10 June, 2024

We make the headlines

CAIRNS Local News has won two significant honours at the 2024 Queensland Country Press Awards in Brisbane.

Cairns Local News staff (from left, back row) David Galeano (sales), Kath Maclean (manager), Isaac Colman (editorial), Almando Anton (sales), (front) Maddy Gavin (digital content), Isabella Guzman Gonzalez (editorial), Lisa Harris (administration) and Nick Dalton (editor) with the awards.
Cairns Local News staff (from left, back row) David Galeano (sales), Kath Maclean (manager), Isaac Colman (editorial), Almando Anton (sales), (front) Maddy Gavin (digital content), Isabella Guzman Gonzalez (editorial), Lisa Harris (administration) and Nick Dalton (editor) with the awards.

The weekly newspaper picked up the ‘best overall journalistic team excellence award for a paper’ and ‘best online digital presence’.

Editor Nick Dalton said the awards reflected the team’s focus on local news from the Daintree in the north, south to Cardwell and west to Kuranda.

“We try hard every week to provide local news across our circulation area of interest to our readers, from simple things such as community fairs and school events to the bigger stories that matter at the three local councils – Cairns and Cassowary regional councils and in the Douglas Shire,” he said.

“While the paper is called Cairns Local News we endeavour to provide stories and photos that cover everywhere across our patch.

“The judges praised our coverage of Cyclone Jasper and the subsequent flooding, despite our limited resources.

“Our online digital space has stepped up immensely since digital content creator Maddy Gavin joined us last year.

“We thank our readers and advertisers for their consistent support.” 

Paper managing director Carl Portella said winning two major awards at the QCPA awards night held significant meaning for Cairns Local News. 

“Firstly, it validates our commitment to journalistic excellence within the community of Cairns and Far North Queensland,” he said. “The recognition from the Queensland Country Press Association acknowledges the hard work, dedication, and quality of reporting that the newspaper consistently delivers to its readership.

“Secondly, these awards serve as a testament to our vision and leadership in guiding the newspaper towards success. It demonstrates our ability to steer Cairns Local News towards achieving industry recognition and standing out amongst peers in regional journalism. Under the leadership of editor Nick Dalton and advertising manager Kathrine Maclean, these accolades boost morale and motivate staff and contributors to continue their outstanding work and strive for even greater heights in the future. 

“These awards also enhance the newspaper’s reputation, potentially attracting more readers and advertisers, thus securing our position as a vital source of local news and information in the community.” 

On the ‘best overall journalistic team excellence award for a paper’,  judges Alison McAdam and Kristy Hess said “we were impressed by all editions that canvased a broad range of topics from history, community events, council reporting, emergency disaster coverage and sport”. 

“Above all, the quality of the journalism stands out. It is consistent and thorough with some strong headlines such as ‘How dare you, Jasper’ and ‘Crazy council antics’.”

On ‘best online digital presence’, the judges said “it was refreshing to see such diverse digital strategy adopted by the Cairns Local News group”. 

“What was especially impressive was to see the number of people going directly to the masthead’s website and the business has experienced solid digital growth as well as maintaining an excellent print product.

“It should be commended for being the most outstanding masthead for us in 2024 across digital and print platforms.”

The paper also picked up third places for advertising in ‘best locally produced print campaign’ and ‘best printed community advertising promotion’.

Judge Andrea Graham said Cairns Local News ran “a very quirky and colourful series of adverts for Ree’s Bookshop”.

“The message that reading is fun for all ages is portrayed well across each advert. The images used here for a second-hand bookstore were cute and quirky in this series which is fitting for the messaging in each advert,” she said.

The Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal campaign was third in the ‘best printed community advertising promotion’

Judge Pascale Budge said the campaign showcased a very worthy cause, two Five Star Chef Charity events raising money for the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal.

“The advertising consisted of eye-catching graphics reflecting the event themes, clearly laid out information and easy to book QR code,” she said.

“Supported by well-written editorial outlining the charity’s goals. I think both the campaign and events would have been very successful.”


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