On Saturday, October 15 2022 the annual CNAV Awards were held at the VEMI conference centre in Macedon, celebrating a return to face to face networking. Winners, Finalists and Special Mentions are listed below with judges video comments and links (where possible) to the mentioned edition.

A replay of the other sessions from the conferene will be on the 2022 Conference page soon.

Award categories

Best Newspaper
Best Layout and Design
Best Community Content
Best Photograph
Best History Story
Best Feature Story
Best writing by a person aged 18 or younger
Best Editorial Comment
Best Sports Reporting


Best layout and design

Judge: Dr Shivani Tyagi, Academic
Shivani is an academic at the School of Design, Swinburne University of Technology.  She is a lecturer in communication design and design research, and the director of the Bureau Professional Design Studio, a student-led design agency.  Shivani has had extensive experience mentoring students across a wide variety of design outcomes including publication design, information design, illustration, and typography.  Prior to her academic career, Shivani was a practising designer.  She holds a PhD in Experimental Aesthetics, and her research focuses on people’s responses to designed artefacts.



Winner: The Westsider
A fresh, well-designed contemporary approach to a community newspaper. The content was well structured, neat and consistent, the type was well set, and styles consistently applied. Images, including photography and illustration were used effectively throughout the paper. The section headings made the paper easy to navigate and read. The recipe and mind games sections were particularly engaging, and overall, the design had a lively, fun style.
THE WESTSIDER #72 March – The Westsider



Finalist: Warrandyte Diary
As always, a professionally presented newspaper with a lot of well-designed content. Good, effective use layout, images, and graphic elements. Overall, a professional looking paper that has remained consistent over the years.
May 2022 – Warrandyte Diary


Finalist: North and West Melbourne News
A simple, neat layout that was consistently applied throughout the newspaper. Good use of images, particularly the double page photo spread and illustration on page 16. I particularly enjoyed the article about manhole covers on the back page of the issue I received. Overall, a newspaper with a friendly and welcoming feel.
NWMN_2022-2_-_FOR_WEB.pdf (centre.org.au)


Best Feature Story

Judge: Michael Smith, Journalist and media advisor
Michael was a journalist for 10 years in Melbourne and London, a media adviser in the Kennett and Howard governments, and Director of Public Affairs with global PR firm Burson-Marsteller. He is a Red Cross aid worker, a media and communications delegate during emergencies and disasters. He was the Geneva-based International Federation of Red Cross media and communications delegate in Sierra Leone during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. He has written for the ABC, The Bulletin/Newsweek, and the Herald Sun. He lives in Canberra.

“I was honoured to judge best feature story this year. There were 21 entries, they were all excellent, I enjoyed reading each and every one of them and congratulations to all entries and to all the newspapers and all the people, paid and unpaid, who run them and have produced them over the past 12 months on another outstanding year, especially during challenging times and also to the CNAV committee for another wonderful job.”

Warrandyte Diary

Meet our new Yarra Riverkeeper by Sandi Miller, photograph by Bill McAuley
I will start by mentioning the superb layout. A full page, nice big heading at the top that tells us what the story is about, the photo shows the Yarra River flowing from the top left-hand corner through the middle of the photo down to the right foreground, on the left hand side we have the rocks jutting out and there, perched on the rock, off-centre to the left, is our riverkeeper Charlotte Sterrett. This photo is a piece of art, and it tells us the story beautifully with our riverkeeper sitting there on the rock looking directly at the camera because that’s her job, to communicate the purpose and the story of the river to the community. Congratulations Bill McAuley on telling us the story with one single picture. Sandi Miller has presented this as a Q&A which works superbly in this case. I didn’t know what a riverkeeper was before this.  Sandi pitches the questions beautifully, and that allows Charlotte to answer them with her expertise, with her passion and with her love of the river and her job in such a way that that’s communicated to us effectively. There is a short introduction to the Q&A which is educative, informative, ticking all the boxes as to what this is about and why it is important and interesting and in a very engaging way. I felt blessed that someone like Charlotte is our riverkeeper and it really gives me a great sense of hope that with people like that and these roles being created, that this society we’re in today and future societies are going to get a much better understanding of just what a living breathing thing the Yarra River is, and with that understanding and love for it we can take proper care of it, we can nurture it and foster it but also we can become conscious of just how important it is to our own being. The Warrandyte Diary and Sandi and Bill have absolutely nailed this story and given us a comprehensive understanding and feeling of what this is all about. Congratulations to the Warrandyte Diary, congratulations to Sandi Miller, congratulations to Bill Macaulay the photographer, and congratulations to Charlotte for what she is doing and the council for appointing her to this position. We look forward to more wonderful stories in the Warrandyte Diary and beyond about the Yarra River and the river’s importance to our own lives.

Download edition Page 7

Finalist- Tallangatta Herald
Sustainable, Accessible and Visible: The Green Galah “total game changer” for families in Tallangatta and surrounds by Petrina Mansfield
This is a story about a business providing support service for families of children with a disability, helping them with access to the NDIS and providing support services as well as employment and training in hospitality, retail and practical trades. What I love about Petrina’s treatment of this story is that it is very positive and uplifting, there is a smile on her face, there is a joy in this, and you feel good from the very first sentence all the way through to the end. Petrina has gone to great lengths to do research, it’s informative, there’s a lot of detail in there as well, but it’s presented in a way that is very humanistic and she always comes back to the practical impact this is having on people with a disability and their families, and the real life support it is providing which has been a total gamechanger for them. Petrina also highlights that parents in Tallangatta fought for this service, and they got it and I think that’s another great thing. It is well written, it is engaging and interesting, as well as being informative. I love the big pictures of the young man learning his hospitality skills and the business owner Jen Tait and her partner and some examples of the delicious food they’re serving. There are very practical contact numbers, Jen’s name and a mobile for people in the community to call if they’d like to know more. With this story the Tallangatta Herald and Petrina are bringing that gamechanger effect to a much wider audience and this is a critical function of the media and of community newspapers. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Finalist: The Westsider
Those that walk among us – by Khalida
This is an account by an Afghani woman, Khalida, who with her husband, escaped from Kabul Afghanistan in August last year when the US, Australian and allied forces withdrew, and the Taliban took control. The Westsider has, appropriately, treated this with a major splash over two pages. Khalida gives a harrowing first person account of her experience of that terrible time in Kabul and their dangerous escape. It also gives us a detailed insight into how the Australian government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs worked on the ground in Kabul to try and get people out to Australia; something we hadn’t really heard before. The story is harrowing, and I commend Khalida and the paper for telling it in a way that is very informative but also deeply personal. Having lived through such a traumatic experience, it would have been very difficult for Khalida to write this story, to relive that trauma. Not knowing whether they would live or die. Not knowing whether they would be trapped in Afghanistan under the Taliban with their lives at risk. It’s a harrowing tale but it’s also very important because it does give us a firsthand account of what it was like being in that situation at that time. We all saw it on the news, we were all outraged. We saw people clinging to the aeroplanes as they took off from the airport and falling to the ground. And here is Khalida, now living in the inner west of Melbourne with her husband who was in that situation at that time telling us exactly what it was like. There is excellent use of photographs, a reminder of just how terrifying that situation was, and the layout is really quite special. Thank you, Khalida, for your bravery in sharing your story with us and we wish you all the best. It’s also a reminder, when we watch things on the news that are occurring on the other side of the world, that the people involved could end up living next door to you or standing next to you in the supermarket queue. This story is a reminder of that. Congratulations to The Westsider and congratulations to Khalida and her husband and full credit to you for that determination to get through but thank you for sharing your story with us.
THE WESTSIDER #69 NOVEMBER – The Westsider, Pages 9 and 25

Special Mentions

Fire-resilient backyards – a shared responsibility

North & West Melbourne News
Voices raised in united support 

Welcome Record
Renee Fox Garden

Ballarat East Community News
Swordcraft in Ballarat

Churchill & District News
New Outdoor Artwork for Churchill

Best Sports Reporting

Best Sports Reporting – Lisa Dennis

Judge: Lisa Dennis, Journalist
Lisa was appointed editor of the Castlemaine Mail in 2016 after an involvement with the Mail which spanned over 25 years.
Whilst a student at Castlemaine High School, she began contributing local junior football reports via a media studies partnership with the Mail.  Lisa was later offered a cadetship at the Midland Express in Kyneton.
Two years later she transferred to the Castlemaine office to work on a broad range of local news.  She became a sports journalist and later stepped up to the senior journalist role covering all facets of news for the Castlemaine Mail and Midland Express.
The small team at the Mail gathers its stories, takes most of their own photographs and designs their own page layouts.  Lisa has worked on the company’s tourist news and wedding publications, features, and undertaken relief work in editor roles for the Midland Express and Castlemaine Mail.
After the birth of her first two children, Lisa returned to the paper to cover sport on a casual basis and continued to cover local sport for the paper for over 20 years.  Lisa said she is always surprised by the diversity, passion, determination, and success of local sports people of all ages and loves telling their stories.

Once again it was incredibly tough to select a winner from this year’s entries. There were some great reads featuring a wide array of topics, characters and sports. Tru-Go! Who knew! I’ve been writing community news for 25 years and I’d never heard of that one!
I loved the innovative way many publications approached their sports articles and sections. There were some really thoughtful pieces and some terrific layout designs.

Winner: Ballarat East Community News
‘Swordcraft in Ballarat’

The fantastic main image which accompanied the story immediately grabbed the reader’s attention. This was an extremely well written piece which really drew the reader in from first glance and set the tone for the activity and placed the reader at the venue amongst the participants. If one was ever considering taking up swordcraft this piece definitely answered all your questions from a great firsthand perspective. This submission was a standout.
Edition 8 – Ballarat East Neighbourhood House (ballarateastnh.org.au), Pages 1 and 10

Finalist: NewsAngle
‘Local athlete Ellie Pashley takes us inside the Tokyo Olympic Games’

There were a couple of great stories from Olympians in this year’s entries but this piece really took us inside Pashley’s preparation for and experience of the event. It was a wonderful coup to get such a great insight into the games from an athlete’s perspective but this was teamed with great photos and layout which included bolded breakout quotes which summarised some of her more poignant comments.
Newsangle Issue 148 Summer 2021 by Anglesea Community House – Issuu, Page 10


Finalist: Ferntree Gully News
‘The DeCoites: A Dynasty of Sporting Prowess’
This was an incredibly well researched piece which featured some amazing historic photos and was a wonderful example of capturing grassroots stories about our local community.
Archive | Ferntree Gully News, Issue 78, August 2022, Pages 10-11

Finalist: Studfield Wantirna Community News
Sports Section
I was impressed with the Studfield Wantirna Community News Sports Section which offered wide ranging local sports coverage and in particular a story from the perspective of young tennis player Zareen Rahaman who had the opportunity to interview Aussie tennis star Ash Barty following her Australian Open victory. It was great to see some pieces written by young people. They are the future of our communities and our news publications.
SWCN_Edition-77-WEB.pdf (studfieldwantirnanews.org), Pages 26 and 27

Best writing by person ages 18 or younger

Judge: Nieta Manser, Educator and author
Nieta Manser is a passionate children’s book author who believes that children learn best through literature.
As a mother and primary school teacher Nieta has learned that to give children the best start to their early years you have to immerse them in picture books. They learn, laugh, and experience the world through the pages of books.
Nieta’s first book, Echidna’ Can’t Cuddle, was first published in 2016 and has become a huge success. Now published in China and South Korea, it has been shortlisted for the Wilderness Society’s Environment Award, 2017.
Nieta lives in Melbourne with her four children.

Winner -– Stratford Town Crier
It’s a Girls life
This piece of writing quickly draws the reader in via a personal connection and by invoking empathy in the reader when talking about the impact of a serious illness or disability on a family. The facts weaved into this personal account demonstrate a maturity and most certainly do begin a conversation within society about understanding the complexity of caring for people we love and the need to broaden societies understanding of unfamiliar disabilities.  I applaud this author’s effort to expose their vulnerability to raise awareness of her sister’s plight.
February issue of the Stratford Town Crier 2022 by Stratford Town Crier – Issuu, Page 9

Finalist -– Tallangatta Herald
Aiden’s all heart
The purpose of this article is two-fold. While it showcases the noble charitable efforts and dedication of its subject, it also provides relevant facts and information about the MS Society and its need for support. The inclusion of the QR code for the reader to contribute is clever and encourages the reader to act on their emotional response to the article, wanting to support such a dedicated young member of the community.


Finalist – – NewsAngle
Coby’s story
This short piece demonstrated the importance of incorporating your voice as a writer to engage your reader as Coby provides a more conversational approach to get his message across. He was able to deliver a great deal of information while also demonstrating the pride he feels for his hometown.
NewsAngle Issue 150 by Anglesea Community House – Issuu, Page 32

Best Editorial Comment

Judge: Jeanette Severs, Journalist

Thank you for asking me to judge this award again.
Caroline Roff has undertaken a review of the membership and it reveals some interesting statistics.
By gender, 69% of volunteers or employees on the community newspaper are female. 90% of employees are volunteers. And the core employees are mostly above 46 years old – 37% are between 46-65 years old and 49% are older than 65 years old. But 13% are 26 to 45 years old. 1% is under 25 years old. The question that I ask is, is it the same person who writes the editorial comment all the time, or do you mix it up?
Your community, your readership, is a diversity of people, so are you enabling your editorial to reflect that diversity? Are you being brave?
There were 16 newspapers entered into the Best Editorial Comment, representing a diversity of topics.
Topics included volunteerism, democracy, environmental vandalism, world migratory bird day, tawny frogmouths, wetlands, the pandemic, an Iraqi hostage, station upgrades, and elections.
Please remember, if I have to try and figure out which article on the page is the editorial comment or opinion, you have already failed. There were a couple of entries where I struggled to identify which article was the one I should be reading and assessing.
Nevertheless, there were 8 editorials that made the finalists list -> Warrandyte Diary, Ferntree Gully News, SpringDale Messenger, Studfield-Wantirna Community News, Thomson Times and Tall Timber Tales, GREAT Gisborne Gazette, The Otway Light and The Westsider.
The following three newspapers received Commended status -> Warrandyte Diary, Ferntree Gully News and Studfield-Wantirna Community News.

Finalist: The Otway Light
Third place is awarded to The Otway Light.
No link

Finalist Thomson Times and Tall Timber Tales
Second place is awarded to Thomson Times and Tall Timber Tales.
No link

Winner: GREAT Gisborne Gazette
There has to be winner. The editorial chosen as the winner of this award, I can sum up as entertaining, informative, reflecting current issues, and connecting with the newspaper’s community. Congratulations to GREAT Gisborne Gazette.
2021-09.pdf (gisbornegazette.org.au) Page 2

Best History Story

Judge: Heather Arnold, Local historian
Heather recently retired after 16 years as the local history librarian for the Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation. She is the president of the Koo Wee Rup Swamp Historical Society and is a regular contributor of history articles to several community newspapers. Heather has a passion for veteran and vintage trucks.

Winner – Boronia and The Basin Community News
In Search of the new Mystic Park Estate by Danny Nolan. 

Mystic Park was an early 1950s housing development proposed for The Basin and is representative of many other failed or aborted housing sub-divisions in the outer suburbs and long forgotten towns such as Moola, between Emerald and Cockatoo on the Puffing Billy line, which never eventuated and the many towns, especially on the gold fields, which rose and fell and disappeared within a few years.
It is also representative of the reach of developers where nothing is sacred – pristine bush land – and all land is just ripe for sub-division – mirrored today where developers are desecrating our suburbs by knocking down single family homes and building multiple units. However, no government of any persuasion, seems to care about this rampant development, but we as a community are fortunate that in the 1960s the Government at the time restricted the development of Mystic Park and as Danny wrote began progressively buying back properties, demolishing any buildings and incorporating the land into the Ferntree Gully National Park which later became the Dandenong Ranges National Park.
Great article by Danny looking at the sub-division and his archaeological expedition along what would have been the main roads on the Estate – Alamein and Tobruk Avenues (now tracks) to see what remains of Mystic Park Estate – driveways and property entrances are all but overgrown these days, but a look up the hill shows what seems to be garden terraces made with rocks….flat graded area are evident as well as the odd exotic plant. He also found the remains of a house.
A worthy winner recording a fleeting part of our history.

Read page 1 here and page 2 here

Finalist – Great Gisborne Gazette
Treasures from the Past by Phyllis Boyd OAM.  
I really liked this article from Phyllis about some of the commercial documents from the Gisborne and Mt Macedon & Districts Historical Societies. So many Historical Societies hold a treasure trove of items and, even if they have their own Museum, many of the paper-based items are not on display and not everyone has their entire collection on-line through the Victorian Collections website.
The article has reproduced some of their business dockets and receipts from their collection and Phyllis has provided a short history of each business. This sort of article has three benefits – it promotes the collections; it provides a history of some of the businesses in the area and it also encourages people to perhaps offer to donate like items.
As someone involved with an historical society it is a great idea for an article in your local community newspaper.
2021-11.pdf (gisbornegazette.org.au), Pages 20-21.


Finalist – Warrandyte Diary.
A brief history of Warrandyte women’s work by Valerie Polley.
Interestingly, I have just given a short talk to the Local Lions Club about the history of volunteer community groups in Koo Wee Rup –  from the Red Cross who were established in 1915, the RSL just after the War; the CWA in the 1920s, the Fire Brigade, the Pre-School committee, Mother’s club at the school, sporting clubs  – once you start looking there are so many volunteer organizations and; including these days the organization (or perhaps in some cases, the individual) who produces the local community newspaper.
This article looks at, as Valerie says, the generations of women in Warrandyte, who have endeavoured to improve their world – the Warrandyte Women’s Auxiliary Association formed in 1930 to promote the district’s welfare; the Infant Welfare Committee; the Primary School Mother’s Club; the CWA etc. A lovely article recognising the often over-shadowed role that women played in the community life of a country town, in this case Warrandyte.
April 2022 – Warrandyte Diary, Page 14


Best Photograph

Judge, Brendan McCarthy, Photojournalist and photographer
Brendan McCarthy is a multi-award-winning photojournalist and photographer with over 20 years’ experience in the print and online news and magazine publishing industry. In addition to covering local and regional news during an 18-year career with Fairfax Media, his work has also appeared in Lonely Planet publications, Slow Magazine, Asian Geographic, National Geographic Online and National Geographic textbooks. 
In addition to his hands-on work, Brendan has also taught and mentored photography in both formal and informal settings.
Now working as a freelance photographer based in Central Victoria, his passion for “telling the story” through pictures remains undiminished.

As always, congratulations to ALL who entered.  It was a strong field this year. Local & community news photographers make a real contribution to recording their community’s history so no one should underestimate the importance of the work they’re doing!


Finalist: Manningham and Nillumbik Bulletin (formerly Warrandyte Diary Bulletin)
Photo: A Fresh Perspective – Photographer:  Peter Krusche
This is a great nature shot that demonstrates a real skill in both seeing and capturing the moment.
The tight framing and narrow depth of field means there is no extraneous or distracting detail in the frame.  And there’s more than meets the eye with the technical aspects of it.   The narrow plane of focus makes the shot, but autofocus would have defaulted to the bird’s …. well, rear end rather than front end.  But by locking focus onto the face and going with the unorthodox rather than traditional “pose”, Peter has given us a funny, memorable and eye-catching shot.
Nature photography at its best.
DOWNLOAD_Bulletin-OCTOBER-2021-1.pdf (warrandytediary.com.au), Page 1

Finalist: Harcourt News The Core
Photo: VMR Plays Trains, Not Construction – Photographer:  not listed
Sometimes if you’re judging photographs, there will be a “quiet achiever”;  one that doesn’t immediately announce itself, but just keeps coming back to you as you think about the entries.
This is one of those shots.  It’s a simple one with no gimmicks, no trickery but one I kept being drawn back to.
What does a photograph do?  It captures a moment.  And sometimes, if you’re lucky, it captures a mood.  This one does that incredibly well.  For all its simplicity it’s just a lovely shot of a kind man on a model train with his passengers (the family behind) having a wonderful time.  It’s a happy “life affirming” photo that makes you feel good just looking at it.  If you were feeling down or sad, this photo would lift your spirits!
93-Core-May-22-for-the-web.pdf (harcourtprogress.org.au), Page 1

Winner – Chewton Chat
Photo: Action Aplenty, Photographer: Jesse Borland
Jesse’s shot taken on the back of a CFA truck during a grass fire at Harcourt North was a standout winner.
Everything about this shot works:

  • The layering between foreground and background draws us into the frame. It appears three dimensional.
  • Its clever and careful use of a wide angle lens. (Wide angle’s best quality – ie its ability to include a lot of information is also its worst quality.  If you’re not careful it can bring in a lot of unnecessary and distracting detail).  But here it draws all the elements – the firefighter, the road, the grassland, the chopper and second truck – together.
  • Placement of the firefighter up front & slightly right of centre frame gives us a clear and unambiguous centre of interest.
  • If you see the colour version of this shot, the colour works incredibly well. But (and here’s the test) it’s still striking in B&W because of the great composition.

There is nothing in this shot that shouldn’t be there.  Everything in it advances the story.
By any standards this is a very good news photograph and a very worthy winner of the 2022 award for best photo.
Chewton Chat April 2022 colour by Chewton Chat – Issuu, Page 1

Best Community Content

Judge: Melinda Benson, Program manager
Mel is a program Manager and member of Everymind’s senior leadership team. She is an occupational therapist who is passionate about prevention and early intervention in mental ill-health and suicide.
Mel holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) and has worked as a clinician and in clinical leadership roles in the areas of forensic mental health, suicide prevention and youth alcohol and other drug services for 19 years.
She is committed to the development of a greater understanding of timely and evidence-based approaches, with the view to optimising better long-term outcomes for people, their families, and the community.
In her leadership role at Everymind, Mel oversees a range of initiatives including Mindframe to support safe media reporting, portrayal and communication about suicide, mental ill-health, alcohol, and other drugs.

Mel and her team understand the important role local newspapers and media play in keeping communities connected. In these challenging times, connection is so important to all of our mental health and wellbeing so thank you to all of your contributions to our wellbeing through work you do at a local community level. The Mindframe team had the pleasurable task of reading through the entrant newspapers to determine the paper that met criteria for the best community content. What a difficult task this was as all papers had such unique and interesting content. There were so many times the team commented that it made them feel like they wanted to be a part of that community and “oh I could live there”.
As hard as it was, we had to come up with a winner.

Winner: Warrandyte Diary
The team felt the content in the newspaper was broad, inclusive, created a sense of real community and touched on so many relevant and current topics of interest to keep people well informed. Congratulations!
July 2022 – Warrandyte Diary

Finalist: North & West Melbourne News.
NWMN_2021-4_-_Summer_-_for_web_(replacement).pdf (centre.org.au)

Finalist: Chewton Chat
Chewton Chat July 2022 by Chewton Chat – Issuu

Not only a big congratulations to the winner and runners up, but to all the newspapers for the wonderful work that you do.


Best Newspaper

Judge: Jeanette Severs, Journalist
Jeanette Severs has been a journalist for nearly 40 years and has won a number of industry awards. She was editor of regional community newspaper, The Gippsland Anglican, for nearly seven years. Apart from that stint, most of her work as a journalist has been in main­stream rural and regional media and industry magazines. For the past ten years, she has honed her expertise in agricultural and rural journalism. She regularly participates in professional development. Jeanette is also an author of community history books and gained a sociology degree from Monash University as a mature student. In her spare time, Jeanette is a livestock farmer, member of a book group and strives to exercise regularly.

Well, thank you very much for again asking me to judge this award. There were 19 newspapers that entered, with 3 copies each, and you didn’t make my job easy – not at all.
So, I read through all your newspapers and what a wonderful example of community story telling.
There were reviews of books and films, art exhibitions and theatre.
A story about a lamb on a leash strolling about town.
The Talking Hut.
A pictorial essay of signs, and the same again about manhole covers.
Reporting about why it’s important to look after the environment of the threatened species, the Blue Billed Duck.
Information about detoxing your home, and the story about building a sawmill.
Living a sustainability life, local film and photography festivals, local council news, and the Best Country Pub in Victoria.
Who dunnit? You’d have to read the whodunnit mystery written by a local author and serialized in on the newspapers.
There were puzzles and colour-in pictures. Some of the recipes I read were positively mouth-watering.
Local choirs and choristers, bushwalking and cycling clubs, schools, churches and service clubs were all catered for.
There was coverage of so many Scout Jamborees.
Someone wrote about a podcast about carers – that story was eye-opening. As was the story written by a refugee about escaping to Australia.
Stories about social housing, a wizard, teddy bears imitating album covers, and the halcyon days of a wasp nest.
There were so many environmental stories – highlighting a plant, highlighting the work of bushland preservation and other positive community activities, or highlighting vandalism against environmental overlays – a story that has the potential to be state or national news, depending on how it’s treated.
There was lots of photos and stories about local sport, local schools, local artists – well done.
I read about doing yoga during an earthquake, librarians retiring, and solstice swimming in winter.
One local resident received their MBE from then Prince, now King, Charles.
Anniversaries were well documented – the 150th anniversary of a church, anniversary of scout groups, CFA medal and citizenship ceremonies.
Fire season preparation was documented.
I read local pioneers’ stories, including about a family’s link to a tree.
There were projects in local parks, and the Soup Bus, an after dark meal service for homeless people.
Thank you for the variety of interesting community stories.

I was telling Caroline about the process I took to judging and she said you’d all like to hear about it, so here goes -> I start off with one pile and that devolves into 2 piles.
One pile is the newspapers I’ve judged worthy of being finalists and one pile is the non-finalists.
Then I take the stack of newspapers that are finalists and I go through them a second time, judging them about whether they’re worthy of a place, or remain in the finalists group.
Once I had chosen the four publications worthy of a place, I read through those entries again and – I’ll be honest – this year there was one publication that stood out consistently through each judging round. So the hardest job I had this year was choosing which publications were worthy of 2nd and 3rd place, and a Highly Commended.
And at home I now have a stack of newspapers that I want to re-read their stories, this time as a reader, not as a judge.

Some final words, of advice which I really hope you’ll take on board. Of note this year were some newspapers that have obviously dropped their standard from previous years. These were the things that troubled me while I was studying each newspaper ->

  • Where’s the headlines? Headlines should be strong and bold. They should be prominent. Think about the font you are using, please.
  • There were some publications that were let down by their layout. It doesn’t hurt to get someone else from CNAV or within your newspaper to look at your layout, and provide advice. It’s always up to you what you do with that advice.
  • White space is your friend on the page. Make space between headlines and text.
  • Photos -> people like to see themselves, their families and friends, people and places they know. Give photos prominence.
  • Also about photos -> if you have an online version and a printed version of your newspaper, put more photos online and point to that in your printed version. It’s very hard to appreciate your decision to print small photos just because you have a limited number of pages but you want to cram 12 or 20 photos onto a page. Go bold and have an online version with more pages, where you can put these additional photos.
  • Make sure your publishing schedule is reflected in your newspaper information. For example, if you publish bimonthly, your version and issue numbers should reflect that. If you publish monthly, ditto, your version and issue numbers should reflect that. Otherwise, it’s confusing for your readers.

Pick a column width and stick with it for a story.

The Blackwood Times
Churchill & District News
Great Gisborne Gazette
Manningham & Nillumbik Bulletin
Newstead ECHO
North & West Melbourne News
The Otway Light
Rowville-Lysterfield Community News
SpringDale Messenger
Warrandyte Diary
The Westsider

Highly commended
Warrandyte Diary
November 2021
May 2022
July 2022

3rd place
SpringDale Messenger

September 2021
April 2022
August 2022

2nd place
The Westsider

December/January 2022
July 2022
August 2022

North and West Melbourne News
Spring 2021
Summer 2021
Autumn 2022