CNAV Awards 2019

On Saturday, 12 October sixteen different papers were recognised across nine categories for their work.  Award winners and finalists, with judges comments are listed below, together with hyperlinks to the winning entries (where they are available).

Best layout and design

Winner: Warrandyte Diary August 2019

This publication looks very professional and inviting. The masthead communicates a warm and community minded feeling that is carried throughout the spreads. The photography and illustrations are high quality and well composed, which enhances the content. The layout design is well considered and the typography is confident with a good sense of hierarchy. The overall impression communicates a vibrant and active community that is filled with personal stories.

Finalist 1: Studfield Wantirna Community News

This is a warm and friendly publication that features some nice creative touches such as earthy colour tones, watercolour images and expressive typefaces. The overall design is an original and creative take on the community newspaper format. The sense of community and connection with the environment is expressed in a sincere and engaging manner.

Finalist 2: Lancefield Mercury

This is a nicely designed small format community newspaper. Scale, particularly with regards to the typography, has been used well to create a sense of variety in a predominantly black and white publication. The publication itself communicates a fun, down to earth, community minded spirit.

Best feature story

Winner:  Emerald Messenger

Your Story in Art by Meredith Cole (Pages 6-7)

Beautifully written, well paced and interesting.  We meet and talk to a visual artist, graphic designer and musician with synaesthesia.  A fascinating subject brought vividly to life on the page.

Finalist 1:  The Otway Light

A Wayward Traveller in Severobaykalsk

This story made me smile.  It was exuberant, a little chaotic and clearly reflected the personality of the writer.  Allowing the writer to speak in their own voice is a great strength of community newspapers.

Finalist 2:  Churchill & District News

Remembering Black Saturday, My Memories by Heather Enders (Pages 17-20)

Well written and interesting, although a little slow paced.  Quite a long feature article, but worth the effort to stay with it until the end.

Best sports reporting

Winner: Warrandyte Diary

Story: Over and Out May 2019 (Front page & Page 26)

I really loved how this publication went to so much effort to capture photographs and put together a story which told the tale of one of the local cricket club’s unsung heroes – long time scorer and club stalwart Ann Pascoe.

This is a great example of celebrating the hard working volunteers who assist our local sporting clubs to be a success and really captured the essence of the local community.

Finalist 1: The SpringDale Messenger

Story:  Grand Finals – Drysdale are big winners! (Front page)

This was a well written, clear and concise article with a great spread of pics which really showed the delight of the bowlers’ wins. I also loved the use of action and celebratory pics with graphics to make the page a real celebration and really pop.

Finalist 2: Rowville-Lysterfield Community News

Sport Section (Page 15-16)

This publication did a fantastic job of covering a wide array of local sporting clubs and sports with a terrific use of layout, pics and graphics and short sharp writing to ensure as many local people as possible are featured. Lots of smiling and successful faces and a great read for the local community.

Best writing by a person 18 years or younger

Winner: Rowville Lysterfield Community News

“Loving others” by Joyee Loay (Page 21)

This feature article was thought provoking and covered the very complex topic of love and the role it plays in our society beyond the materialistic and modern view that young people are exposed to through reality tv shows. The writer compels the reader to consider the notion that love is defined by our day to day interaction with not only our loved ones but with strangers too. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this piece as it cleverly transitioned from one idea to another. I commend this young writer for trying to make a difference to the world with their writing.

Finalist 1: Emerald Messenger

“Young Voices in Politics” by Erin Byers (Page 32)

This persuasive feature article was a well-researched and structured piece of writing. It offered sound reasoning behind lowering the age for voting to 16 and incorporated statistics and political quotations to back up their legitimate arguments. With strong emotive language and well articulated arguments it is sure to have readers seriously considering the validity of their point of view.

Finalist 2: Studfield Wantirna Community News

“Oh My God – It’s Legally Blonde!!” by James Keam (Page 5)

With a great heading and an opening that enticed the reader to continue to read this review of Wantirna College’s latest production this writer was able to express their enjoyment for the show and also acknowledge all the effort that goes into the creation of such a show in a school environment. With fantastic word choice and sentence fluency the writer was able to convey their enthusiasm for the show clearly.

Best editorial comment

Very close between all three.  Entries closely allied with the criteria for judging.

In seeking to replace editorial comment with a letter to the editor, or a pictorial supported view, think about its relevance to this award before entering it into this category.  Also, don’t waste the front page on an editorial or opinion piece – it is valuable real estate to the readers.

Winner: Brown Hill Community Newsletter (Edition 18, Page 3)

Community connections

Finalist 1: Stratford Town Crier (Page 2)

Community accomplishments

Finalist 2: Buninyong & District Community News (Page 4)

About community identity

Best history story

They were all interesting and as always, hard to select a winner, but these are the ones that stood out to me, due to subject matter.

Winner: Warrandyte Diary

The great Warrandyte milk bar odyssey by Bill McAuley July 2019 (Page 15)

The story of the eight milk bars in Yarra Street, Warrandyte in the 1960s.  Lovely story of simpler times when all our shopping was done in the Main Street, before shopping centres; when kids could roam the town and spend their pocket money on lollies, soft drink and ice creams. It’s a local story celebrating the local shop, the milk bar, once common and now almost extinct.

Finalist 1: Emerald Messenger

Historical Social Significance honouring women by Mary Farrow (Page 39)

The article talks about the Maternal & Child Health Centre in Emerald, opened 1940, and the significance to the community. I liked the article as it reminds us that buildings don’t have to be grand and nineteenth century to be of historical significance and that, even though it is an Art Deco building, a rare style in Emerald, equally important is the social role that the building played in providing health services to mothers and their babies.

Finalist 2: Ferntree Gully News

Ferntree Gully 1 – but who owned that number? By Ray Peace. (Page 25)

Informative story about the history of the telephone service in Ferntree Gully in the context of international communication developments. The local doctor, Donald Simpson, was so keen to get the telephone that he was happy to pay for the line extension to the town, but Ferntree Gully was fortunate that the phone line was constructed along the railway line by the PMG. It is an interesting story of something, instant communication, that we take for granted now.

Best photograph

I’ve again been really impressed by ALL the photographers ability to draw photographs out of quiet moments. More than most, community newspaper photographers are faced with the challenge of making something out of not much. It’s a real skill and one to be respected.

While there’s always room for good portrait photography, don’t shy away from also having the subjects interact with each other, or go on with whatever it is they’re doing. Sometimes your best shots will come from unforeseen moments of interaction and engagement.

Don’t be afraid to vary Point of View from normal eye-level eg. If someone is sitting at a table, sit down too so that you’re at the same level, not looking down on them. If they’re lying in the dirt at a seed planting, lie in the dirt too. Make the subject’s perspective YOUR perspective.

Winner:  Rowville -Lysterfield Community News

Story: Paul’s Photography Patter – Photographer: Paul Lucas (Page 11)

Paul’s shot of a happily feeding squirrel exemplifies good photography and, in its quiet way, also embraces the rules of good press photography.  Simple, confident composition in which the subject dominates the frame is enhanced by the narrow depth of field that removes distracting background detail.  The overall effect is helped by soft natural lighting.  This photo tells its story simply and boldly with nothing in it to distract from the telling.  A simple yet exemplary wildlife & local news photo.

Finalist 1: Ferntree Gully News

Story:  One More Weekend – Photographer: Barbara Oehring (Front page)

Barbara’s photograph of rock band One More Weekend is an example of the shot working because the photographer is ‘invisible’ and the subjects are fully engaged with what they’re doing.  It’s carefully framed so the drummer is visible between the guitarists giving the shot a ‘layered effect’ that draws you in.  And its clever use of a wide-angle lens: what could have been distracting detail in the cluttered background has, in this instance, helped tell the story of a garage band in rehearsal.  An energetic and atmospheric shot in which you can almost hear the music.

Finalist 2: Winchelsea Star

Story: Mt Gellibrand Wind Farm Open Day – Photographer: Julian Elliot (Front page)

Julian’s shot of the tour group at the wind turbine breaks traditional compositional rules for a landscape photo but is much stronger for it.  Placing the horizon (and people) so low and making most of the frame about the sky and the turbine emphasises just how huge the structure is.  It’s a clever, well-composed shot and a good example of using people to add scale.

Best community content

Winner: Brown Hill Community Newsletter (Edition 17)

I hadn’t heard of Brown Hill before I read this newsletter, but by the time I’d finished it, I felt like it was just the sort of community I’d like to live in. I could picture myself saying hello to neighbours as I walked to the local pool, watching the local playgroup come tumbling in to the street after another fun morning and taking a regular walk down Scott’s Parade to see what Faye and Rob had growing in their quirky garden bed. I found myself drawn to the memorial pieces, even though I hadn’t known the departed, as they gave a strong sense of community connection and volunteering. The inclusion of nine year old Jack’s tribute was a sweet, moving piece. The standout article for me in this edition was Rod Soars account of his life since a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. This very personal piece gave insight and gentle guidance in a down to earth, natural way.

Finalist 1: Chewton Chat

A great little paper and a close second. A good variety of articles in this paper, shedding light on the very different activities community minded locals are engaged in. The billy cart articles personified small town fun and community spirit. The CFA round up and articles about fire towers reminded us of fire risks in a more accessible way than dry public announcements. There was a variety of article types, from Renfrey Holmes’ enjoyable off beat offering, to fruit fly and land management pieces. Something for everyone.

Finalist 2: Emerald Messenger

It was good to see a selection of interesting articles on a varied range of subjects, from power supply to surviving domestic violence to market drummers, I enjoyed so many of these. I really enjoyed the paper’s main article about the Spirit of Christmas as seen through the eyes of Charles Dickens. However, by the time I got to my 7th article with a Chrissie theme, my interest in the festive season was waning and I felt some editing was needed. Still, a great little paper.

Best newspaper

Winner: Tatura Area Community Bulletin

Winner: Warrandyte Diary August 2019

I really couldn’t choose between these two publications:  excellent photos, headlines, layout, stories and why they’re chosen, writing and copy editing – overall excellence in two different formats.

Finalist 1: Lancefield Mercury

Arresting front cover, very good layout, good use of white space, consistent format, excellent mix of stories relevant to local community.

Finalist 2: Neerim Star

Good editorial design, stories relevant to readership, good use of white space, a few tricks done well.