Trent Ernst, Editor of the Tumbler Ridge News won an award from Newspapers Canada for his feature on the mushroom pickers up the Ojay last year.
The feature, which documented a day-in-the-life of a mushroom picker, a mushroom buyer, and the owner of Mikuni Wild Harvest, was awarded the honour on April 15.
“I found out about it via Twitter,” says Ernst, quoting himself. “I had actually forgotten I had entered the story in the competition, and thought someone had let something slip for the BC Awards, which are happening in a couple of weeks.”
But no, the award—for best feature published in a paper with a circulation of less than 4000—was real. Ernst is excited to win the award. “There’s this sense that in order to succeed, one has to only do one thing. It’s not just good enough to be a writer, for instance, but you have to only write about one thing, like technology or travel or food or news in order to succeed. But my interests are too broad to just do one thing. Yes, I am a writer, but I’m also a musician and a designer and a photographer.”
Last year, when he took home the award for Sports Photo for a paper with a circulation under 25,000, Ernst decided that he wanted to win a writing award, just to act as a bookend. “I entered this story, and a couple others, in the BC and Yukon Newspaper Association awards this year,” he says. “And this one was picked as a finalist as Feature Article, Under 25,000 category.”
“At the same time, though, Newspapers Canada was looking for entries for their awards, and I thought, ‘what the heck?’ and entered a couple of stories there.”
Because the National awards are not announced at a big gala and celebration, says Ernst, he lost track of the award, and thought he hadn’t won anything. “I had actually forgotten I’d entered,” he admits, abashed. “Because the BCYNA awards are coming up in a few weeks, I’ve been figuring out how to get down there, and forgot all about the Newspaper’s Canada thing.”
Still, he says, it takes the pressure off for when he’s down in the Lower Mainland. “I’ve proved my point,” he says. “If only to myself, that it is possible to excel at more than one thing in life.”
Ernst will be attending the Ma Murray awards in Richmond on May 7.