Scoops seven awards

The Highlander has again been named the best community newspaper in Ontario in its circulation size.

The paper beat out finalists Niagara-on-theLake, the Lake Report, and Niagara-on-the Lake Local in the 6,500 to 12,499 circulation category.

The judges said The Highlander, “is a true example of an outstanding newspaper. A pleasure to read, it clearly deserved the top marks this year. It fits the definition of what a community newspaper should be pretty much to the letter.

“It is visually appealing, with effective use of colour, and draws the reader in. The layout and design, quality of writing and photography and the level of community news was fantastic to see. It was also the strongest newspaper for sports coverage. We really liked the ‘people’ and ‘junior highlanders’ categories. Congratulations to the newsroom for producing a wonderful read with lively, well-written stories, fresh visuals, and excellent design.”

Editor Lisa Gervais won the Environment Ontario award, from among 25 entries. It was for her first-hand account of being on patrol with the Turtle Guardians. The judges said “great piece. It was a pleasure to read.” Gervais shared the nod with Tania Moher, who laid the piece out.

The paper took first and second in best online experience. The first was for the County election podcast What are we doing? The second was for a mini-documentary on Dorset forest firefighting.

The judges said the podcast “was the most comprehensive and absolutely provided the best online experience. The print grid augmented by podcasts are an incredible way to reach new audiences. The issues and candidates are clearly laid out in the print product with sidebars sending the readers to a series of podcasts on hot taxpayer topics.”

The paper was also judged the best of 24 entries in the arts and entertainment category for a story written by former reporter Sam Gillett on CanoeFM radio bingo. The judges said it was “a most enjoyable read. Great photo and a lively story.”

The Highlander was awarded third place of 17 entries for best editorial page/section. The judges note while only one topic was represented in the section submitted, it was an important one – the closure of the Minden ER. “It was thoroughly explored in several letters and opinion pieces. The clean layout makes everything easy to read.”

Gervais grabbed a third in the health and wellness category as well, for a piece on Audrey’s Aquatic Therapy, with the judges saying it was “good storytelling.”

Publisher Heather Kennedy said the independently-owned local paper has always punched above its weight in competition with larger publications.

“We are a small but mighty team. We are passionate about this community and work really hard to tell its stories. Being so well-recognized for what we do is very satisfying. And, of course, we couldn’t do it without our readers and advertisers.”