The Independent of Petrolia and Central Lambton has been named the Best All-Around Newspaper in Canada.
The Independent, which has been in operation since September 2013, took the Canadian Community Newspaper Award honour in the division which includes community newspapers with a circulation of 4,000 to 6,499. It was named the top newspaper over last year’s winner Nunavut News North and Question from Whistler B.C.
The Independent also took two third place prizes for Best Front Page and Best Editorial Page.
Judge Dale Bass of Kamloops This Week says smaller newspapers face many challenges but “the quality of work in the submissions however shows journalism is alive and well in these newsrooms.”
Of The Independent, Bass says “I love everything about this paper…The writing is good, the editing is tight, good use of photographs, it doesn’t feel like the advertising is swallowing up every page. A delightful read.”
Publisher Heather Wright was surprised by the wins. The first place national honours are the first for The Independent. The paper was recognized last year by the CCNA as Blue Ribbon Newspaper but didn’t place in the top three.
“We hear from our readers every week how much they appreciate us and support us. Local business supports us and now it is wonderful to be honoured by our peers,” she says.
“Being named the Best Over-All Newspaper in the country is a tribute to the people who work here and take pride in giving the community their best each week.”
The Independent staff travels to Toronto Friday for the Ontario Community Newspaper Awards where it is up for two more awards – one for reporting the other for the paper’s special project commemorating the 150th birthday of Oil Springs.