First woman NNA winner dies at 97

Veteran Canadian newspaper reporter Dorothy Howarth, the first woman to win a National Newspaper Award (NNA), died of respiratory failure in Pickering, Ont. on July 14.

Howarth began her reporting career at the Saskatchewan Farmer, a weekly farm paper put out by Regina’s Leader-Post. She went on to report for Saskatoon’s Star-Phoenix and later the Toronto Telegram and the Vancouver Sun.

She won a NNA in 1949 for a feature on Newfoundland that she wrote the day before it officially became a province. It took 17 years before another woman won a NNA.

A Globe and Mail obituary by Linda Kay notes:

“Ms. Howarth, interestingly, was unsure she was the right reporter for the Newfoundland assignment. But Tely editor J.D. MacFarlane wanted a human-interest piece, not a political story. While most journalists did their reporting in St. John’s, Ms. Howarth went to the little villages, travelling by train and boat to places like Pouch Cove to file a “series of graphic word pictures,” as the Tely would inform its readers, from the home of “Mr. and Mrs. Newfoundland and their family. With a keen ear for dialect and a trademark sensitivity for her subjects, Ms. Howarth captured the poignancy of what others treated as a straight news story.”