We asked former Alberni Valley News reporter Wawmeesh G. Hamilton, who left us in August to pursue his Masters in Journalism at the University of B.C., what his top 5 stories for 2014 were. In no particular order:
1. Teen pregnancy series
Wawmeesh began a multi-part series on teen pregnancy on May 15 following the release of the latest Local Area Health Profile.
2. Train gang
The June 5 cover story about some of Port Alberni’s model train enthusiasts was a fun one to cover.
3. 10th Ave shooting
We were out of the block early to bring our online readers information about a shooting at a 10th Avenue residence and subsequent arrest of a suspect.
4. Home court future
The feature on Coby Felsman, who earned a spot on the basketball team at the North American Indigenous Games, was memorable for Wawmeesh, a hoops fan.
5. Bankruptcy fallout
A small item about a Campbell River logging company going bankrupt turned into a larger story when a tip revealed the company owed the Tseshaht First Nation $300,000 in unsecured payments.
Uncovering the story of Brandon Olebar, a Nuu-chah-nulth man who was released from jail in Seattle after being wrongfully imprisoned for a decade.
(Update: Olebar was awarded an undisclosed amount of wrongful conviction compensation in September 2014, thanks to the Innocence Project Northwest, which took up his case last year).