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June 04, 2010

The Ontario Community Newspaper Association’s (OCNA) 2010 annual awards have been announced and the excellence of Loyalist graduates and students is reflected in the results. The Best On-line Innovator of the Year award was presented to the Sioux Lookout Wawatay News, with 2009 Loyalist Photojournalism graduate Chris Kornacki cited as a pivotal member of the development team.

Sean Toohey, Director of New Media Technology at Black Press Digital, judged the On-line Innovator of the Year category and submitted these comments. “The Sioux Lookout Wawatay News had the greatest impact. Its integration multimedia such as podcasts, combined with targeted local content, made it the winner in this category.”

“When I first brought Chris on at the paper he immediately showed initiative and began offering both technical and design suggestions,” said Brent Wesley, Multi Media/News Coordinator at the Sioux Lookout paper. “His talent as a photographer, strong work ethic and easy-going manner made him a valued co-worker at the Wawatay News. His contributions definitely made our on-line media what it is today.”

Chris Kornacki described his reasons for accepting the position with the Wawatay News when he graduated. “When I learned that the paper was looking for someone who would be dedicated to shooting specifically for on-line, and they would have the opportunity to move into the northern part of the province where I had never lived before, I knew this was an adventure I did not want to miss. Having experience in a position that was strictly multi-media and on-line improves my employability as this field moves to the forefront of the industry. The paper covers First Nations news only and I was able to cover stories in areas that were accessible by air only and learn about places that I previously knew nothing about. Being out in the field shooting was my favourite part of the job.”

“Our programs have always had a very strong presence at the OCNA Awards,” added Photojournalism Professor Patti Gower. “The On-line Innovator of the Year Award was an exciting new honour for a Loyalist graduate to be a part of. Multimedia is growing at an unbelievably rapid speed and it is imperative that graduates are skilled in these areas in addition to the core traditional journalism practices. This recognition at the provincial level reinforces our belief that we are leaders in media education and strengthens our conviction in continuing to pursue excellence in the field of journalism.”

Photojournalism student Ryan Logan placed third in the Student Photography section. Third place in the Student News Writing category went to Journalism student Meagan Leonard.

Chris Kornacki now works at the Wawatay News in Thunder Bay. Click to learn more about Loyalist’s Media Studies programs.

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Media Contact: Marilyn Warren, Communications, Loyalist College (613) 969-1913, ext. 2332, e-mail:, or Jane Harrison, Acting Dean of Media Studies, ext. 2437