Source – The Times Colonist

Three Times Colonist reporters have been nominated for a National Newspaper Award for their five-day series on the fentanyl overdose crisis in Greater Victoria.

Sarah Petrescu, Katie DeRosa and Louise Dickson were nominated in the project category in the annual awards that recognize excellence in Canadian journalism.

The B.C. Coroners Service has reported that overdoses killed 922 people in 2016. The crisis is continuing this year, with 39 people on Vancouver Island dying of an illicit drug overdose in January and February.

With people dying in their homes, on the streets, in alleys and in public washrooms, Dr. Perry Kendall, provincial health officer, declared a public-health emergency last April.

Also nominated in the project category are a team from the Globe and Mail for stories on soldiers and veterans who died by suicide after serving in Afghanistan, as well as Kristy Kirkup and Sheryl Ubelacker from the Canadian Press for stories of indigenous Canadians terrorized by the emotional and physical impact of sexual abuse.

“We are delighted to be nominated, which is in itself a huge honour,” said Dave Obee, editor-in-chief of the Times Colonist. “This newspaper is consistently ranked with the top newspapers in the country, and we will continue to strive to deliver the best possible newspaper for our readers.”

The Times Colonist nomination is one of three for newspapers in British Columbia.

There are 70 nominations in 21 categories, selected from 959 entries of work published in 2016.

In the local reporting category, Joe Fries of the Penticton Herald was nominated for coverage of how government institutions respond to freedom-of-information requests. In the short feature category, Lori Culbert of the Vancouver Sun and The Province was nominated for a story about a hiking family following a new path after a tragic accident.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Toronto on May 5.