Trail Times reporter Sheri Regnier won the Neville Shanks Memorial Award for Historical Writing on a night honouring the best in B.C.-Yukon journalism.
At a gala event at the River Rock Casino in Richmond on Saturday, finalists and media executives from across the province and the Yukon gathered for the annual Ma Murray Awards.
Regnier’s story “Putting a price on priceless pieces of Trail history” (Trail Times, Oct. 16, 2018) was up against two other nominees – Pique Newsmagazine’s “Lessons for Whistler’s aspiring councillors” and Yukon News’ “Yukon Archives project aims to identify First Nations individuals in historical photos”
In her story, Regnier spoke to a pair of Toronto appraisers who visited Trail’s new Riverfront Centre and marvelled at the extensive collection that has been preserved.
The judges deemed her’s the best of the final three but Regnier, who became the first Trail Times reporter to win a Ma Murray Award, admitted to going numb when her name was announced at the gala in front of hundreds of people in the grand ballroom.
“It was surreal to have my name called,” she said on Sunday. “I barely remember walking up to the stage.
“All I could think of was to say how much of an honour it was to write for a newspaper that I grew up reading and respected so much.”
As for her Ma Murray-winning story on appraisers at the Riverfront Centre, Regnier said in an earlier interview that she wanted to capture the amazement the Toronto appraisers had for Trail’s history.
“I wanted to capture how they couldn’t believe this incredible collection of everything from sports to archives and through to the extensive collection of the Trail Times that dates back to the first edition almost 125 years ago.
“As I wrote the story, I wanted to share their reaction with the community, which passed on those important pieces of history to the Trail Historical Society to preserve for us.”
Regnier wasn’t the only West Kootenay reporter bringing home a Ma Murray Award. Kathleen Saylors of the Grand Forks Gazette won the Spot News Photo Award for her coverage of the devastating floods last year in her community. Tyler Harper of the Nelson Star won Best Feature Article Award for his story on artist Darwin Greyeyes.
Regnier’s award marked her second major recognition for her historical writing.
In 2017 she won the Canadian Community Newspaper’s gold medal for best historical story.
In that story, Regnier highlighted the exhibit, called “Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Times: Italian Internment Experience” as well as the local residents impacted by the government actions in the 1940s.