The Abbotsford News was the recipient of two gold and one silver Ma Murray Awards over the weekend..
The awards are normally presented each year by the B.C. and Yukon Community News Media Association during a gala celebration at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond. But this year they were announced with a taped video that went live online on Saturday night.
Abbotsford News reporter Ben Lypka and freelance videographer Kevin MacDonald received a gold medal in the “Multimedia Breaking News Story” category for their coverage of a protest at an Abbotsford hog farm in April 2019.
In awarding the pair the gold, the judges noted that their “stakeout” of the protest over several hours was particularly effective.
“It proved to be a brilliant idea, as the viewer gets both sides of the conflict,” the judges said.
They also noted that the video was “well-shot and edited.”
Lypka also snared a silver in the “Sports Writing” category for his piece titled “Cascades coaching chaos at University of Fraser Valley wrestling program.”
That article detailed issues arising with the UFV wrestling program after it parted ways with its original head coach.
Also receiving a gold Ma Murray Award – in the “Feature Article (circulation over 25,000)” category – was veteran Abbotsford News reporter Vikki Hopes for her article titled “After the fall.”
The story detailed the incredible survival tale of Dan Anderson, who survived a 50-foot fall from a tree in a failed suicide attempt.
Anderson broke his back and then dragged his body through the forest for three days until he could get to a place where his calls for help could be heard.
The judges declared the story “expertly written, expertly researched, great interviews, great message – just overall a winning article.”