of inoperable cancer in a year when death seems to be all around; Jana G. Pruden, Globe and Mail, for an in-depth examination of how a case involving 13 counts of sexual assault played out in court, and what that said about how the justice system grapples with such cases.

John Wesley Dafoe Award for Politics 

Winners: Bill Curry, Marieke Walsh, Paul Waldie, Geoffrey York and Jaren Kerr, Globe and Mail, for an in-depth look at the public policy questions raised by the WE scandal, and at the WE organization itself.

Finalists: Dan Fumano, Vancouver Sun, for reporting on troubling allegations of systemic racism in the Vancouver police force; Katia Gagnon, Kathleen Lévesque and Tristan Péloquin, La Presse, for a definitive portrait of “the man in shadows,” a businessman who is the Quebec Liberal party’s chief fundraiser and power broker.


Winners: Laura Blenkinsop, Jeremy Agius and Timothy Moore, Globe and Mail, for an interactive approach that helped bring readers close to the experience thousands of Mexican families have had searching for loved ones who disappeared since the start of Mexico’s “war on drugs” 15 years ago.

Finalists: Bob Bishop, Toronto Star, for a front-page design that cleverly used the 50 states of the U.S. to illustrate an election that was almost certainly not going to be decided by the time readers got their newspapers; A Globe and Mail team for an immersive experience showcasing photographs that document how Canada and its allies are bracing for an unknown future wrought by climate change in the Arctic.

Project of the Year 

Winner: Le Devoir for its efforts to document and investigate how COVID-19 affected almost every facet of life in Quebec in 2020.

Finalists: Gabrielle Duchaine and Caroline Touzin, La Presse, for investigating the explosion of child pornography on the Internet, and discovering how predators exchanged advice online about using the pandemic to increase exploitation and abuse of minors; The Toronto Star for reinventing its newsroom to offer readers a lifeline of information and guidance to help them cope with the worst health disaster Canada has ever faced.

Bob Levin Award for Short Feature 

Winner: Erin Anderssen, Globe and Mail, for her moving account of a long-term care worker who offered comfort to COVID-stricken residents so that they didn’t have to spend their last moments alone.

Finalists: Louise Dickson, Victoria Times Colonist, for a heartbreaking story about a mother’s unrelenting efforts to save her opioid-addicted son; Ben Waldman, Winnipeg Free Press, for turning a focus on one family’s attempt to salvage the hockey season into a look at efforts across the city and country to maintain touchstones in a world turned upside down by COVID-19.


Winner: Michael Doyle, Globe and Mail, for exposing sexual, psychological and physical abuse and manipulation of elite athletes by the most powerful person in Canadian track and field. 

Finalists: Cathal Kelly, Globe and Mail, for columns about the Brier curling championship, soccer legend Maradona and the banality of athlete interviews; Melissa Martin, Winnipeg Free Press, for “First Nations Voices, Canada’s Game,” a behind-the-scenes look at APTN’s Hometown Hockey in Cree TV broadcast.

Sports Photo 

Winner: Leah Hennel, Globe and Mail, for a picture of an Olympic water polo athlete training in a makeshift pool made from hay bales and tarps.

Finalists: Jacques Boissinot, Canadian Press, for the image of a freestyle skier tumbling to earth after a jump went wrong; Frank Gunn, Canadian Press, for his photo of a collision between a Toronto Maple Leafs player and a Carolina Hurricanes goaltender.

Sustained News Coverage 

Winner: The Globe and Mail for its coverage of the devastation inside Canada’s long-term care homes from the spread of COVID-19. 

Finalists: Aaron Beswick, Halifax Chronicle Herald, for providing context and analysis of the violence that unfolded on the water and on land in response to the Mi’kmaw’s push to pursue a fishery that would provide a moderate livelihood, as required by Supreme Court rulings; La Presse for its coverage of the crisis that emerged in Quebec’s long-term care accommodation centres from the spread of COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2021

The Canadian Press