Alberni Valley News editor wins 2014 Gzowski Life Literacy Fellowship

Editor Susan Quinn will produce series on how funding cuts will affect adult literacy in the region.

Alberni Valley News editor Susan Quinn.

Literacy is vital to our community and to newspapers. That’s why the Alberni Valley News is so pleased to announce that our editor Susan Quinn is the 2014 recipient of the Peter Gzowski Life Literacy Fellowship from ABC Life Literacy Canada.

The fellowship is a tribute to the late broadcaster and journalist Peter Gzowski. The fellowship provides a grant for one Canadian journalist each year to publish a literacy project to enhance public understanding, support for, and awareness of, the literacy cause.

Quinn, who has been editor at the News since its inception in 2006, will use the fellowship to write a series of stories on adult literacy in the Port Alberni area, underlining the effect government cuts to core funding are having at the grassroots level.

“In the eight years I have worked in the Alberni Valley I have seen the effect of government cuts to core funding on literacy programs,” said Quinn. “I have covered literacy in every newspaper I have worked in and understand its importance to the community.”

A self-proclaimed bookworm, Quinn has supported literacy and youth, starting as a tutor for fellow students in junior high school. She has read to classrooms and incorporates reading and writing skills in her work with youth in Girl Guides of Canada.

“I have always loved reading and writing and for many years I took it for granted,” said Quinn. “I was an adult before I truly understood that there are people who go through life without reading. My whole life is about reading and writing. If I can do one thing to bring to light that literacy is not a given, even in this day and age, then I will do it. I hope to achieve that in my stories.”

Quinn has been a community news journalist for more than 25 years, writing and editing on sports, news, business and arts, primarily on Vancouver Island. She is also the recipient of numerous writing and photography awards, most recently the Silver Quill Award from the Canadian Community Newspapers Association.

“Susie has built a strong relationship with our readers and is passionate about serving the community,” said Teresa Bird, publisher of the Alberni Valley News. “I am so pleased to see her selected for this grant. The recognition is well deserved and I am confident Susie will write an amazing series of articles that will positively impact literacy in the Alberni Valley. I can’t wait to read them!”

Quinn will travel to Toronto to receive the fellowship at an ABC Life Literacy Canada awards gala, Sept. 18.