State's smallest papers, newsmedia's biggest issues

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Opportunities in regional Queensland and the issue of trust were discussed when the state's Country Press Association held its annual meeting and awards last Friday.

Newspaper Excellence Awards were also presented in 22 categories for which 495 individual entries had been received.

Delegates from Atherton, Longreach, the Sunshine Coast, Roma and Warwick were among those at the association's 110th annual meeting, at which Samantha Wantling (Stanthorpe Border Post) was elected president and Phill Le Peitit (Noosa Today) her deputy. The elected executive committee now consists of Ann Lomas, Heatley Gilmore, Mark Hodgson, Erika Brayshaw, Bruce Horrocks, Ted Rogers and Col Jackson with Greg Watson continuing as secretary/treasurer.

A forum and panel discussion on issues and opportunities in regional Queensland included state opposition leader Deb Frecklington, federal regional development minister John McVeigh and innovation and regional Queensland advocate Everald Compton. It was mediated by News Corp Queensland/NT regionals general manager Simon Irwin, with topics including improving health and education services to attract professionals into the bush and encourage them to stay there, the need for innovation projects to reduce unemployment in the regions, decentralisation and the need for significant investment in both the state's water and transport networks.

The conference also included a presentation by NewsMediaWorks marketing director Charlie Murdoch on how Australian consumers trust newsmedia, an update on Media Super by Steven Gardener, and on Country Press Australia by executive director Bruce Morgan.

MediaCom duo Brisbane general manager Katherine Williams and ANZ chief executive Willie Pang updated delegates on state government advertising.

QCPA newspaper excellence awards were presented at a dinner attended by minister for agricultural industries, development and fisheries Mark Furner (for premier Annastacia Palaszczuk), who was on hand to help with presentations. He also took the opportunity to announce the government's pledge for a further $5 million in funding over two years for wild dog exclusion cluster fencing in western and southern Queensland.

From Queensland's tiniest newspapers to those focussed on specific markets, there were honours for all in the state's Newspaper Excellence Awards.

They went to:

Advertising Awards: Best Locally Produced Campaign- Hervey Bay Independent. Best Locally Produced Print Advertisement- Hervey Bay Independent. Best Community Promotion- South Burnett Times. Best House Advertisement-Stanthorpe Border Post. Best Commercial Feature- Herbert River Express. Best Run Of Press Newspaper Supplement- South Burnett Times. Best Stand Alone Newspaper Supplement- South Burnett Times. Best Special Publication- South Burnett Times.

Advertising Sales Person Of The Year- Ashleigh Griffiths (Dalby Herald).

Best Overall Advertisement- Hervey Bay Independent.

Photographic awards: Best News Picture- Peter Carruthers (Whitsunday Times). Best Sports Picture- Rob Maccol (Noosa Today). Best Portrait/Community Picture- Rob Maccol (Noosa Today).

Journalistic Excellence Awards: Best Editorials- Fassifern Guardian (Editor Wendy Creighton). Overall Journalistic Excellence Award for a Newspaper, weighted- Central Queensland News; open- South Burnett Times. Overall Journalistic Excellence Award for a Newspaper, open South Burnett Times. Overall Journalistic Excellence Award for an Individual Journalist- Jeremy Sollars (Southern Free Times). Young Journalist of the Year- Jessica McGrath (South Burnett Times).

Best Newspaper Awards: Best Newspaper Under 1000 Circulation- Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette. Best Newspaper Over 10,000 Circulation- Noosa Today. Best Newspaper Employing Two Journalists Or Fewer- The Northern Miner. Most Improved Newspaper- Bowen Independent.

Pictured: NewsMediaWorks' Charlie Murdoch (centre), with newly-elected deputy president Phill Le Petit - whose Noosa Today was voted best newspaper over 10,000 circulation - and committee member Ted Rogers

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