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LFP journalists honoured at National Newspaper Awards

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London Free Press reporter Jane Sims was honoured for her work with a National Newspaper Award on Friday, one of two winning Postmedia journalists at the prestigious industry gala.

At an event in Toronto, the judges announced Douglas Todd, a Vancouver Sun/Province columnist, and Sims, a veteran justice reporter, as winners in different categories of the annual awards, which salute the best in Canadian journalism.

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Sims won the Bob Levin Award in the short feature category for her story about Londoner Salman Afzaal, who along with three members of his Muslim family was killed by a white nationalist terrorist in June 2021.

Sims chronicled the tragedy that befell the Afzaal family and wrote about what London had lost as it struggled to come to grips with the 12-week trial of the killer and its aftermath. The feature also touched on her indirect personal connection to Salman Afzaal.

“There are few reporters in Canada with more experience covering the courts than Jane Sims, and that experience is essential to her ability to tell compelling stories,” editor-in-chief Joe Ruscitti said. “All of us at The Free Press are immensely proud of her and her hard work day in and day out.”

London Free Press journalists have earned 19 National Newspaper Award nominations over the past 20 years.

Todd, also a veteran journalist, won the William Southam Award in the long feature category for his story about British Columbia’s mental health care system, and whether his father, who was institutionalized for two decades, would have survived the modern iteration of the system.

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“This is my attempt to understand what would likely have happened to my father if he had gone through what he did, but in the past decade, given that most specialists believe B.C.’s housing and mental-health realms have deteriorated,” Todd wrote.

In all, Postmedia journalists received eight nominations for commentary, photography and reporting on subjects ranging from wildfires to affordability issues.

Free Press reporter Randy Richmond was among the nominees, part of a team that included Calvi Leon, Rachel Gilbert and Brice Hall. They were nominated for the E. Cora Hind Award in local reporting for a project about an Indigenous family’s journey through the Sixties Scoop – The Boy With Two Names.

Besides The Free Press and Vancouver, other Postmedia newsrooms nominated included the National Post, the Calgary Herald/Calgary Sun, the Ottawa Citizen/Ottawa Sun and the Brockville Recorder and Times

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