The Independent has been named best newspaper in its class in Ontario.
The newspaper captured the prize and six others during the Ontario Community Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Competition online ceremony Friday.
Judges for the category said The Independent “demonstrated a commitment to excellence throughout” and is a “great read from front to back.”
The Independent won in the small newspaper class but received the highest marks of all 80 papers evaluated including the largest community newspapers in the province.
Editor Heather Wright also placed first in the Best Investigative News Story for her series on the firing of three Plympton-Wyoming firefighters. Judges said the story had “long reaching impact in the community.”
“The people at The Independent work hard every day to produce the best product we possibly can. It’s nice to see the entire crew be recognized for its daily work to serve the community,” says Wright, who is also the publisher of The Independent.
“The community of Plympton-Wyoming deserves much credit for the Best Investigative News Story award,” says Wright.
“Without whistleblowers willing to speak about what was going on – even though it could put them in jeopardy – this story would not have come to light. So, I thank them for standing up for their community.”
Wright also placed second in the Feature Writing category for her story on personal support workers in long term care called What would they do without us. Judges said Wright’s “craftsmanship – that awareness of what it takes to tell a compelling story” earned second place.
The editor also placed second in the Columnist of the Year category with the judge saying her writing is “like sitting next to a friend at the pub and having a conversation.”
The newspaper’s photography was also awarded with a third in the Photojournalist of the Year category and an honourable mention for Wright for her picture of a take down by the OPP’s Canine unit in Petrolia.
The newspaper’s sports section placed third in the provincial competition with judges saying it had “great content and excellent writing.”
The Independent’s sister paper, The Herald serving Thamesville, Dresden and Bothwell placed second in the feature photo category.