MyTownCrier.ca wins big at OCNA awards
Warning: What follows is a bit of shameless patting of self on back.
I was lucky enough to see old Vaughan Today/Town Crier colleagues again on May 14 at the Ontario Community Newspapers Association awards gala.
The night was made sweeter thanks to a couple of awards I got to share with my friends.
Here’s what Gordon Cameron, Town Crier managing editor, wrote:
Town Crier wins big
Papers earn six awards at provincial competition
On May 14, the Ontario Community Newspapers Association celebrated the best in the industry by handing out the hardware at its annual Better Newspapers Competition Awards Dinner and the Town Crier and Vaughan Today walked away with nine awards.
The Town Crier’s website took awards in both of the categories for which it was nominated.
Our site took first place in the Surfer’s Selection category which allows OCNA member newspapers to vote for their favourite website. The Town Crier’s site was the runaway winner taking 32 points overall (the site with the next highest total had 18 points) including 15 first place votes.
It also came second as Best Community Web Portal (website for multiple papers). Judge Cheryl Wirch-Ryckman, Director New Media Operations Black Press, said that she “(Loved) the neighbourhood map sorting articles by area. Town Hall including Town Resources is a good concept, looking forward to seeing it executed.”
Leading our online efforts were Editor-in Chief Eric McMillan, former online editor Phil Alves, Vice President of New Media Doreen Iannuzzi and programmer Hui Lan.
The Town Crier’s Arts & Entertainment Editor Lorianna De Giorgio took home a second place award in the A&E category for her story “Girls allowed“. In his comments, judge Richard Mostyn, editor of the Yukon News, wrote: “The snappy copy, which promoted the seventh annual Funny Girls and Dynamic Divas fundraiser, is engaging. But it also sheds light on the difficulties female comics breaking into the field. It’s clear that De Giorgio has plenty of experience writing arts copy, and while this story was a little sparse, the writer’s sparkle, the art and the good use of design in cramped quarters makes it a winner. Nice work.”
City Hall Bureau Chief Kris Scheuer came third in the Best Business & Finance Story category with her story “Gone out of business“. Judge Michael Gorman, journalist Yarmouth Vanguard, called Scheuer’s story “A blow-by-blow tour of how the economic challenges impacted a neighbourhood. Lots of sources and good storytelling,” and went on to comment that “the top three entries stood out from the rest because of the writers’ efforts to go the extra mile in getting a number of voices in their stories.”
Our design excellence was recognized with a third place finish in the Best Tabloid Front Page (circulation over 10,000 copies) category for the front page of November, 2008’s Bayview-Mills edition. “This entry came out on top of the strong competition for third place with an attractive design and good writing,” wrote judge Natalie Musseau, Editor of The Gulf News. The cover featured a story by City Editor Karolyn Coorsh and photograph by Francis Crescia on the renovation of the Lawrence Park Community Church, a story about city hall’s attempt to mentor women in politics, and a teaser photograph for a story about a marijuana grow-op bust. Design was by Editorial Art Director Shadi Raoufi and headlines were written by Managing Editor Gordon Cameron.
Another third place for our Fall 2009 Kids & Education Special Section. “The first item that caught my attention was the quality of the photos. It is obvious the editorial staff spent time visiting each school as the photos are action photos and are not staged,” wrote judge Al Glaser, advertising/marketing manager at the St. Albert Gazette. “The editorial content is the major focus with the advertising laying a supporting role. I thought highlighting certain teachers as Classroom Leaders added a nice touch as most of us can remember a certain teacher who had a profound effect on our lives. The index at the back in alphabetical order was an added bonus for the reader as it easily and clearly summarized each school’s programs and features. Not every community newspaper can sell a section catering to these types of schools. However, I commend the staff at the Toronto Forest Hill Town Crier for identifying a unique sales opportunity and generating additional revenue.” Kudos go to Special Projects Editor Kelly Gadzala, Director of Corporate Sales Jennifer Gardiner and Production Artist Mark Winer.
Our sister publication, Vaughan Today, came away with three Third Place finishes.
Former reporter Corey Lewis received his award for the story “They said quit. She said no.” Judge Andrew Holata, editor of the Abbotsford News commented that Lewis’ story “displayed good effort to tell the story and bring a wider perspective to the issue.”
Cartoonist Patricia Storms was recognized for her work for the second year in a row. Sun Media cartoonist and category judge Sue Dewar said that “Patricia Storms’ cartoons that take a good poke at local politicians always give a newspaper good bang for its buck! Nice caricatures, good design elements and funny gags. Nice work!!”
Finally, Vaughan Today was awarded in the Community Service category for its Shop Local campaign. “The project remained focused on the more narrowly-defined relationship between businesses and consumers (rather than other aspects of community life) but it was notable because of the positive and action-oriented nature of the campaign,” wrote judge Maija Saari, Assistant Professor of journalism at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus. “The ‘Shop Local’ response during a global recession provided an important lesson on the relationship of a local economy to local community life.”
Congratulations to all our winners.
To see the complete results of the OCNA’s 2009 Better Newspaper Competition, click here.Town Crier Online: May 16, 2010 [link]