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Community newspapers rock at national awards

The Advertiser in Grand Falls-Windsor has been making waves lately.

As well it should. The closure of the AbitibiBowater mill has thrown the town into a crisis, whether it admits it or not. And The Advertiser has been there to ask tough questions and sound the alarm, as necessary. (Which is not to say other media, such as CBC Radio, havent I just dont receive their signal.)

The paper was the first to publish - and then defend - a controversial letter from Mark Griffin; the one that prompted the accusation from Danny Williams that Griffin was betraying his people. Before that, the paper raised the ire of a local PC party hack with this editorial, which I wrote about here. Most recently, the paper came under fire from a municipal politician, who didnt like the papers inquisitive tone and called reporters vultures. The papers editor, David Newell, responded to that charge here.

Yes, when you get the politicians riled, youre definitely doing something right.

And without question, The Advertiser is doing something right. They were recently named the second best community newspaper in the country.

The Advertiser placed second in the Best All Round Newspaper category (circulation 2000 to 2999), in the 2009 Better Newspapers Competition.

I single out The Advertiser only because their aggressive style of reporting and commentary has caught my eye over the last year or so. But they are just one of 16 awards won by community newspapers in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Thats a pretty good showing when you consider we are just over a dozen papers, of a pool of over 600 who were considered for these awards, said David Newell, editor of The Advertiser.

Here is the list of winners from Newfoundland and Labrador (read the complete list here):

Circulation 1250 to 1999:

Best All Round Newspaper

3rd Place The Labradorian

Blue Ribbon

3rd Place The Labradorian

Circulation 2000 to 2999

Best All Round Newspaper

2nd Place The Advertiser

Best Editorial Page

2nd Place - The Gulf News

Best Front Page

2nd Place The Gulf News

Blue Ribbon

The Advertiser

The Gulf News

Best Feature Story

3rd Place - Michelle Stewart, The Aurora

Best Feature Series

2nd Place Natalie Musseau, The Gulf News

Best National Editorial

1st Place William Clarke, The NorWester

Best Historical Story (circulation up to 3999)

2nd Place Michelle Stewart, The Aurora

Best Historical Story (circulation 4000 to 12499)

1st Place Aaron Beswick, Northern Pen

Best Spot New Photo

Donald Loveridge, The Pilot

Best Photo Essay

2nd Place Justin Nobell, Northern Pen

Best Newspaper Promotion (circulation up to 3999)

3rd Place The Georgian

Best Newspaper Promotion (circulation 4000 to 12499)

2nd Place The Packet

3rd Place The Beacon

Advertiser editor David Newell said awards are always nice, but his greatest reward happens twice a week, on press days. Thats when I pick up our paper and read some great stories, see wonderful photography and read the opinions of my neighbours. Community newspapers are important and The Advertiser staff take our responsibility extremely seriously.

Newell said the award is a pat on the back for the entire staff at the newspaper.

Obviously, we thank everyone involved in the production of the paper, because, without each of them completing the puzzle we put together twice a week, The Advertiser would not be what it is. The person I think we'd all like to thank the most, though, is Ron Ennis, managing editor of Transcontinental Community Newspapers. He keeps us all pulling on the same oar and his combination of old-fashioned newspaperman and modern-day visionary is an example we all try to follow.

Its nice enough, I suppose, to post a list of winners. What I would much rather see, however, are links to some of the stories and features that won (or helped win) these awards. I invite reporters and editors of winning newspapers to comment below, with links to their articles.

C'mon. Let's see 'em!

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Recent comments

  • Mark
    July 27, 2010 - 14:53

    I must say I'm surprised that I didn't see The Telegram as winner in the Replacing Local Content with Wire Stories Category!

    I mean, they're weekly Monday CP/AP Stories Only Special Editions are stunning for their lack of local content and deserve some kind of recognition.

    As the Tely gets thinner and thinner it's replaced People Magazine as the reading of choice for the discriminating bathroom reader. Someone once said that People edits their stories to the length of time the average person spends on the toilet. The Telegram has seem to be able to do that for an entire newspaper!

    As the paper gets lighter and lighter, with less original and local content, it's getting harder to justify the subscription. If it came in a timely manner, in the morning, like my G&M does, it might help. But, by supper time, the People's Paper doesn't have much to add. Too bad, but maybe this is a symptom of concentrated media ownership and a shift away from regional reporting.