For the fifth time in the past seven years, the North Renfrew Times will take home multiple awards in Ontario’s “Better Newspapers Competition.”
The contest is sponsored each year by the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA).
Award finalists are announced each year in February, with first, second and third place awards normally presented at the OCNA’s spring convention.
This year’s awards will be presented in a special virtual ceremony April 23.
The OCNA represents 218 community newspapers across the province, with a total circulation of more than 3.7 million.
Roughly half the province’s community papers are independently owned like the NRT, while the rest belong to major corporations like PostMedia or Metroland (Torstar).
For 2020, the NRT is a finalist for four awards – “General Excellence” in its circulation class, “Best Front Page” and “Best Feature Photo” among newspapers with a circulation under 10,000, and the “Environment Ontario” award for stories dealing with an environmental subject.
The General Excellence award is based on single issues submitted from the months of November 2019 and January 2020, while the “Best Front Page” is based on the issue of March 18, 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hit home.
Vance Gutzman is a finalist in the “Best Feature Photo” category for an image of Pete Selander of MNI Bicycle Livery working on a bike at his shop last April, and editor Terry Myers will take home first, second or third in the “Environment Ontario” award for an article on the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) at Chalk River in December 2019.
Over the past several years, the NRT has won a number of awards for general excellence, editorial writing, news coverage, ad design, and “spot news” photography.
In 2019, Gutzman won the “Humour Columnist of the Year” award for his column “Blue Skies.”
The NRT will be joined in the award finals by two other local independents.
The Eganville Leader has been nominated for a total of six awards and an honourable mention, while the Barry’s Bay Valley Gazette is a finalist for “Best Rural Story” among newspapers with a circulation under 10,000.
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