The Haliburton County Echo placed first for general excellence in its circulation category in the Ontario Community Newspaper Association’s Better Newspapers Competition.
Placements of first second and third were revealed at a gala dinner in Richmond Hill on Friday April 20.
General excellence takes into account the appearance of the front page community content in the paper editorial page quality classified pages advertising content and design and overall quality of the product.
“An impressive publication from start to finish” the judges wrote. “So many good stories and the writers do a great job of going beyond reporting the news to illuminating what it means to the community. Strong writing from editor and columnists along with lots of elements make these pages an engaging read. A great clean layout made for a very readable publication with a good flow page to page. Photography was crisp and clever throughout exhibiting good control and use of light and composition. Best looking classified pages in the class. Local ad content and advertising features are well designed and there’s lots of it it’s easy to see the community chooses this publication to advertise. The use of colour even on classified pages helps advertisers stand out. An attractive paper overall.”
The Echo’s sister paper the Minden Times also placed first in its circulation category.
Echo columnist Steve Galea was awarded the Humour Columnist of the Year award for his writing with the judge noting: “Galea has an engaging voice and his narratives are genuinely funny. He has a satisfying knack for self-deprecation that makes him feel like the slightly kooky ‘guy next door.’”
The paper’s sports section placed third in the competition.
“Superior photography and use/placement of photos highlight this section” the judge wrote.
Robert Mackenzie’s examination of the Highlands’ resort industry which was published in County Life took home first place for best business story.
The Minden Times received several awards including best feature story for “Growing up gay in Haliburton County” by Chad Ingram; and best spot news photo by Darren Lum of flooding in Minden.
Times columnist Jim Poling Sr. placed third in the Columnist of the Year category.