26 May, 2021
Awards recognise value of two-year-old local paper
The ‘Shop Local’ campaign run by the Rangitoto Observer and sister publication the Devonport Flagstaff during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown and beyond has been recognised nationally.
It was runner-up in the Best Community Involvement section at the New Zealand Community Newspaper Association Awards.
“Now here is a newspaper worth supporting because of its support for its own community,” judge Mary Anne Gill said. “Its shop-local campaign was compelling, and woe betide any resident who shopped anywhere else.”
The Observer actively supported businesses most affected by Covid: the restaurant and takeaway industry and travel companies. It ran free full-page adverts letting people know where they could click and collect deliveries, ran free adverts for travel firms and also a shop-local promotion page.
In the news section, the paper covered stories about businesses operating under lockdown and ran editorials encouraging consumers to use local retailers, rather than shopping on-line.
Perhaps most importantly, it carried on publishing.
While others suspended publication to cut costs, it never missed an edition, publishing hard copies and delivering to stands and letterboxes as and where permitted by the government.
And when printing was suspended it continued to publish to the usual deadlines with online editions.
“These are cracking good newspapers produced under the most testing of circumstances and a credit to Rob Drent and his team who really did walk the talk,” Gill said.
In other results, Devonport Publishing’s Destination Devonport publication won Best Feature or Supplement.
“This plucky little supplement perfectly navigates Covid limitations on tourism, cleverly keeping one eye on the hyper-local and the other on the upcoming America’s Cup,” judge Viv Posselt said.
“It has great retention value, in a format small enough to tuck into a bag as a portable reference.”
Former Flagstaff reporter Anneka Brown, who is now studying for a communications degree at AUT University, was runner-up in the Best Junior Sports Reporter category and former Devonport Publishing sales manager Liz Cannon won Best Sales Professional.
The Rangitoto Observer celebrated two years of publication in March.
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