Queensland’s new print newspapers aren’t just filling gaps left by closure of former News Corp print mastheads, they’re doing it excellently.
That’s the verdict of judges in the annual Queensland Country Press Media Excellence awards, who handed most of this year’s prizes to newcomers.
On the Sunshine Coast – where News killed what was once the country’s fastest-growing print daily – 51,000-circulation glossy My Weekly Preview shared equal first place for free newspapers – and won the award for best online publication – with Sunny Coast Times highly commended.
Joint winner was a “monster” 80-page Hervey Bay Advertiser described by judges as a “great effort for a start-up”.
Judges said the mix of non-paywalled and paywalled news sites showed the emerging category would have to adapt to changing audience behaviour and trends. Winner My Weekly Preview was “more than an online news site”, despite providing a strong local news presence. “It is the complete package reflecting its printed publication… a mix of local news, human interest features, stories about local events and entertainment.”
Judged across photography, journalism, advertising, presentation and innovation, the “overall high standard” of publication entries highlighted the changing dynamics of publishing strategies, new players in the game, embracing technology, the development of outstanding online news sites and robust engagement of audiences”.
They said best paid newspaper the Fassifern Guardian & Tribune was “brilliant”, the locally-focussed weekly tabloid having turned to bi-weekly with the addition of a spectacular broadsheet Saturday edition and expansion into Ipswich and the Scenic Rim region, moves which “obviously took courage – but has paid huge dividends with weekly circulation approaching 9000”.
Runners-up in the paid category were Burnett Today (second) and Bundaberg Today (third).
In the best free category, runners-up were The Express, Mareeba (second), and Warwick/Stanthorpe Today (third), with Sunny Coast Times highly commended.
Two News Corp websites – Daily Mercury, Mackay, and Sunshine Coast Daily – took equal second place in the online category, with Sunshine Valley Gazette highly commended.
For a full list of awards – presented at the end of last month – see the awards booklet here.
• QCPA has appointed Melbourne-based Regional Media Connect as national advertising representative for its members, in line with other states.
Pictured (top): best paid newspapers winners Drew Creighton (Fassifern Guardian & Tribune), Daniel Pelcl (Burnett Today) and Ingrid Barham (Bundaberg Today) with QCPA president Bruce Ellen (President CPA);
Above: best free newspaper winners Noel & Darryl Olson (My Weekly Preview), Carl Portella (The Express, Mareeba) and Jess Baker (Warwick Stanthorpe Today) with Bruce Ellen (second left).