Town Crier wins big at OCNA

[attach]4261[/attach]It was a magical night in Niagara Falls.

Surrounded by the best and the brightest of Ontario’s community newspaper industry the Town Crier and its sister publication Vaughan Today were recognized with eight awards in six categories.

The Town Crier received high praise once again for our special sections, taking home both first (for our [url=]30th Anniversary supplement[/url] which ran with our MidTown edition) and third place (for our fall 2010 Kids & Education supplement which ran with our North Toronto edition) in the category.

Judge Frank Bucholtz’s comments about the 30th Anniversary publication left all those who worked on it feeling justifiably proud of their efforts.

“The winner was the impressive and (at times) impudent MidTown Town Crier 30th Anniversary edition. This was a real keeper for readers. It had very strong advertiser support and fantastic design and press work, as did all the entries from the Town Crier family of newspapers.

“However, it was the excellent editorial content which made it stand out above other very strong contenders. In a very well-written and themed format, the history of the Town Crier was laid out. Interviews with the founders, a focus on past stories that attracted reader attention and profiles of the current staff gave readers a well-rounder picture of the Town Crier, and why it is such an important read in a media market that has hundreds of voices shouting for attention.”

As Bucholtz noted, this award, and the third place nod, were a combination of the efforts of many dedicated staff members. The special sections were written under the guidance of Special Projects Editor Kelly Gadzala with additional stories from writers Brian Baker and Shawn Star. The much lauded design was created by Editorial Art Director Shadi Raoufi with photos from Francis Crescia. The advertising in both supplements was strong thanks to Jennifer Gardiner and Don Bettger and his team on the sales side, and Mark Winer for the production.

For the third year in a row Lorianna De Giorgio took home an award in the A&E category, this year taking third for a [url=]story she did on the local So You Think You Can Dance Canada contestants[/url].

“(The) story was well written and interesting to see it from the dancer’s perspective,” wrote category judge Kelly Clemmer, editor-in-chief for the Star News in Wainwright, Alberta. “Visually well done as well, which helped this entry get into the top three.”

The Town Crier also took third in the Education Writing category for Alex Keshen’s [url=]story on the move by Eastern Commerce to start classes at 10 a.m.[/url]rather than 9 as in other schools.

Keshen was lauded by judge Stephen Cogan for her work in doing a follow-up assessment of the project that began two months earlier, for including the negative with the positive and ensuring that students had a voice.

Our website [url=][/url], once again was voted among the best in the province by OCNA members taking home second place in the Surfer’s Selection category. This team effort showcased the talents of many staffers including Ilya Ber, Chris Reynolds, Phil Alves, Doreen Iannuzzi, Eric McMillan, Gordon Cameron and the late Hui Lan.

The Town Crier missed the top spot by only two points, being bested by [url=]Vaughan Today[/url] which also came second in the judged category for best website.

Vaughan Today has a clean and modern layout combined with great use of Social Media tools such as Twitter,” wrote judge Sean Toohey. “Their overall design and engagement on Twitter made them a clear front runner in this category.”

Vaughan Today redesigned its site last year (led by Alexis Dobranowski and Josh Freeman) moving to a WordPress platform which Toohey noted in his general comments as being something that more newspaper websites should consider.

The final award was a second place in the business writing category for Vaughan Today‘s Alexis Dobranowski. Her story “[url=]Buddies in booze[/url]” was described by judge Glenn Mitchell as: “fun, breezy but a real success story that’s told effortlessly and with a great headline that reflects the tone of the story perfectly.”

Since 2008 the Town Crier and Vaughan Today have brought home a total of 22 Ontario Community Newspapers Association awards which is a true testament to the skill and dedication of all those who contribute to the publications across all departments.

Congratulations to all those who have had a hand in our success past and present.