CNAV Awards


Best layout and design

Winner: Studfield Wantirna Community News

This newsletter has a traditional format but cleverly uses a modern friendly typeface and brush stroke col- ours in the background to make it feel more ‘for the community’ rather than a corporate looking publication.

Finalist: The SpringDale Messenger

The size, paper choice and use of colour add to make

an inviting community newsletter. It has a interesting mix of headings and articles. The pattern under the masthead banner and at the bottom of the front page frame the newsletter very well making it feel polished.

Finalist: Brown Hill Community Newsletter

For a black and white low cost newsletter this pub- lication shows simplicity in design and layout. There are interesting photos, combined with a consistent typeface throughout and an excellent use of columns to make this newsletter easy to read.


Best feature story

It was so hard. The quality is amazing. All stories de- serve to win. Enjoyed reading them so much. They were all so good.

Winner: Ferntree Gully News: Sexton of the cemetery

Hands up who knows what a sexton is? I thought it was a mathematical instrument, until I read this sto- ry about the Ferntree Gully cemetery. The setting of the story is a place of life and death, thus this article about the sexton of the cemetery dignifies and hon- ours both. It is a personal story as well as a community story. The writing brought tears to my eyes. The story begins with an anecdote, in traditional feature-writing style. Carefully selected, short quotes add readability and impact. The writer strikes the right register in a fine balance between practicalities and emotions, to make a cemetery story engaging, interesting, and dig- nifying.

Finalist: Village Bell: Let’s wake up before the alarm

This article is rich in detail to describe the heart- felt memories of a teenager caught in the midst of the bushfire tragedy that hit Upper Beaconsfield in February 1983. Personal stories are evocative. That 16-year-old has never forgotten the faces, the words, the mayhem, the fear, and the courage of his small community in the hills south east of Melbourne on that day. His is a timeless story. Some feature stories just have to be written in the first person, even though the personal approach is usually taboo in the big pa- pers. That is because there is a danger of producing a diary-like account and therefore of losing the audi- ence. But the writer of this story maintained his sense of audience as he wrote about his own reactions, to document a saga, from the first spark to the inquest. The map provides context to the story and is an im- portant visual element. This account of Ash Wednes- day is worthy of publication in the mainstream press, as are many of the entries in this year’s CNAV awards.

Finalist: Harcourt News/The Core: Building a mountain trail

Here’s to the workers: the ones paid to use shovels, chainsaws, rakes, and brush-cutters. This story about the building of a mountain cycling trail acknowledges the skills and contributions of those who do the hard yakka in their everyday work, for the benefit of the rest of us. One strength of the article lies in its opening anecdote, which concisely sets the scene and introduces the characters. I thought this story was informative, clear, well structured, personable, and made terrific use of quotes and facts.


Best Sports Reporting

It was once again a tough task to select this year’s winners from so many wonderful entries. From stories about the incredible achievements of community sporing stalwarts through to the celebration of new facilities and sporting stories on everything from local special Olympians through to boosting the opportu- nity for Koorie involvement in the world game. Our community newspapers are doing a fantastic job of celebrating local sporting endeavours.

Winner: GREAT Gisborne Gazette

This entry featured great overall design, layout, terrific photos, a great headline and clear and concise coverage of the club’s efforts. A real celebration.

Finalist: The Carisbrook Mercury

A bold and striking front page layout. The story content offers a great quarter by quarter account which places the reader game-side.

Finalist: Buninyong Community News

A standout. I loved this fantastic yarn about a couple of local football characters. It is stories like this that really capture the essence of community.


Best article by a person 18 years or younger

Winner: Brown Hill Community Newsletter: Holocaust survivor Abe Goldberg

Difficult content for a young writer to cover however this author has done so respectfully and without over dramatisation. Interviews can be hard to keep interesting but this writer has done well at maintaining the readers engagement.

Finalist: Neerim Star: Region Swimming Championship

Nice to read about sport from a participants point of view. Enjoyed the expression of gratitude in this article. A sense of action unfolding in parts of the reporting

Finalist: The Springdale Messenger: Students inspired by Anne Drysdale and Caroline Newcomb on international women’s day

Made me want to look up Coriyule Mansion. Humour used well, like the line about the dogs. Ends with a strong key message about ‘I can rather than I can’t’


Best community content

Winner: Great Gisborne Gazette

Good appreciation of the facets that make up a community, and a diverse range of articles in their chosen categories.

Finalist: Buninyong Community News

Good local news insight, with stories mostly about local personalities. Lacked a school section, but several kids’ articles sufficed.

Finalist: The Blackwood Times

Tight editing of all the necessary sections, depicting a whole of community feel to the paper.


Best photograph

Congratulations to all entrants. Local paper photographers often have to create something out of nothing and it’s a unique skill. While not everyone can be the winner, or one of the top three, all the entries showed a real passion for telling stories about the local community.

Don’t be afraid to shoot close! Decide what it is in your subject that ’tells the story’ and close in on it. Sometimes it’s the wide shot, the group shot. But sometimes it’s the single isolated moment or activity that tells the wider story.

Winner: The Glenlyon & District News: Tree Struck by Lightning – Photographer: Margaret Lockwood

A good news photograph tells a story and, in doing so, should contain only what helps the story and nothing that detracts from it. Margaret Lockwood’s photo of CFA Captain Brett Mason dousing a tree fire is a great example of this. By cleverly using one frame – the burnt tree stump – within a wider frame that shows the dried out

summer landscape, she’s created an iconic and cautionary image of an Australian bush summer. It’s clever story-telling photography and, looking at this image, you can almost feel the heat and sense distant smoke on the breeze.

Finalist: Waranga News: Time to Protect Our Owls – Photographer: Kirsty Ramadan

Tightly framed, simply composed and perfectly timed to catch the her subject’s defiant gaze, Kirsty Ramadan’s engaging portraits of the Barn and Southern Boobook owls for the Waranga News are striking images that capture our attention and demand our sympathy. For a story that’s a call to action about the need to protect the owls, they could not be a better fit

Finalist: Ferntree Gully News: Hands on Painting for Sorry Day – Photographer: Barbara Oehring.

Barbara Oehring’s photograph of primary students Elyssa and Emily experimenting with indigenous art techniques reminds us that the best pictures often come from that magic moment when the photogra- pher becomes ‘invisible’. By engaging her subjects with an activity they clearly enjoy, she’s given us a col- ourful, energetic and joyful illustration of carefree childhood fun. It’s a clever photo of a well observed moment


Best Editorial Comment

Winner: Ferntree Gully News – Surplus to Requirements

Well written and perceptive editorial, bringing com- munity opinion to the range of topics covered.

Finalist: Great Gisborne Gazette – From the Editor’s Desk

Well written summary pointing to the range of (no doubt) interesting topics within following pages.

Finalist: The SpringDale Messenger – Coordinator’s News

Well written editorial. The writer took a theme and supported it with worthwhile examples.


Best History Story

Winner: Brown Hill Community newsletter – Brown Hill Police Station: a brief history

This is the winner as three of the co-authors are primary school children and we need to encourage a sense of history in children so they will want to be the custodians of our community history in the future. Interviewing people for their memories, deciding what is relevant to the story, finding photographs and writing the stories are all ways that kids can contribute to preserving and sharing our history. Well done to Gemma, Alana and Connor of Caledonian Primary School (and Assistant Principal Geoff Dickson) on a great little history of Brown Hill Police Station.

Finalist: Buninyong Community News – Swimming Feature

Three stories on the history of swimming in Buninyong. Swimming pools are one of those community facilities that are now big business with indoor pools with associated gyms and cafes and run by professional groups. In the past, however, pools were established by community effort – door knocks, barbecues and vol- unteer labour. Local pools played a significant role in the life of kids – they could learn to swim at not much cost, socialise and sit in the sun getting a tan (that’s one thing that has changed for the better!) so these stories reflect a different time when community facilities were built by the community pulling together to get things done.

Finalist: The SpringDale Messenger – Memories of yesterday

This is part of a planned series of stories the theme of which relates to a road or street name or business in the Bellarine area. It’s a great starter to a story as it can cover local history or family history and more than one person can write their own version of a story on the same theme. This story is connected to Whit- combes Road and is related by Ian Whitcombe. It’s only a short story, but 92 year old Ian brings up lots of pleasant memories of his childhood and diving off the wreck of the Ozone paddle steamer.


Best Newspaper

Winner: Warrandyte Diary.

The Warrandyte Diary was the clear stand out in this category.
The eye-catching front page photo about the long overdue Warrandyte bridgeworks beckons you to read more inside and the story is fleshed out on Page 3, complete with a great cartoon on the issue. The layout and design of this paper are consistent and strong throughout with a good use of quality photographs, graphics and headlines.

The Warrandyte Diary doesn’t back away from covering the hard news stories which includes everything from important planning issues through to politics, the environment and bushfire prevention all getting strong in-depth coverage.

The paper also shows its heart with touching community stories such as the local café that embraces a diverse workforce which includes six volunteers with disability; everyday people who joined the CFA to give something back to the community; and ‘The Murphy’s Law of parenthood’ – a lovely read about a Mum’s day from hell.

The big read in the centre pages was a beauty. It’s an inspiring story about a Warrandyte Lion’s initiative that gives visually impaired people the chance to get behind the wheel and drive a few laps at Sandown Raceway.

Solid sports, entertainment and What’s On sections round out what I believe is a very impressive newspaper.

Finalist: Great Gisborne Gazette.

Colourful, busy and choc-o-bloc with local content, the Great Gisborne Gazette appears to have something for everyone in its community. I loved the ‘Sport in Pictures’ double page spread, the extensive ‘School’s In’ section and the lively arts and entertainment pages. The news stories are concise, local and relevant. They include a story about the original Mount Mace- don Hotel which has been sitting derelict and vandalised for years but is now set to undergo urgent repairs thanks to a State Government order. This news story points to an excellent feature about the history of the old hotel.

While I loved the plethora of photographs and stacks of content, I felt some of the pages were so busy that I didn’t know where to look first. I think the lay- out could benefit from using more hero photos and mixing up the size of the headlines.

Overall, the Great Gisborne Gazette is a very worthy finalist.

Finalist: Waranga News.

The lasting impression I get from the Waranga News

is that here is a paper that knows and loves its community. This is reflected in the strong local content and the loads of smiling faces throughout the publication. The community