The Lake Report has again been recognized for journalism and advertising excellence, earning 17 awards from the Ontario Community Newspapers Association.
The association on Tuesday unveiled the finalists in its annual Better Newspapers Competition.
The Lake Report is a finalist in 11 categories in addition to receiving six honourable mention awards – more accolades than any paper in the province.
The first-, second- and third-place winners from among all the finalists in each category will be revealed in the spring.
“We are extremely flattered and grateful for the recognition,” said Richard Harley, the founder and editor-in-chief of The Lake Report.
“As we come up to our fifth anniversary in May, being singled out by our peers again like this is really gratifying.”
“However, we always remind ourselves that none of our successes are possible without the loyal readers and advertisers who support us, week in and week out, in print and online,” he said.
“And we owe a huge debt to all the people in the community who allow us into their lives and trust us to tell their stories,” Harley added.
“Everyone knows this is a tough business to succeed in. Without everyone’s support, we would not be able to produce the news for NOTL every week.”
These provincial awards are for pieces published between October 2021 and Sept. 30, 2022.
Last year, The Lake Report won more than 40 awards in Ontario and Canada-wide industry competitions, taking home more honours than any other publication in the country.
In this week’s announcement, one other NOTL publication, Torstar Corp.’s Niagara Advance, received two nominations: for general excellence in the 2,000 to 6,499 circulation category and for COVID coverage.
Among The Lake Report’s finalists in this year’s Ontario awards, is Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Dave Van De Laar. He is one of two people in the running for the prestigious Photographer of the Year award.
A regular freelance contributor, Van De Laar’s work can be seen most weeks in the pages of The Lake Report.
His shots of last April’s Bunny Trail Easter egg hunt, a Canada goose “running” on water prior to takeoff, an exhausted Sean Wright emerging from Lake Ontario after his swim for the Terry Fox Run and an airborne Niagara Thunderhawks lacrosse player scoring a goal were all entered in the competition.
Our other finalists are:
- Richard Harley, Best News Story, for his March 10, 2022, story about Teresa Wong, a mother of three who fled Hong Kong for NOTL with two of her children after the Communist regimes crackdown on democracy.
- Jill Troyer, Best Rural Story, for her Jan. 13, 2022, story on the icewine harvest during the -21C temperatures of the polar vortex.
- The Lake Report team for Best Front Page, for our July 28, 2022, edition, which featured items about two men stranded for hours on a disabled Sea-Doo in Lake Ontario, the labour shortages plaguing NOTL businesses, a new distillery opening in St. Davids, plans to recruit another nurse practitioner to town, and a column about using robotic cats to help seniors with dementia.
- Best Feature/Unit Pages, for the Jan. 13 and Jan. 20, 2022, special feature, “The Upper Canada Food Guide,” promoting pull-out menus for NOTL restaurants as they tried to attract patrons amid COVID.
- Best Creative Ad, for a series of advertisements featuring consumer tips from Wally Dingman of Caughill Automotive.
- Richard Harley and Kevin MacLean for Best In-House Promotion, a May 5, 2022, four-page commemorative section celebrating everyone behind the paper’s 11 provincial awards and featuring a congratulatory ad from realtor Nancy Bailey of Engel & Volkers.
- Richard Harley and Kevin MacLean for Original Ad Idea, a full-page ad on Sept. 22, 2022, commemorating World News Day and outlining some of the stories and features that would never have been reported if The Lake Report did not exist.
- Former reporter Evan Saunders, for Online Special Initiative, for a March 15, 2022, story about how 10 per cent of all homes in NOTL are short-term rentals, with an online interactive map showing the address and location of each one.
- Richard Harley and Nicholas Rothwell for Multimedia Online/Best Online Experience for a Story, for their Oct. 27, 2021, feature and video, A Short Cut to Mushrooms, about foraging for fungi.
- Kevin MacLean and Dave Van De Laar, Breaking News Video, for an April 18, 2022, video and photos of the return of the Bunny Trail Easter egg hunt after COVID.
The Lake Report’s six honourable mentions were awarded to:
- Richard Harley, Best Editorial, for his Jan. 27, 2022, piece, “Close maskless school now,” after The Lake Report’s investigation of a rogue independent “pod school” that was violating COVID protocols.
- Evan Saunders, Education Writing, for his Oct. 7, 2021, story, “Working with troubled youth critical for Indigenous culture, elder says.”
- Evan Saunders, Health and Wellness, for his March 10, 2022, story on how 10-year-old Maya Webster convinced the Ontario government to cover the cost of glucose monitors for thousands with diabetes.
- High school student Maddy Gordon, an intern reporter, for Best Guest/Freelance Column, for her April 28, 2022, guest editorial, “Sexual assault rally a chance to be heard,” about gaps in the District School Board of Niagara’s curriculum on consent and sexual assault – and how some people reacted badly to a student rally on the subject.
- Richard Harley, Best Use of Colour, for a back page Caughill Automotive ad promoting winter tire switchovers.
- The Lake Report team, Best Community Website, for our newly revamped news site, niagaranow.com.