Award night for a strike paper

It's been a rough year for journalists from The Chronicle Herald in Halifax. For one thing, they've been on strike for 15 months. For another, the Herald announced this week that it found the money to buy a chain of newspapers across Atlantic Canada, which means it's adding 650 (mostly non-unionized) staff to its roster. A strike settlement seems further away than ever.

That makes this a good moment to celebrate what the striking Herald journalists have accomplished in the last year. Local news coverage is already rare enough these days without an epic strike, so they decided to keep reporting, even without their normal salaries.

They started a "strike paper " and covered daily stories on top of picketing outside the Herald, which has been run by "replacement" staff. 

In fact, when the Atlantic Journalism Awards announced nominations last month, the striking reporters with their shadow paper blew the "real" paper out of the water, earning six nominations to the Herald's three. The nominated work includes photojournalism and an investigation of a reopened coal mine that helped spark a change of leadership there.

The nominations mean a great deal to more than 50 striking journalists facing financial hardship and what may be the end of careers they love. However, the ceremony is in Newfoundland this year and is too expensive to attend solely on strike pay. 

This is why, as a former colleague, I'm asking for small donations from other journalists, or simply from supporters of great local journalism, to help send those nominated to the awards ceremony. The funding will go towards flights, hotels and meals. 

Your encouragement will be hugely appreciated by all the striking staff and will give a group of dedicated professionals at least one more chance to be recognized for their work.

UPDATE: huge thanks to everyone for bringing us past our goal! It's overwhelming to see the generosity of friends and strangers. The Newfoundland trip is covered, but any extra money will go into the union's hardship fund, which members can access when they need help paying for groceries or gas.The award nominees and the Herald crew want to pass on their heartfelt thanks!

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