The Brandon Sun's crime reporter, Ian Hitchen, has been nominated for a national journalism award.
The nomination recognizes Hitchen's continuing coverage of allegations that children in a close-knit Manitoba Old Order Mennonite community had been physically abused, some with a cattle prod.
"The people who spoke to me for this story trusted me to tell an important story as best I could, and this nomination gives me the satisfaction of knowing that I've done that," Hitchen said upon learning of the prestigious award nod.
Hitchen is one of four nominees for the local reporting award in the 65th National Newspaper Awards competition; winners will be announed at an awards ceremony in Charlettotown P.E.I. at the end of May.
"It's a delight and honour to be among the nominees for this award," he said. "It also reminds me how lucky I am to have supportive family and coworkers who encouraged me to pursue this story."
Hitchen joined the Brandon Sun in November 2004. This is his first nomination for a national award.
There are a total of 69 finalists in 22 categories, selected from 1,206 entries for work published in 2013. The Local Reporting category is specifically for newspapers with an average daily circulation under 30,000.
The Sun has previously won two National Newspaper Awards. In 1961, Lubor Zink won for editorial writing. And in 2010, photographer Tim Smith was recognized in for feature photography. Smith this year is also nominated for Photojournalist of the Year at the National Pictures of the Year awards.