National Newspaper Awards CanadaPostmedia Network journalists have received eight nominations for this year’s National Newspaper Awards – the 63rd annual hat tip to Canada’s best journalists. Postmedia News and the Edmonton Journal each received two nominations for stories published in 2011, the awards organization announced Thursday. Postmedia reporters have picked up eight National Newspaper Award nominations. The National Newspaper Awards are among the most prestigious honours print journalists can receive in Canada. Last year, Postmedia writers picked up four prizes. Sheila Pratt from the Edmonton Journal was recognized for her investigation of the climate of fear and intimidation in Alberta’s public life. The Journal was also nominated in the breaking news category for the team’s coverage of the fires that devastated Slave Lake, Alta., last year, destroying a third of the community.

The news service’s Sheldon Alberts received a nod for top-notch business reporting about the Keystone XL pipeline, the controversial oilsands project that has stirred intense debate on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. His Postmedia News colleague, Mike de Souza, has been tapped in the investigations category for his work digging into partisan research carried out at a university to lobby against the Kyoto Protocol and peer-reviewed science on climate change.

Also nominated this year is Don Butler from the Ottawa Citizen, who got a nod for stories about how Canada grants asylum to refugees. Meanwhile, in the special projects category, the Montreal Gazette has been nominated for a series on Quebec’s cult of government and institutional secrecy. The National Post is being recognized for its series on Canada’s decade-long war in Afghanistan. The Vancouver Province, meanwhile, got a nod for its spotlight on elder abuse.

The 71 finalists in 22 categories were announced from the National Newspaper Awards office in Toronto, where the nominating board of governors includes editors, publishers and the public from across Canada as well as representatives from the Toronto Press Club. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Toronto on April 27. Winners will receive cheques for $1,000 and a certificate of award. Runners-up receive citations of merit.

The Globe and Mail leads all newspapers in Canada with 24 finalists, followed by the Toronto Star with nine and Winnipeg Free Press with three.