The Haliburton County Echo and Minden Times took home several awards at the Ontario Community Newspaper Association’s Better Newspapers (OCNA) Contest on April 29.
A special ceremony was held virtually during the OCNA spring convention last week revealing first, second and third place finishes.
Steve Galea won the humour columnist of the year award. Galea writes weekly humour columns for the Echo, Times, County Life and sister paper, Bancroft This Week.
“Excellent columns,” wrote the judge. “Very funny and tightly written. Steve knows how to tie in good ledes and well-crafted wraps. I enjoyed reading these.”
In its circulation category the Echo placed second for general excellence which captures all aspects of the paper from commentary to classifieds, photography to feature stories.
“From Page 1 throughout, the Haliburton County Echo is a great newspaper, filled with a solid mix of hard news and feature stories, supplemented by strong photography, engaging opinion pages and quality design,” the judges wrote. “Lots of effective, attractive ads complete the package.”
Reporter Sue Tiffin won three awards in the premier categories. In the feature writing category, “Leopoldina Dobrzensky remembered as steward of land and local history,” won second place; “100 years of Agnew’s General Store having what you need,” won second place in the heritage category; and “Gerontology student bringing joy through robocats,” won third place in the health and wellness category.
The paper also received an honourable mention for Welcome to Haliburton County 2021 in the Best Vertical Product category.
The Echo’s sister paper, the Minden Times, won second in the editorial category with former editor Chad Ingram’s “On conversion therapy” about Bill C-6.
“Well-written and developed,” said the judge. “Good use of examples. Good background inclusion as part of your editorial development. This editorial rated highly on my first evaluation, but it stuck in my head. In the end, it was elevated because it did what editorials are supposed to make you do: think about the topic.”
Kim Wark, longtime Times cartoonist, placed third in the OCNA’s Cartoonist of the Year competition for Kwarky, her weekly creative contribution to the editorial pages.
Times photographer/reporter Darren Lum won a second place plaque in the best feature photo competition for “Backyard igloo provides positive shelter in Carnarvon,” a photo of a mom creating an igloo in her backyard during pandemic isolation.