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Country Press SA

Best Editorial Writing


Judge’s comments – Shauna Black

The most powerful editorials are focused on local issues. Commentary about statewide, national or international issues is everywhere and readily available: regional newspapers need not repeat nor enter debate, unless there is an obvious connection to the local area.

Your readers want to hear about their own backyard, their own town, their own council, their local sports club. Clever research and writing may be able to link a national or international event to local interests and these perspectives are welcome, but it can also be easy to fall back on writing a personal opinion about a big issue. Editors must resist this temptation; your personal opinion is of small interest to readers. Your editorial must speak for the community and be formed from your research, interviews, thoughtful reflection and with the best interests of the community at heart.

In a big election year – local, State and Federal – there should have been easy pickings for editorials. The power of a well-written editorial to effect change through politics should not be underestimated. Imagine yourself a candidate and where you might turn for guidance about what is important and what views are held in the community. The local newspaper, its letters page and its editorial should be an important source. Don’t waste this opportunity. Local journalists know much about the mood of the community and should not be afraid to let leaders know what people are discussing.

Just the usual gentle reminders:

  • There should not be a name or a byline on the editorial. The editorial reflects the opinion of the masthead, not the individual. This does not prohibit the entry form including the name of the author – credit where it is due after all.

  • Please read the entry form. A couple of mastheads submitted only one piece.

THIRD PLACE: Sara Gilligan, The Southern Argus. There’s nothing more local than the annual agricultural show. Sara does her bit to support and encourage continuation of the events which are critical to regional life and also has a go at encouraging residents to vote in local government elections.

SECOND PLACE: Ian Ostermann, The Courier. With his usual understatement and rational approach, Ian calls attention to some important issues in local and State Government. His pre-election call for the State to honour commitments to infrastructure improvement in Mt Barker is particularly noteworthy.

FIRST PLACE:  Paul Mitchell, The Murray Pioneer. A powerful turn of phrase and courage to confront authority are hallmarks of Paul’s editorials. He is unafraid to tackle complex issues in his lengthy editorials, giving voice to people’s concerns about flood relocations, lingering COVID restrictions and water allocations. And the obligatory comment on more prosaic matters, such as football finals!


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