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Guardian pulls off amazing double

Guardian pulls off amazing double
Yeah, baby: Ashburton Guardian co-owners Simon Bell (left) and Daryl Holden in celebration mode after winning the coveted best community newspaper title at the prestigious Voyager Media Awards in Auckland. It was the Guardian’s second national newspaper title in seven days.

Your Ashburton Guardian has done the national double, and everyone is talking about it.
That’s because in Auckland on Saturday night the Guardian capped one of the most significant periods in its 144-year history, being named New Zealand’s Community Newspaper of the Year in the prestigious Voyager Media Awards.
Staggeringly, it was the Guardian’s second New Zealand triumph in seven days, after it was also named the best newspaper at the Community Newspapers’ Association Awards the previous week.
Guardian co-owner and managing editor, Daryl Holden, said achieving the national double was rare and something for everyone to be proud of.
“And I mean everyone,’’ Holden said.
“That’s everyone in our close-knit team, to all our readers and our community, who often show the courage to let us tell their stories, and to our deeply appreciated advertisers. This is a massive high five to all of you.’’
Holden and fellow co-owner Simon Bell accepted the Voyager award on behalf of a thrilled Guardian team in what was New Zealand journalism’s biggest night of the year in Auckland on Saturday, celebrating broadcast, print and digital media in a glitzy black-tie event.
It was also the 50th anniversary of the annual New Zealand journalism awards, which Holden said made the Guardian’s win even more special. But it was a richly deserved, according to community newspaper judges Ewan McDonald and Rick Neville, who said the Guardian was a “worthy winner’’, with Mahurangi Matters/Local Matters the runner-up.
“The Guardian has successfully transitioned from a daily to a thrice-weekly community paper, producing a highly professional publication, which takes seriously its role as a community leader,’’ the judges said.
“Combining well-written local stories, excellent photography and layout, the Guardian tries that much harder than many of its peers, with strong local leaders (not afraid to take a poke at city hall), cartoons, heritage, sport and farming news.
“A worthy winner.”
The good news didn’t end there for the Guardian, which also had its fine work recognised in an against-the-odds performance to be a finalist in the best newspaper front page category won by the Sunday Star-Times. Fellow metropolitan heavy hitters, the New Zealand Herald and Sunday News were the other finalists, which the judges found hard to split.
They said the category was very competitive and that “even the four finalists were close’’.
Holden said hearing that acknowledgement of the Guardian front pages, knowing it had nowhere near the production resources of its opposition, was especially rewarding.
“It was just another special moment on a night the Ashburton Guardian should never forget.’’