Best Editorial Writing
It is a pleasure to note an increase in the number of entries in this category this year and the appearance of some new contenders - and even new mastheads - as our country newspapers stabilise and thrive after the shock and damage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is not that all pandemic issues have passed. The number of entries addressing the ongoing fallout of the pandemic attest to this. Whether it is the flagging fortunes of local business, the threats to local health and ambulance services, or the staffing shortages that have plagued regional services and businesses; local papers have re-emerged to tackle these issues for their communities.
Judging is made easier and more satisfying where entrants have taken the time to write explanatory notes about their editorials. It is especially heartening when the entrant can attest to change that has come from their campaign or position.The editorial of a newspaper is a powerful tool when used well.
The standard of the nine entries was high. There are some senior and well-respected journalists at the helms of our country papers, and our young leaders are proving themselves.
Just the usual gentle reminders:
Opinion pieces are not editorials, which must appear under the masthead name and reflect the newspaper’s position, not the journalist’s.
There should not be a name or a byline on the editorial. Some will see this as a purist’s nit-picking but 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.
THIRD PLACE: Paul Mitchell, The Murray Pioneer. Welcome back Paul! Your gritty, forthright style serves your readers well. Holding local government to account is at the core of a local newspaper’s duty and you do it well.
SECOND PLACE: Sara Gilligan, The Southern Argus. Last year’s winner serves up a variety of challenges to local and State Government and starts to see the rewards flow. As part of the pressure lobby for better ambulance and health services, Sara has helped to achieve better outcomes for her community.
FIRST PLACE: Tony Robinson, The Leader. Tony showcases the best attributes of the editorial in all of its power. He campaigned relentlessly for changes to road signage with a clear goal of saving lives and his work achieved an excellent outcome for his regional community.