The Highlander was named the best overall newspaper at the Ontario Community Newspaper Association (OCNA) virtual awards ceremony April 23.
“The Highlander was the clear winner in this class,” the judge said of the 6,500 to 12,499 circulation category.
“Clean and concise writing, headlines and design, with appealing layout from start to finish, excellent use of colour and strong local photography throughout,” the judge added.
“The dedicated arts and sports sections, along with the other special sections like environment and health offer readers a broad slice of community life. This is a shining example of community news not only done well in terms of content, but presented in an appealing package. Loved that they take the time to do a streeter!”
The newspaper also took first in the best feature photo category for an image editor Lisa Gervais took of a blacksmithing student looking through an opening in the handle of his knife at Haliburton School of Art and Design.
The judge said, “Lisa Gervais used a tremendous amount of imagination to figure out how to shoot this photo and make it spectacular. Everything about the photo from human interest, originality, and quality of reproduction make it #1.”
Head of production, Lyelca Rodrigues, also took a first place for local retail layout. The judge said, “you took a simple idea to the next level with great design, eye-catching images, and simple, clean text. Great way to think outside the box.”
Gervais was runner-up for best investigative news story for a piece she wrote headlined ‘Clock stops ticking at the Wig’. The judge commented, “strong open – huge story. Straightforward and simple writing by Lisa Gervais going a long way. Sometimes the work put into a story is directly related to what is on the page. Congrats.”
Rodrigues garnered a second for original ad idea. The judge said, “Nice executions. Simple and easy, yet fun.”
The paper was also awarded third place for best vertical product for Home in the Highlands, best creative ad, and best use of colour.