Alberta Farmer reporters win prestigious journalism award

FBC writers score big in annual awards competition

Jennifer Blair (l) and Alexis Kienlen.
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For the first time since its founding in 2007, Alberta Farmer has won top honours in the country’s premier agricultural journalism awards program.

Jennifer Blair and Alexis Kienlen won gold in the Weekly Press Reporting category for a July 2014 story entitled Drenched Again, which examined flooding in the south of the province after torrential rains.

It was the first year Blair had entered the competition put on by the Canadian Farm Writers Federation, but a second straight win for Kienlen, who won silver in the same category last year for her investigative report on McDonald’s choosing Canada for its “sustainable beef” pilot project.

“Being recognized by your peers is always very gratifying, but it all comes down to being passionate about what you do,” said Alberta Farmer editor Glenn Cheater. “Alexis and Jennifer really care about agriculture in this province and I think their commitment shows in all of their work.”

A number of their colleagues working for Farm Business Communications publications also won awards at the Canadian Farm Writers Federation conference held in Calgary last month.

Manitoba Co-operator reporter Shannon VanRaes received silver in the Weekly Press Reporting category for her story on how federal scientists have been muzzled by politics; Allan Dawson received bronze in the Feature Photo category, and editor Laura Rance received gold in the Press Feature category and bronze in Press Columns. Dave Bedard collected silver in the World Wide Web category.

In Monthly Press Reporting, Country Guide’s Angela Lovell won gold, Ralph Pierce won silver, and Gord Gilmour won bronze. Gilmour also received a gold for Technical Feature and Maggie Van Camp received silver in the Press Feature category.

As well, John Morriss, associate publisher of Farm Business Communications, was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Morriss was recognized for his commitment to agricultural journalism over the past four decades, as publisher and editor of the Manitoba Co-operator, and Farmers’ Independent Weekly, and as editorial director of Farm Business Communications. He has also been active in provincial and national farm writers’ organizations.

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