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QCPA 2022 Media Excellence Awards

QCPA 2022 Media Excellence Awards

May 27, 2022 | QCPA Awards

Held 27th May 2022 at The Pullman, King George Square, Brisbane

QCPA’s 2022 Media Excellence Awards attracted a great response from members across print and online journalism, advertising, photography and publishing and 128 guests enjoyed an exciting Awards night at the Pullman King George Square Hotel on Friday, May 28. The Awards were held in conjunction with the Association’s 114th annual conference.

Click the image below to view the QCPA 2022 Media Excellence Awards presentation.

2022 Awards Presentation

2022 Award Winners

Images of QCPA 2022 Media Excellence Awards placegetters will be displayed shortly but in the interim see winners of each category with judges comments.

Best Locally Produced Print Advertising Campaign

35 entries

It was fantastic to see such high participation levels with hundreds of entrants from all over Queensland obviously taking enough pride in their work, to submit it to be judged. One of the judging criteria that scored consistently high marks was ‘likelihood of desired effect for the advertiser’. It is clear that everyone is doing a good job for their clients.

It was fantastic to see such high participation levels with hundreds of entrants from all over Queensland obviously taking enough pride in their work, to submit it to be judged. One of the judging criteria that scored consistently high marks was ‘likelihood of desired effect for the advertiser’. It is clear that everyone is doing a good job for their clients.

The ads that make the viewer emotionally connect, the ones that make them smile, laugh or feel enough to want to read on and respond, are the ones that ended up scoring highest and that are being awarded this year.

In many cases, these ads were for pretty ‘unsexy’ products that enticed the creators away from simply saying “this is our product”, to instead representing the benefit of the product in a more visually compelling way. Or, they were for smaller ad spaces that forced the creators to simplify the messaging and try to be more visually dramatic and conceptually potent.

The end result was that these were the ads that stood out and won the judges’ favour, just as they would the target market reading the newspaper, and rose to the top of what was an otherwise very tightly-contested field.

Congratulations to the very worthy winners… and well done to you all.

Winner - Shoe Steel: ‘Life is Short’

Bundaberg Today

The Shoe Steel ‘Life is Short’ campaign is everything a print campaign should try to be – distinctive, relevant, simple and compelling, with each ad clearly building upon the previous to elevate the key campaign theme in new resonant ways.

One of the key things that set the Shoe Steel campaign apart from the other entries, was the creative way that they transformed a boring and visually unsexy product (scrap metal collection) into a fun, quirkily joyous and memorable communication, by showing people enjoying the benefit of the benefit. The Shoe Steel creative team also utilised colour-control brilliantly to not just create visual impact, but to also set a vibrant, discerning tone for the campaign, that they applied consistently throughout. Congratulations to this very deserving winner.

2nd Place - Wunderdogs: ‘Because Dogs’

Noosa Today

The Wunderdog campaign is another that set itself apart through consistency of design elements, colour scheme, layout and tone of voice throughout each ad of the campaign, enhanced by fresh customer-insight-driven messaging each time. Each new execution was either topical or seasonal, displaying a strong understanding of their customer’s needs at that particular time, and demonstrating that Wunderdog’s people truly are relatable, likable ‘dog people’. Great job!

3rd Place - Evans, Edwards & Associates: ‘Tailor a plan’

CQ Today

They say a picture says a thousand words. The Evans, Edwards & Associates ‘Tailor a plan’ campaign understands this and utilises the power of emotive photography and lets it breathe. Simple, clear, aspirational, motivating. Well done.

Best Locally Produced Print Advertisement judged by Rem Bruijn

84 entries

It was fantastic to see such high participation levels with hundreds of entrants from all over Queensland obviously taking enough pride in their work, to submit it to be judged. One of the judging criteria that scored consistently high marks was ‘likelihood of desired effect for the advertiser’. It is clear that    everyone is doing a good job for their clients.

So with this base level of professionalism, the criteria that elevated the winners above the pack were more around ‘creativity and originality’ and ‘layout and visual appeal’. From the judges perspective, these areas present the biggest opportunity for you to gain an advantage for your clients.

The ads that make the viewer emotionally connect, the ones that make them smile, laugh or feel enough to want to read on and respond, are the ones that ended up scoring highest and that are being awarded this year.

In many cases, these ads were for pretty ‘unsexy’ products that enticed the creators away from simply saying “this is our product”, to instead representing the benefit of the product in a more visually compelling way. Or, they were for smaller ad spaces that forced the creators to simplify the messaging and try to be more visually dramatic and conceptually potent.

The end result was that these were the ads that stood out and won the judges’ favour, just as they would the target market reading the newspaper, and rose to the top of what was an otherwise very tightly-contested field.

Congratulations to the very worthy winners… and well done to you all.

Winner - Dover & Sons: ‘Hard to wrap, Easy to give’

Beaudesert Bulletin

In the words of Samuel L Jackson in the movie ‘Pulp Fiction’, “Personality goes a long way!”. Dover and Son’s ‘Hard to wrap, Easy to give’ Christmas ad is a perfect example of this, turning a retail page full of chainsaws and garden pruners into a smile-inducing Christmas wonderland complete with Santa Murray and his staff of workshop elves, who you can imagine struggling with the gift wrapping.

Through the judicious control of colour, built around a fun, central idea, Dover and Sons were able to create an advertisement jampacked with products, prices and staff pics that, at the end of the day, was still simple, clear and compelling. What’s more, it not only promoted their products and prices, but also served to hero and energise their sales team, and promised the Dover and Sons customer, a great in-store experience.

2nd Place - Care Goondiwindi Community Legal Service: ‘Drowning in debt’

Warwick Stanthorpe Today

There’s nothing like the restriction of only having a small space to tell your story that forces you to think simply and search for impact. With three words and a dramatically powerful image, Care Goondiwindi Community Legal Service was able to strike an immediate emotional chord with the target market to add gravitas and urgency to the promotion of this important community event. Well done.

3rd Place - Lockyer Valley Billy Cart: ‘Derby Fun Day’

The Lockyer & Somerset Independent

A stand-out, personality-filled image that embodies the fun and excitement of the event, supported by some striking graphic design that heroes it to elevate the ad further. This advertisement is a good example of playing to your greatest strength and then letting it breathe, as opposed to suffocating it with extra, unnecessary detail. Fun!

Award for Best Newspaper Supplement Insert or Best Special Publication judged by Renee White

33 entries

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the submitted special publications. There was a great mix of creative ideas, styles, layouts and formats. All publications on their own were standouts and you could see the passion put into all these publications. When choosing the winners, I was looking for publications that caught my attention with an attractive cover and innovative ideas. Shout out to the South Burnett Today for a beautiful cover for their magazine, Savour, and GCM News for a well designed commemorative edition of the Maleny Show Society 100 years. I loved the use of small booklets (almost pocket sized) so readers can easily use and carry them i.e. The Lockyear & Somerset Independent Property Guide and Warwick Today’s Warwick Rodeo guide.

A few special publications had very busy layouts which were not aesthetically pleasing and hard to read.

Winner - FNQ Rotary Field Days

The Express

A very well designed informative publication showcasing the upcoming happenings at the year’s field days. The publication was well supported with a high level of advertising and the design of all the adverts were very professional and stylish. All at a high level. The page layout was neat, clear and concise but still creative and colourful. I would assume the Rotary club would have been impressed with the high quality of this 56 page publication.

2nd Place – Tablelands Better Beef Open Day

The Express Mareeba

This attractive publication definitely served its purpose in providing the reader information for the Better Beef open day. It was very easy to read as the articles were clear and to the point but still providing the relevant information to the reader. Very well supported with advertising and providing an extra benefit to readers with the inclusion of editorial to accompany the adverts. The advert designs were executed well.

3rd Place - CQ Today

Welcome to the QC Region

Clear standout special publication which definitely serves its purpose. Neat stylish layout that had a good mix of advertising, photos and editorial which did not over crowd the pages. It looks to have been very well supported with advertising. As a non-local myself, I found the information brief but relevant and informative showcasing the highlights of the region. The advertising was very well designed, eye-catching and attractive, surely pleasing the advertisers. I liked the use of large photos and straps to break-up the different sections. Only feedback which would elevate this publication would be gloss pages throughout.

Best One-Off or Regular Print Commercial Feature judged by Renee White

50 entries

A difficult category to judge as there was a high calibre of entries but obviously some clear standouts. What I was looking for as I was judging was creativity and attractive layouts which were well supported with advertising, as let's face it, they are opportunities to drive great revenue for our publications. The difficulty with advertising features is to make them engaging to readers whilst still providing commercial information and satisfying the advertiser. However, whilst reading the features I could definitely see the talent and creativity from the journalists.

The straps and creativity of the layouts were fantastic. For example, the Naidoc Week, Meet your Local and Racecourse to the River feature were very well laid out. Vibrant and colourful, and all creatively written.

Feedback: I noticed in some features there were no captions accompanying the photos. Whilst they can spoil a layout I feel they are important as our publications are historical records and when looking back in 20 years time it would be good to know the name of the people featured.

Well done to everyone!

Winner - Bundaberg Today

Bundy's Best Brew

Bundy’s Best Brew Coffee. A simple feature topic that packed a lot of WOW! Angela Norval has a beautiful writing style that is highly engaging and creative. So much so, I had to go buy a coffee after reading this article. Advertisers would be very impressed with the quality of writing as it had true soul and made the basic facts of each business exciting and enticing. Excellent advertising support with larger adverts which were creatively designed. Nice use of banners at the top of the page. A clear standout winner!

2nd Place – My Weekly Preview

My Christmas 2021

My Christmas Love this feature! Very aesthetically pleasing. Heavily supported by advertising which were all creatively designed. Short snippets of information relating to Christmas that were easy to read and would be of interest to both visitors and locals. The festive food section had a very clear, attractive layout with photos that drew your attention to the page. Love the idea of showcasing the individual products of advertisers as a creative way of advertising. Whilst informative it felt commercialised. Adding in a couple of community stories or profile pieces would add a more engaged read.

3rd Place - Queensland Farmer Today

Mungbean Australia

Mungbean Australia What a layout! If I was an advertiser on this page I would be impressed with the way the feature was laid out and the use of colours. A feature needs to be able to stop a reader as they are flicking through the publication and this would do just that. It was informative and provided important information for the Mungbean industry whilst heavily supported with advertising that did not overpower the page. Great double page spread. Well done.

Best Printed Community Advertising Promotion judged by Rob Duffield

31 entries

The BEST PRINTED COMMUNITY ADVERTISING PROMOTION Award was wholeheartedly embraced by Queensland Country Press titles with a huge number of entries received. The category featured a plethora of high standard, creative entries. All entries were worthy of participation in the category. It was so fantastic to see the enthusiasm and thought that had gone into promotion and marketing across Queensland titles. The resilience of the newspapers and determination to forge ahead with promotions amidst the COVID pandemic also needs a special mention.

There were some outstanding entries in this category with the very detailed and informative Burnett Today ‘Sexual Violence Awareness Month’ taking out the top position. This was one of the best pieces of health wellbeing promotion I have ever seen. Noosa Today’s ‘We are Vaccinated, are you?’ was another outstanding promotion which was published at a crucial time during the health emergency.

Winner - BURNETT TODAY - Sexual Violence Awareness Month.

Burnett Today is really for filling its brief as a leader, advocate, educator the reliable, credible, and pertinent place to go in its community to access necessary, sound information. A fantastic initiative which is 'chocker block' full of information. Information that really assists victims and their families to negotiate the myriad of red tape and tick off points in a very delicate and complex area. There is a huge list of months allocated in Australia to awareness issues like this. A real opportunity for local newspapers to show leadership. Well done Burnett Today....A superb entry which addresses all facets of the crime in a very engaging format.

2nd NOOSA TODAY - We are vaccinated, Are you?

This was a very timely, responsible promotion from the Noosa Today team about the importance of getting vaccinated and keeping their communities safe, the advertisement was coordinated with a key partner, the Noosa Council. The campaign itself gained significant coverage and discussion across Country Press. Very relevant, extremally responsible, just what local newspapers are all about. The ad was structured around vaccination testimonials from leading locals urging all Noosa residents to do their bit at the crucial vaccination program start, as they had done. A pertinent well-coordinated effort to keep the Noosa community safe. Well Done!!!!


A very significant buy local community promotion from The Lockyer & Somerset Independent. A very detailed and well thought out promotion which clearly tells the story and outlines the benefits to locals if they buy local. The prize monies available to local shoppers were outstanding helping the region to kick start normal trading post COVID. A sound local promotion which really hits the mark. It also features a key Buy Local message very clearly on the feature front cover. A great entry from the Independent.

Best Printed House Advertisement or Promotion judged by Rob Duffield

16 entries

The BEST PRINTED HOUSE ADVERTISEMENT OR PROMOTION was another award category which attracted a wide variety of entries from Queensland members. The Lockyer & Somerset Independent dominated this category taking out the three top award placings. Their dominance didn’t diminish the standard of the other entries in any way, either. All entries were worthy. The points raised in the Best Community Promotion Award are also relevant in this category. It was a delight to see House Advertisement’s / Promotion treated seriously and utilised by Queensland regional newspapers. So often, house advertisements / promotion has been an afterthought for regional news titles. Congratulations Queensland members. The Independent’s TLSL Community Promotion took out the top award with their novel ‘Independent Great Shed Giveaway’ taking out the second spot.


What a fantastic way for a newspaper to encapsulate its community sponsorship and support to its communities. We should all be copying this concept. Which is basic, looks good and captures the local newspapers true worth and commitment to its community / region. This advertisement significantly displays the local newspapers real life commitment to everyone in the community. Organisations, groups, sports clubs, and individuals. An awesome job from The Independent team.

2nd - THE LOCKYER & SOMERSET INDEPENDENT -The Independent Great Shed Giveaway

A Great Shed Giveaway competition concept around circulation from The Independent is an absolute winner. I liked the bold colours the team used in all the ads and tokens. We would be interested in the entry count achieved. I'm sure it would have been fantastic. A good choice of prize as well. Who wouldn't want to win a new shed? Fantastic concept and a novel unique prize. Well done again ‘Independent’ team.


A clean sweep in this category from the team at the Lockyer & Somerset Independent. Another fabulous ad concept inviting readers to participate in a comprehensive local survey. The crew at the paper are really thinking about their readers/ potential readers here. Probably no more cost-effective better way to ask questions of their readers? Good promotion name as well. We all need to do more questioning of our readers to ascertain what they like, don’t like and need. A fine effort from the independent team!

Best ROP Newspaper Feature/Supplement judged by Renee White

45 entries

There was a range of creative advertising features in this category covering many different focuses from sporting clubs, local festivals and events, commemorative days and addressing community issues. Most features had substantial paging and were well supported with advertising. Most submissions also were well designed with creative banners, coloured backgrounds and well designed pages which captured the attention. However, there were a handful of features mainly filled with social pictures. These features would have elevated if supported with some editorial coverage to provide more information and break up the pages.

Well done to all publications. There were many creative ideas and different advertising styles, such as the Women in Business features which provided a picture and brief story in a structured manner which provided a nice change from the traditional advertising and editorial stacks mostly used. It would be good to see what other creative styles and out-of-the-box ideas the teams can come up with next year. The winner in this category was easy to choose as it was an innovative idea to turn an editorial focused story into an advertising feature and as a keep-sake something readers will keep.

Winner – Ash Barty

Ipswich News Today

Ash Barty10/10 for originality and innovation. What was already an incredible front page story to be turned into a stellar feature wrap-round in a matter of a couple of days is an innovative, successful idea by the Ipswich team. Souvenir poster in the centre is an excellent keepsake idea for readers to remember this history-making moment. Excellent effort by both the sales and editorial teams to turn around this feature in a short timeframe with interesting, moving editorial to be proud of and excellent local advertising support.

2nd Place – Kings Royal South Burnett Speedway

Burnett Today

Kingaroy SpeedwayThe 12-page feature was attractively designed with the perfect amount of advertising to compliment the number of pages. Whilst providing informative editorial coverage for the event, the feature was supported with profile stories on local drivers which will engage readers longer and be of interest to all readers not just those interested in speedway. Excellent use of colourful photos covering speedway action and showcasing the people. Vibrant, eye-catching advertisements which standout on the page. Well done!

3rd Place - Jingle & Mingle
Warwick Today

3rd - Jingle and MingleA very well designed feature encouraging locals to attend the Jingle & Mingle late night shopping event. Having a coloured background bordered the editorial and advertising making the stories and adverts standout on the page. Well designed advertisements showcasing what the stores have to have to offer are supported by lots of little photos of products which surprisingly didn’t make the page look busy at all. Small snippets on the showcased business were concise, briefly giving the reader all the information they needed.

Best Editorial Campaign judged by Celine Foenander

21 entries

Regardless of whether your publication is in a semi-urban centre, regional town or in a rural or remote location, you share common ground. You are all really connected to the communities for which you write.

The beauty of a community campaign is knowing your audience and being ready to advocate on their behalf.

This can be a tricky category (particularly to judge). What defines a campaign and how do you measure the success of your work? Well, have a purpose and be persistent to get a result or an answer to a question.

Many of you did just that.

For those of you aiming for the Editorial Campaign crown next year please pay close attention to your timeline submission/supporting statement. It’s your pitch to explain why your community needed this campaign. Unfortunately, no-one hit the brief this year. This formed part of the judging criteria so vital points went begging.

Winner - The Ipswich Tribune

Tivoli Raceway

Perhaps not an obvious campaign as such but an important series of stories which led to change. This is a story that would not have been identified in any council meeting papers, yet it uncovered a huge anomaly - council and the motocross promoter's failure to follow due process and regularly engage the community. Each story revealed another piece of the puzzle and clearly the spotlight put pressure on council and the promoter to go through the proper regulatory and engagement process and implement changes to benefit the community. Great to see some outcomes in this entry.

2nd Place - Bundaberg Today

Bundaberg Regional Council's news service- Bundaberg Now

Nice, tight writing for a subject that could easily have been considered a whinge from local media agencies with fewer resources than the BRC. This campaign brings several aspects to light) how ratepayers are unwittingly funding a digital newsroom) the quest to find out the real cost of doing soc) how 'fake news' could potentially overshadow important issues relating to council accountability and transparency. This is a campaign that looks to support not only the community and ratepayers but strong, legitimate regional journalism which is sadly being threatened from all angles.

3rd Place - The Fassifern Guardian

Saving Minto Crag

Terrific stories covering all angles of the debate and a clear outcome for the indigenous community. This is a story which could easily have been swept under the carpet - so what if people climb a rock on a weekend? However having some solid evidence from archaeologists helped to strengthen the argument that climbing was neither good for the environment nor the cultural significance of the area. Had the indigenous community not had the back of the publication and a small band of community supporters, it's unlikely this issue would have gone as far as it did. What a moving outcome to the story.

3rd Place - My Weekly Preview

Help for homeless rolls in

Well done on shining a spotlight on homelessness with so many people falling through the rental crack. Not sure the publication can claim full credit for the fundraising effort but its consistency in reporting the issue and the interesting personal stories of people who are homeless would no doubt have resonated with some readers.

Excellence Award for Digital Innovation judged by Robert Whitehead

Only one application for this category

Winner - Noosa Today

Noosa Today has developed a strong approach to engaging its audiences as part of a multi-platform strategy. Its decision two years to begin reverse-publishing its digital content into a weekly paper just as a big competitor exited print began an integrated growth plan and its results have been impressive.

Three things of note. NT executes a clear strategy to drive user registration through its free subscriptions prompts, which many free publications had shied away from because they are unaware of earnings power to be gained from first-party user data.

NT knows that writing fewer, better, more impactful stories drives deeper engagement, which may seem counter-intuitive but is backed by the data. And NT also knows that using social media cleverly to drive the audience back to its own platforms is the most valuable use of this parallel publishing world. All this is supported by clean, unfussy design templates that create a solid user experience which belies the size of this publication and parent company.

Journalistic Excellence Award for an Individual Journalist

An absolute pleasure to have the privilege of reading the entries in this section. Based on the number of entries and standard displayed, journalism in regional Queensland is well and truly alive. A terrific representation of reporting from the entries with features, hard news and everything in between.

Every entry deserves high praise for writing about the issues that matter to their communities and importantly, giving their communities a voice.

Winner – Brian Bennion

The Fassifern Guardian

People who think local politics are boring should read this excellent series from reporter Brian Bennion. From the first story where the inner turmoil on council is exposed, this is a riveting read, ending in an inquiry into council's closed-door meetings to the sacking of the CEO.

2nd Place – Phil Jarratt

Noosa Today

Another great example of the newspaper taking up community causes. A well written series of articles on important local issues.

Equal 3rd Place – Julian Lehnert

Burnett Today

A great compilation of stories, covering the financial woes of the local council. Importantly, a serious issue was exposed and the community given a voice.

Equal 3rd Place – Rebecca Harris

Burdekin Local News

Regional and rural journalists must be versatile with an ability to write everything from features to hard news. This entrant demonstrated an ability to capture this writing versatility with well written and researched articles.

Overall Journalistic Excellence Award for a Newspaper judged by Dr Kristy Hess & Alison McAdam

10 entries

It is incredibly comforting to pick up a newspaper that is full to the brim with local content. Content that reflects the public issues of the day, captures the social and cultural milestones and events and leads a community for the benefit of all who see themselves a part. So many of the entrants in this category did just that, showing that quality local news is indeed alive and strong in Queensland.

Winner - Bundaberg Today

Very little separated the award winners for this category, but Bundaberg Today proved to be the complete package with clean, eye-catching page design, excellent community leadership especially with its investigation into "Farm Slum Claims" and good quality journalism all-round. The photography and caption writing were especially strong.

2nd Place - The Lockyer & Somerset Independent

The overall layout, use of photography and appeal of this paper was hard to beat. From Flood Fury to New Beaut Utes, this news team shows it is consistently there for its community during emergencies, can air public debate in a fair and considered way and give voice to its young readers.

3rd Place - The Ipswich Tribune

For a relatively new newspaper it's easy to see why this newspaper has rapidly gaining the support of the region. The front page of this newspaper packs a punch with local content. There doesn't seem to be a council agenda item overlooked by this newspaper and it clearly digs deeper to explore big issues where needed.

Award for Young Journalist of the Year judged by Dr Kristy Hess & Alison McAdam

14 entries

We were delighted and inspired by the quality of the entries in this category. There is much national attention on the need to attract new cadets and young journalists to work in local newspapers and these awards show just how talented and dedicated reporters are across the Queensland Country Press Association.

Winner - Aaron Goodwin

Bundaberg Today

Aaron has presented an excellent body of work. He has displayed a tenacity in pursing important local issues - such as local council and industry/environmental matters - and an ability to follow them up to ensure the community he serves has the full story. He consults multiple sources, providing his stories with a variety of voices and perspectives. His writing is strong throughout, and his stories have interesting, attention-grabbing leads/intros. Aaron is a deserving winner of the QCPA Young Journalist of the Year.

2nd Place – Isabella Guzman Gonzalez

Cairns Local News

Isabella's portfolio of work is very good. It includes hard news stories as well as human-interest stories, and covers a variety of topics from charity milestones to shark attacks to health industry changes. She consults multiple primary sources and includes interesting, relevant quotes in her stories. Her intros/leads grab the reader's attention, her writing is clear and her stories are well structured.

3rd Place - Dominique Tassell

Warwick & Stanthorpe Today

Dominique’s work covers a wide range of topics important to her community. She has displayed an ability to cover controversial issues as well as produce human interest stories. Her portfolio shows she regularly consults a wide range of sources.

Best Community or Portrait Picture judged by Ian Osterman

40 entries

Excellent entries made judging an enjoyable challenge. This is an area of photography where the artistic talents of the people holding the camera are given a chance to shine. It is an opportunity photographers should relish. I would encourage them to think creatively and use natural props around them to their advantage.

Winner - Tears for our fallen police

Bundaberg Today
Photographer - Aaron Goodwin

The discreet wiping of an errant tear with a gnarled hand is a beautiful moment captured by photographer Aaron Goodwin at at a National Police Remembrance Day service. There's not a dry eye in the house as those gathered to remember those who have given their lives in the service of others. The reader is left wondering from what pool of personal heartache that single, pesky tear has flowed and if that pool of pain, however long ago it formed, is nearly dry. A great image that makes you think.

2nd Place - From Little Things Big Things Grow

Gympie Today
Photographer - Shane Zahner

Many photographers might have been put off taking a pretty and positive image where at least a third of the field of vision it is a crappy looking corrugated iron fence. But 'removing' that detracting part of the landscape by using a narrow depth of field, the focus of the image dominates almost entirely and the fence is effectively hidden in plain sight. The bottom splash of colourful flowers and the subject holding a puppy makes what could have been a very average photo into something special.

3rd Place - Music Legend Ian Moss

Gympie Today
Photographer - Shane Zahner

Capturing the atmosphere of Ian Moss playing at the Mitchell Creek Rock and Blues Fest is a credit to photographer Shane Zahner. No doubt battling a crowd and difficult circumstances such as shooting directing into powerful stage lighting, Shane has brought a slice of the festival to the reader.

Best News Picture judged by Ian Osterman

21 Entries

This was surprisingly the weak link in the three categories I judged and is clearly an area where newspaper proprietors and perhaps the State-based association needs to devote some attention.

While some submissions were good, too many fell short of the mark.

Flooding pictures dominated the entries but too few featured victims of the disaster and some were devoid of people entirely. Other images could be improved by taking advantage of simple lighting techniques to improve the images and more creative captions would also assist.

Winner - Standing against mandate

Beaudesert Bulletin 
Photographer - Keer Moriarty

Good news photography is not just about being at the right place at the right time ... it's about reading the room. Photographer Keer Moriarty's image says it all in an instant. The reader knows the story before they've read a single word because the photographer was viewing the task through a news reporters’ lens. Simple but effective.

2nd Place - The Ipswich flood clean up continues 

The Ipswich Tribune  
Photographer - Lyle Radford

The stinking piles of flood carnage lining suburban streets are images well known to communities throughout Queensland and NSW this year. The clean-up is an horrendous task that can seem to have no end. Thankfully it draws out the best in people, a quality captured by Lyle Radford as volunteers diligently work away among the mess.

3rd Place – Lightning over Rosewood

Moreton Border News  
Photographer - Lyle Radford

A ripping image of a lightning strike over Rosewood. Despite the challenges brought on by the darkness, photographer Lyle Radford has managed to capture the wonderful cloud formations from his high vantage point. The storm would have been the talk of the town the next morning. Sometimes it is easier to stay inside on nights like these but to a dedicated photographer such weather events bring opportunities.

Best Sports Picture judged by Ian Osteman

24 entries

A wide range of images were submitted indicating regional newspapers are deeply embedded in their communities. The standard was excellent and any of the top three would have been worthy winners. Capturing a good sports photo is much more than standing on the sidelines and shooting the action.

Good sports photographers have to read the play just like a participant and be a step ahead of the action to capture those special moments. It would appear the Queensland photographers are well and truly 'on the ball'.

Congratulations to all entrants.

Winner – He's Coming To Get Me!

Gympie Today 
Photographer - Shane Zahner

What a wonderful image capturing the glacial pace and good nature of the contest. Rarely does humour rise to the surface in sports photography but this one takes the cake. The reader can only imagine the rubbish talked afterwards by the players over a beer or three. This is what sport does best - it binds communities. Congratulations Shane Zahner

2nd Place - Small but Mighty  

Beaudesert Bulletin 
Photographer - Susie Cunningham

The fierce determination shown by junior netballer Pippa Wilke against her much larger and stronger opponents dominates this image. The photographer has captured her poise under pressure as she weighs up her options and the photo generates a 'you go girl' emotional support from the reader.

3rd Place – Ride 'em Cowboy

Gympie Today
Photographer - Shane Zahner

Shane Zahner's rodeo image is a classic. Under soft and mottled lighting conditions the image is sharp and crisp. Although the focus is on the bucking horse and rider, the crowd behind are in focus enough for each to be recognised ... a good trait for newspaper photography. It was a shame a larger image was not used in the paper .... bloody editors!

Best Free Newspaper judged by Rohan Gosstray

14 entries

A very broad range of high-quality entries, publications included, fortnightly, weekly, flip-flop, short-tab, A4, tabloid, full gloss.

Designs were unique to their markets and rich with local editorial and pictures balanced with highly relevant advertising targeted to readers, maintaining great business economics.

In many cases the value of the publications to both readers and advertisers was extended online with digital flip books, unique online content and a digital advertising directory leveraging the local presence of the masthead.

Innovation was evident across the board, one publication had purposely increased font sizes recognising the demographics of the readership, premium front page positions in one case were multiple coloured advertising tiles and one publication quantified the contribution to the community by supplying $200,000 worth in cash and in-kind advertising.

Winner - The Express Mareeba

Clear bold headlines and well-written stories with solid advertising support in different sections including entertainment, property and rural section and strong classifieds. The print publication is supported by an excellent online website with flip book and text to audio on stories and a community advertising directory promoted with google ad words.

2nd Place - Noosa Today

High story count and good pagination, great advertising support with a solid real estate section and very local pictures. Pictures in the publication cover a broad range of community activity with lots of local faces. The publication extends its reach with the well-designed website with flip books and range of local stories providing the opportunity for immediate updates if needed.

3rd Place -  Beaudesert Bulletin

A punchy bi-weekly publication with great local pictures and smiling faces especially on the front page of the publication, very parochial and supportive local stories and solid advertising support with an excellent business directory and the start of some classified pagination. They advertise the fact that the preference is to promote local business over outside competitors and emphasise supporting the local economy.

Best Online Publication judged by Ben Ready

4 entries

All entries in the category were of a very high standard  and demonstrate a commitment to their communities and publishing excellence. From an editorial perspective, all the sites demonstrated a strong understanding of their local communities and the desire to deliver local content in a resource-challenged environment.

Some of the news could have been a little more recent and timely to provide readers with the opportunity to return more regularly. The user experience for each of the sites was great with simple navigation and a nice balance between editorial and advertising. Congratulations to those outlets that have taken the time secure direct advertising from local businesses.

Winner - The Express Newspaper

Great design with plenty of effort and customisation put into detail (fonts, backgrounds, header, footer). Plenty of great local content and images with lots of timely news and plenty of diversity. Good separation between advertising and editorial. Great innovation with addition of AdAuris. Plenty of publication information and very easy to find media Kit. A great publication and my favourite of the four nominations.

2nd Place – Daily Mercury

Plenty of great local stories and strong investment in in-depth local content (Sporting Dynasties: 17 families shaping Mackay sport). Well written and excellent photography means content will be highly engaging to local readers. Good, clean layout with easy navigation and clear separation between different sections. Access to news Corp network news provides a more diversified story offering.

3rd Place - Sentinel News

A great clean look with clear delineation between editorial and advertising content. Plenty of 'local' news and very well written but some stories are a bit old. Could probably use less stock photography but appreciate the challenges in sourcing this. Mobile site very functional and easy to navigate.

Best Paid Newspaper judged by Rohan Gosstray

10 entries

Local story counts were high and highly relevant to the community, the strongest publications had good pictures of local people and an abundance of smiling faces, all photographs reflected towns the papers were located in.

Local advertising told its own story and demonstrated how important local produce and services are to the community encouraging locals to “buy local” and most publications had solid real estate sections, and healthy classified sections creating more value for readers.

Publications extended the brand to the digital space allowing people to subscribe online and potentially using the digital space to provide more detail when necessary and providing extra value to advertisers and readers.

A special mention needs to go to Gympie today and their flood coverage (not just once) the detail, photographs and explanation of the impact was exceptional, demonstrating how important the paper is as a document of record and the source of reliable news.

Winner - CQ Today

This publication passes the pinch test with a high number of pages and well-written stories, full of local information and with a range of sections, advertising support is strong and adds extra value for the readers.

The local information demonstrates a great variety and the pictures capture the feel of the town.

2nd Place - The Fassifern Guardian

Striking visual design, bold and easy to read with a good variety of local stories, good local advertising support with the start of a solid classified section. Striking design continues on the website which allows subscribers to continue on with interesting stories and provides the opportunity for the editor to add more information that could not be used in the printed publication.

3rd Place - Burnett Today

Well written local stories, and solid pagination supported by very good local advertising, promotion with an emphasis on shopping local, great local pictures and a solid classified section. The focus on the local rural market is appropriate.