Alison Taylor wins top B.C. journalism award 

Squamish residents pick John French as Best Local Writer in 'best of' poll

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Longtime Pique Newsmagazine reporter Alison Taylor has won a Jack Webster Award for her feature on the Whistler Health Care Centre.

Taylor was presented with the award for Science, Technology, Health and Environment writing at a gala dinner at the Hyatt Hotel in Vancouver on Nov. 1.

The Jack Webster Award is the top journalism prize in British Columbia.

Taking the podium, Taylor thanked her husband Jeremy Robb for taking care of their two children so she could spend eight hours at the clinic following the doctors as they treated those injured on the slopes. She also thanked Pique's editor Clare Ogilvie, who edited Taylor's feature while on vacation in Hawaii.

"It's great for Alison, it's great for Pique Newsmagazine. It's the first major journalism award that the paper's won and it's the height of journalistic awards in B.C. It's very meaningful, she was up against major players in the CBC and Victoria's Focus magazine. It's not an award for small-town newspapers," said Pique publisher Bob Barnett.

He said Taylor's feature, called Healing Hands, was very much part of Pique's focus of looking at issues in an in-depth way.

"It's what we've always tried to do, look at bigger issues and reflect and show what these issues mean to the community," Barnett said.

Taylor has been a reporter with Pique for 12 years, and regularly covers local government issues and Whistler news.

"I really wasn't expecting to win, given the competition. I'm so happy and I haven't stopped smiling since," she said.

Darren Roberts, Pique's chief operating officer, said: "I think the one thing that Alison's success shows is the core values behind Pique and the success of the Pique. The success of a small paper like ours has been that it is quality journalism and it reaffirms that we've been doing the right thing over the years."

Whistler freelance photographer Bonny Makarewicz took the images for Taylor's feature, showing the staff at Whistler Health Care Centre hard at work serving injured skiers and snowboarders in North America's busiest ski resort.

"Pique is committed to bringing the community stories that matter and Alison's commitment to writing about the people behind these stories is journalism at its best," said Ogilvie. "I want to thank the Webster award organization for recognizing the excellent journalism that goes on at the community level. "

The story, which ran in the March 15, 2012 issue, can be found at Three other finalists competed alongside Taylor for the award: Rob Wipond of Focus Magazine in Victoria, and Duncan McCue and Jodie Martinson of CBC Radio One, Spark.

Former Vancouver Sun editor Patricia Graham was presented with the Bruce Hutchinson Lifetime Achievement Award.

The awards night was hosted by Global TV anchor Chris Gailus, with Toronto Star political journalist Chantal Hebert as keynote speaker.

Meanwhile, Pique reporter and food columnist John French was name Squamish's Best Local Writer in the annual Reader's Choice Awards, sponsored by the Squamish Chief newspaper. He was also named Squamish's best volunteer.

"I'm truly humbled by the award and was not expecting it at all," French said.

See related column on p.37.


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