Spectator reporter joins elite club for Canadian journalists

This article was originally published in Hamilton Media Guild, June 4, 2014.

Hamilton reporter Molly Hayes has joined an elite club in Canadian journalism. The 24-year-old Hamilton Spectator reporter brought home the 23rd Goff Penny Memorial Prize, awarded to journalists between 20 and 25 years old for excellence in news reporting. The award was presented in Charlottetown at the May 28-30 INK + Beyond conference organized by Newspapers Canada, a joint initiative of the Canadian Newspaper Association and the Canadian Community Newspapers Association. Also present was fellow Hamilton Spectator reporter, Jon Wells, a finalist for the Long Features category for the National Newspaper Awards. Hayes is the first reporter from the Hamilton Spectator receiving the Goff Penny award.

“It was very cool. I have been to the Ontario Newspaper Awards three times but have never been to the national awards. It’s really cool to see reporters that I read about and look up to,” said Hayes.

Previous winners of the prize include City Hall reporters Daniel Dale and Jennifer Pagliaro, both of the Toronto Star. Hayes was thrilled when she learned that Michelle Shepherd, Toronto Star’s national security reporter, once won the award.

“It was very flattering and humbling. I am in such good company, with the past recipients,” said Hayes, who admires Shepherd’s work.

Hayes’ submission package to the awards committee included articles on the Tim Bosma murder case, an original e-book titled The Penniless Millionaire and a profile of a family whose son took his life. The story shed light on mental illness and prompted discussion on the significance of the issue, said Hayes The murder mystery started a year ago, when Ancaster’s Tim Bosma took two strangers for a test drive in a truck he was trying to sell. He never returned. Instead, his burned remains were found. Two men, Dellen Millard, 28, and Mark Smich, 26, have been charged with first degree murder.

A year since the tragedy, Hayes published her second e-book titled The Vilest Form of Evil: Tim Bosma’s Murder One Year LaterReleased shortly after the awards, the book revisits the tragedy, looking at Bosma’s childhood, relationship with his partner Sharlene and how his loved ones are coping with the loss.