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Midwestern Newspapers wins two awards at OCNA competition

Midwestern Newspapers won two awards at last week's 2019 OCNA Better Newspaper Competition, including third place in the Best News Story (Circ. Under 9,999) for Jonathan Zettel's reporting on the issues at Walkerton's Brucelea Haven long-term care facility.

TORONTO – Three of Midwestern Newspapers’ publications were recognized by the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) for their outstanding work last week.

On July 24, the OCNA announced the winners of its 2019 Better Newspaper Competition (BNC).

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

The Listowel Banner won third place in the Best Feature Photo (circulation under 9,999) category for for Dan McNee’s photo Beating the Heat, which appeared on the front page of the July 17, 2019 issue of the Banner.

“Wonderful shot by Dan McNee to capture little Jude’s face wrapped around by water droplets. Well done!” wrote the judges.

The Walkerton Herald-Times won third place in the category of Best News Story (circulation under 9,999) for Jonathan Zettel’s story titled ‘It’s been going on for years’ that appeared in the Jan. 24, 2019 issue of the Herald-Times.

Zettel’s piece recounted stories of staff and family members of residents at Brucelea Haven, a long-term care facility in Walkerton, after a previous story by Zettel outlined the multiple reports from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care of non-compliance issues at Brucelea Haven.

“What an important story. This is why community news and community reporters like Jonathan Zettel matter,” wrote the judges.

The Wingham Advance Times received an honourable mention in the Best Rural Story (circulation under 9,999) category for contributor Jordan Snobelen’s piece “Abundance of rain brings tepid start to grass fire season” that appeared in the June 26, 2019 issue of the Advance Times.

Snobelen interviewed local fire officials, climatologists and experts to learn about grass fire season and what was in store North Huron.

“Nice piece by Jordan Snobelen. Well thought out, well researched and interesting. I really like the wide variety of perspectives shared,” wrote the judge.

The winners were to be announced at the annual BNC gala in Vaughan on April 3, but that was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The complete list of the 2019 winners can be found on the OCNA website.