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Midwestern Newspapers tallies nine awards at OCNA Better Newspapers Competition

Midwestern Newspapers won nine awards at the OCNA Better Newspapers Competition, including Best News Photo for Dan McNee's photo in the July 16, 2020 issue of the Listowel Banner.

TORONTO – Midwestern Newspapers has been recognized by the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) for excellence in community journalism.

On April 23, the OCNA virtually announced the winners of the 2020 Better Newspapers Competition. Midwestern Newspapers’ four publications took home nine awards and one honorable mention.

The Independent Plus won first place in the Best Special Section, circulation over 10,000 category, celebrating the grand opening of Between The Lines in Listowel. This section appeared in the Sept. 10, 2020 issue.

“Nice section!” wrote the judges. “Great opportunity to showcase the new facility… great layout in the editorial portion of the pages.”

The Listowel Banner won six awards in the competition, including:

  • first place for Best News Photo for Dan McNee’s photo “Hero’s Embrace” in the July 16, 2020 issue;
  • first place for Best Sports Section;
  • second place for Headline Writing;
  • second place for Best Arts and Entertainment story for Colin Burrowes’ piece, “North Perth artists finding new ways to create during COVID-19 pandemic” in the May 21, 2020 issue;
  • third place for Best Unit/Feature Pages for the “Rotary Club of Listowel 1946-2019” pages in the Oct. 31, 2019 issue; and
  • third place for Original Ad Idea for the “Guess Who’s Doors” ads in May 2020.

The Wingham Advance Times won one award, Best Sports and Recreation Story, for Dan McNee’s feature, “Creating a frozen masterpiece: The art of the ideal curling sheet” that appeared in the Jan. 30, 2020 issue.

The Walkerton Herald-Times received one award – second place in the Best Unit/Feature Pages category – for the “Walkerton Water Crisis – 20 years later” feature that appeared in the May 21, 2020 issue. The Herald-Times also received an honorable mention in the Best Rural Story, circulation under 9,999 category, for Pauline Kerr’s piece “Human trafficking – not just a city problem” from the Feb. 27, 2020 issue.

“We’ve been told by our readers on countless occasions that Midwestern Newspapers produces quality content, and for our provincial peers to echo those sentiments is an incredible honour,” said Mike Wilson, editor of Midwestern Newspapers. “The past year has been challenging in so many ways, so for our team to be recognized for their efforts is incredibly humbling and gratifying.”

Bill Huether, general manager of Midwestern Newspapers, also congratulated the team.

“I am so proud of our talented staff members across our newspapers group,” he said. “It is incredible to be recognized across the province and to win in nine categories of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association’s Better Newspapers Competition is an amazing achievement. We are up against the best newspapers in Ontario and I am so proud of our team, this is a great group effort.”

Added Huether, “It is nice to be awarded for doing what we love which is highlighting our amazing communities.”

Organized annually by the OCNA, the BNC competition recognizes the work of community newspapers throughout the province.

The BNC winners are usually announced at an annual gala in Vaughan, but that was cancelled for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

The complete list of the 2020 winners can be found on the OCNA website.