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Your Guardian wins top prize

Your Guardian wins top prize
Champions: Ashburton Guardian managing editor and co-owner Daryl Holden with some of the spoils of success from the New Zealand Community Newspaper Awards. The Guardian was named New Zealand’s best community paper.

The Ashburton Guardian’s proud team are “still on a high’’ after their newspaper was named the best in New Zealand.
The Guardian beat off stiff competition to win the coveted Frank Veale Memorial Award for being named the best newspaper at the New Zealand Community Newspapers’ Awards in Auckland.
It was a win that thrilled managing editor and co-owner Daryl Holden, who said it was confirmation of their national reputation, being innovators and a staunch community leader.
“I’ve said it many, many times that we’re not just a newspaper of record. We also take our role as a community leader very seriously,’’ he said.
“We’ll stand up for our community, recognise our stars and fine achievements, and question decisions when required.’’
Clearly, that was a key element in winning New Zealand’s best community newspaper award, which he said had left the team still on a high.
That engagement factor was touched on by the judging panel, who felt the Guardian was showing the way with its community connection.
“A strong campaigner, the Guardian has become the caring organisation a community newspaper should be,’’ the judges said.
“It sets out to engage all members of the community and it does so very well, with solid sport and lifestyle sections, along with general news.’’
Judges also said the Guardian had a “large and wide-ranging selection of stories, all well written and concise. The editorial staff members have certainly got their ears to the ground and are keeping their community well informed’’.
They said the Guardian was a “well deserved winner’’ and they also noted the paper’s publication of editorials.
“(That’s) something missing from many of our community papers these days.’’
And the good news didn’t stop there for Team Guardian.
It was also named runner-up in the best newspaper front page award, with the judge saying: “Some powerful and newsworthy front pages. Strong images and punchy story pointers.’’
Personally, it was also a good night for Holden, who was named a joint runner-up in the best senior news journalist category and the winner of the best headline writer section.
“That was another special moment,’’ Holden said.
“Not just because of my win but because the inaugural Brian Rogers Memorial Award was presented by Brian’s widow, Claire.’’
The judges commended Holden for what they said was “headline writing at its finest’’.
“A wonderful set of funny, pithy and smart headlines,’’ they said.
“Puns can be overdone but these are examples of the art of headline writing at its finest.
“Naan left is a particular favourite."