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Friday, June 14, 2024
The Lake Report honoured with 27 more awards
The paper earned second place in a General Excellence Award for class 4 newspapers. This Aug. 10, 2023 edition of the paper was highlighted in the announcement. THE LAKE REPORT

As the recipient of nearly 100 provincial and national awards over the past four years, the staff of The Lake Report and its many community contributors are justifiably proud of the work they produce every week to keep Niagara-on-the-Lake readers informed.

This year, in the annual Ontario Community Newspapers Association awards, The Lake Report took home a total of 27 awards, the most of any publication of any size.

The paper placed first in nine categories, earned nine second-place awards, eight third-place finishes and one honourable mention.

In the general excellence category, among papers with a circulation of 6,500 to 12,499, The Lake Report ranked second, behind the Haliburton Highlander and one spot ahead of the now-defunct NOTL Local newspaper.

Among the first-place honours received were Best Editorial Page or Section, featuring an editorial by editor-in-chief Richard Harley on NOTL finally implementing a municipal accommodation tax, a column by Brian Marshall about the town’s built heritage and reader letters on everything from development to health care and cycling safety.

Reporter Evan Loree’s front-page feature on the first day back to school was judged the best in the Education class.

Former reporter Somer Slobodian earned two major writing awards for her three-part series on the lack of affordable rental accommodation in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Her work took top honours for Best Investigative News Story and also won the award for Best Feature or News Series (circulation over 10,000). It was published between March 23 and April 6, 2023.

The judges noted, “This series addressed a crucial issue in Niagara-on-the-Lake and across Canada — the inability of so many people to find housing. The series looked at the problem from the perspective of many people and let the community know that much more needs to be done.”

“It was easy to read from start to finish and very compelling. This is exactly the kind of reporting a small community needs. Excellent work!”

Slobodian, Loree and managing editor Kevin MacLean shared the top prize for Diversity Coverage, for a series of news and feature stories and an editorial published between June and August 2023.

The series looked at the repeated vandalism of the town’s new rainbow crosswalk along with resident and political responses to the issue.

The 2022 Remembrance Day ceremony in NOTL was one of the wettest in memory as torrential rain drenched the event.

Slobodian, Loree and Harley teamed up to capture the day in dynamic and emotional photos to produce “NOTL Remembers” and earn the Best Photo Layout award.

The judge said it was “by far the best” of the 26 entries in that category.

Dave Van de Laar, who was named Ontario’s Photographer of the Year, also took top prize for the Most Creative Grip and Grin Photo.

In the news industry, cheque presentations and static events like political announcements are nicknamed “grip and grins,” because they usually just depict people standing around shaking hands or smiling for the camera.

Our photographer used his knack for good timing at the finale of the World Shark Championships in NOTL last August to snap a shot of the winning crew celebrating.

The candid camera caught regatta chair Rod Gardner with world champion sailors Chris Clarke, Alex Letchford and Josh Wiwcharyk whooping it up with their trophies in hand.

The Lake Report’s 20-page 2022 municipal election section “Off To The Races” won a pair of awards: first place for Special Section and third place in the prestigious Community Service category.

One of the judges called it “the most powerful, reader-friendly election section I’ve seen.”

The paper’s nine second-place awards went to:

The entire paper for General Excellence, featuring the March 9 and Aug. 10 editions.

Loree for Feature Writing (over 10,000 circulation), for a front-page story on young Greta Sobol’s quest to find a cure for juvenile diabetes.

Julia Sacco in the Health & Wellness category, for her on-going “Code Grey” series on health care issues. Her winning story documented the need for another nurse practitioner and more home care in NOTL.

Slobodian for Best Rural Story about a project that set up traps around the area to limit the spread of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive species that can wipe out entire vineyards.

Slobodian for Sport & Recreation Story, a feature profile on St. Davids boxer Mckenzie Wright and her quest to earn a spot on the Canadian Olympic team. Wright is competing this week in Bangkok in her final shot at the opportunity to represent Canada at this summer’s Paris Games.

MacLean and Harley for Best Headline Writing.

Sacco for Best Police or Court Story about the aftermath of the tragic death of Louise Leyland, who was struck and killed by a cyclist while walking in Queenston last spring.

Contributor Frank Hayes of St. Davids for Best Guest or Freelance Column for an opinion piece urging drivers and cyclists to show more respect one another.

Hayes also took second in the Best Feature Photo category for his dynamic photo of a blue heron “walking on water” as it prepares to take flight.

The Lake Report’s eight third-place awards went to:

Harley for Best News Story (over 10,000 circulation) for breaking the story about the town asking the OPP to investigate developer Benny Marotta giving Coun. Gary Burroughs an envelope with $10,000 in cash in it.

MacLean for Best Editorial (over 10,000 circulation), for “Important questions for NOTL’s councillors,” in the wake of the $10,000 in cash handed over by Marotta.

High school student Alperen Albayrak for Best Editorial Cartoon, about the controversial King Street condos possibly being used as short-term rentals.

Harley for the Best Use of Colour, for a full-page ad featuring a portrait of his newborn son, Levi.

The Lake Report team in the Community Service category for our 20-page municipal election special section, Off To The Races.

The Lake Report team in the Best Vertical Product category, for our 80-page glossy magazine, “NOTL: A Guide for Distinguished Explorers,” summer 2023 edition. The summer 2024 edition will be out next month.

The Lake Report team and contributor Rene Bertschi for Best Online Experience, for a video documenting the production of our March 2023 celebration of International Women’s Day.

The Lake Report team for Best Community Website (over 10,000 circulation), for niagaranow.com.

Harley also earned an honourable mention in the Best Creative Ad category, for the announcement of the birth of Levi.

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