• Loddon Herald

Your stories, your newspaper

LAST week, the Loddon Herald received two major awards in the 2021 Victorian Country Press Association awards.

We were named the overall newspaper of excellence (circulation under 2000) and recipient of the award for best community campaign for our articles on the Loddon childcare crisis.

Here we write about those honours belonging to you, our readers and advertisers

LAST Friday was one of those rare days away from the Loddon. Instead of following up story ideas (and advertising) in our wonderful local communities, there was a trip south to Geelong for the Victorian Country Press Association annual conference.

The newspaper industry across country Victoria has been impacted by COVID for two years and this was a long-awaited opportunity for local paper publishers to gather in person.

Imagine the humility experienced when it was announced that your newspaper, the Loddon Herald, was the recipient of two major awards - Best Community Campaign (under 2000 circulation) for our series of articles on the Loddon’s child care crisis and then, collecting the top award for Overall Newspaper Excellence (under 2000 circulation).

The Loddon Herald - born just over 10 months ago - is the vehicle, the platform, for our local communities.

It is our readers, our advertisers and collectively our Loddon towns and districts who are the true recipients of these awards.

The honours recognise the role of the true local newspaper in mirroring what is happening in local communities, what people are thinking and saying.

They underpin the genuine commitment of rural-based newspaper publishers to sharing the stories of the present and the past, shaping the future.

When selecting our entries for the VCPA awards from editions up to June 30, we felt compelled to include the childcare series that remains ongoing.

The May 13 edition was when the story broke. It was an edition that also captured in photographs the Mother’s Day Classic in Bridgewater, an update on local farmers sweating for more funds from the State Government to fight wheel cactus, the Newbridge residents wanting to keep a dirt road, an article for historian Ken Arnold while in sport there was the welcome bye for injury-hit Boort and horse jumping at Powlett.

But one edition is just the start of a major award. We were required to submit three.

Our May 27 edition had a follow up on childcare with the launch of a petition by Ripon MP Louise Staley, late news on COVID restrictions, a State Budget allocation for a new fire station at Serpentine, plans for a tractor display precinct in Pyramid Hill and the olive oil harvest while in sport there was the dominance of Mitiamo in football and Wedderburn and Boort preparing for the Loddon Derby that weekend.

The third edition submitted with the entry pack was June 24 when Newbridge residents stepped up their advocacy for water and sewerage connection, Boort’s Naomi Malone was recognised in the 2021 Victorial Rural Health Awards, the late breaking news of Tracey Wilson’s resignation as Inglewood and Districts Health Service CEO, Calivil’s Jade Clymo talking about milk prices, a special real estate feature for Greg Fathers, our promotion of the Active Farmers’ Run for Resilience and Wedderburn’s stunning A Grade netball win.

During breakout time at the VCPA conference, other newspaper proprietors asked why the “Herald” had been chose as your newspaper’s name. Simple: To herald and proclaim the achievements, hopes and dreams of Loddon communities.

That very brief precis of the three submitted editions for the top award cateogry - making your Loddon Herald country Victoria’s newspaper of the area - is just a portion of the many stories in those three weeks and since January 28.

Newspapers are much more than stories. There are photoraphs, there’s the printing on the Newsprinters press in Wodonga and there are the advertisers, the people share a real commitment to business in the Loddon and advertise in your Loddon Herald (without the ads, this newspaper would not exist, so a more than big thank you to them).

To our readers: you have placed faith in the Loddon Herald, you entrust us to share your stories and this is a responsibility we respect.

To be recognised by peers is gratifying for the voice of local communities and as we continue to evolve, we know there are many more stories still to be told.

To come back from Geelong with two VCPA awards just goes to show the Loddon’s voice is being heard. Thank you.

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