Mountain Scene, the free voice of Queenstown, has cleaned up at the annual New Zealand Community Newspapers’ Association awards.
The Queenstown weekly, in its 40th year, won best overall paper, the major gong last Friday night. Mountain Scene was against more than 40 mainly independent titles which make up the association.
In comments, judges say Mountain Scene stands out because of the depth and quality of reporting and coverage.
“This paper proudly trumpets ‘exclusive’ in the old tradition of finding news no one else has … sophisticated paper that punches well above its weight.”
Mountain Scene’s Celia Crosbie was judged best journalist overall alongside Bruce Munro from The Star in Dunedin. Crosbie also won best journalist outright in the 7500-20,000 circulation category.
Judge Jim Tully, head of Canterbury University’s journalism school, noted: “A very competitive section but Celia was a clear winner with her portfolio of consistently newsy and well-written stories.”
Advertising sales boss Nicole Bell and her team’s entry won the award for best advertising portfolio overall. Former senior writer Russell Blackstock – now with Auckland’s Herald on Sunday – won best headline writer overall.
The judges also singled Mountain Scene out in the ‘Community Involvement’ category, praising a relentless campaign on behalf of local cancer sufferers.
Whilst the entry didn’t win overall, the judges praised Mountain Scene for a “cracker” campaign.
“The Scene has been campaigning successfully on issues around the provision of health services in the area effectively for some years now.
“The paper reveals that agonising trips to Invercargill that Wakatipu residents have been making for chemotherapy were twice as long as they needed to be and that equivalent care could, in fact, be provided in Dunstan, only 90km away.
“With its characteristic refusal to accept spin doctor responses, the paper goes on the front foot. These stories have great impact and it is little surprise to find one of the last ones headlined: ‘Victory for cancer patients’.”