THE Spectator scooped the pool at Friday night’s Rural Press Club Victoria Awards, taking home five awards including the inaugural Media Outlet of the Year Award.
Spectator journalist, Danielle Grindlay, won the major award for an individual when she was named Journalist of the Year.
Danielle also won Best Agriculture Story and was commended in the same category.
Journalist Lisa Cameron received high praise from the judges and was highly commended in the Young Journalist of the Year category.
Mr Drew said he was extremely proud of The Spectator and his team, and Friday night’s accolades were testament to the standard of the newspaper.
“Danielle has produced some outstanding work since joining our editorial team in January – her first, full-time appointment in a news room – and her awards demonstrate her indisputable talent,” he said.
“Lisa has a wonderful connection with the community and it is that connection that allows her to find and develop some beautiful feature stories, as well as hard news.
“Our entire news crew – journalists Lisa, Sam Fleming, Danielle, Phil Holmes, Jan Leishman, Kristy McDonald, Rex Martinich, Emma-Jayne Schenk and Danny Warren, and photographers Talitha Prendergast and Abby Hamilton – has made a contribution to our success in the Press Club Awards.
“We have a young and relatively ‘new’ team in our newsroom, but they produce a standard of work to match seasoned journalists.
“They come from diverse backgrounds, but they have embraced our region and have the respect of the community – they don’t just report on the community, they are part of it.”
Mr Drew said in addition to the editorial team of journalists and photographers, he wanted to thank the production department for their contribution to the awards.
“Max Keen and Brian McGinley do a terrific job putting our pages together every week, making our papers a visually appealing read and some of the kudos for these awards must go to them,” he said.
Rural Press Club membership boasts some of Victoria’s premier media outlets, including The Weekly Times, ABC and Stock and Land, as well as major regional outlets such as The Warrnambool Standard, Wimmera Mail Times and Geelong Advertiser.
Spectator chief of staff, Kristy McDonald, said it was a shock and an honour to accept the evening’s major award, in the company of some of the state – and the country’s – best.
“The Weekly Times is the Bible of the Bush, the Stock and Land is our other ‘go to’ and it is still sinking in that we have been named the best in such amazing company,” she said.
She also thanked the Rural Press Club president, Ed Gannon, and his team, for another spectacular awards night.
“Nights like these are terrific; we’ve sat here tonight and listened to everyone’s stories and it’s wonderful to share yarns with others who are all about their communities,” Ms McDonald said.
“Everyone’s got the same story to tell – their newspapers or radio stations thrive on their relationships with their communities, that it’s the rural and regional communities that make their news and make their days.
“It’s wonderful to have all of those stories together in the same room and to have yours judged by the likes of Anne Burgi, John Mullen and Mike Edmonds.”