TOP PAPER: Beacon advertising manager Robyn McLeod, managing director John Spring and editor Neryda McNabb are thrilled with the Beacon’s success at the Community Newspaper Awards on Friday.

AFTER being awarded best community newspapers at the Voyager Media Awards last month, the Beacon has taken out the top honour at the New Zealand Community Newspaper Awards in Christchurch.

THE Beacon has done it again – taking out the top honour at this year’s New Zealand Community Newspaper Association awards.

The Beacon won the Frank Veale Memorial Award for Community Newspaper of the Year at the awards held in Christchurch on Friday night

The supreme award capped off a big night for the Beacon that included two other category wins and four runner-up awards.

The annual awards celebrate the best of community newspapers and magazines throughout the country. It is run by the New Zealand Community Newspapers Association, an industry body with members from more than 80 independent newspapers and magazines.

The Beacon won best supplement for its Summer Holiday Guide and best community involvement for its one-year-on follow-up of the Edgecumbe flood.

WINNERS: Accepting the Frank Veale Memorial Award for Community Newspaper of the Year on Friday night are Beacon chief executive Aaron Buist, administration manager Fiona Marshall, editor Neryda McNabb, managing director John Spring, advertising manager Robyn McLeod. Community Newspaper Association president David Mackenzie, right, presented the award.

The paper was runner up in the best front page and best idea or innovation categories.

Reporter Charlotte Jones, the Beacon’s newest recruit, was runner-up best junior news journalist and former photographer Louis Klaassen, who entered from abroad, was runner-up best senior photographer.

Although the Beacon and its staff members are regularly recognised at the annual awards, it is the first time in more than 10 years that the paper has taken the supreme award.

The success comes on top of a win at the Voyager Media Awards in May where the Beacon won Community Newspaper of the Year.

“We’re all thrilled to win this award. Just tremendous,” said managing director John Spring.

“It’s been a long time between drinks, 2007 since we last won it. And to win it in our 80th year, and along with the recent Voyager Media award for Community Newspaper of the Year, makes it really special. It’s been a great year for the Beacon.”

Editor Neryda McNabb said the awards were an awesome and welcome reward for all the hard work that went into producing the paper each week.

“Each edition is very much a team effort and that team includes not only the Beacon’s entire staff but its readers and advertisers without whose support we wouldn’t exist.

“Without the community behind us, trusting us to share their stories, we simply would not be able to do what we do.”

CNA president David Mackenzie said the awards recognised the best of the industry.

“The calibre of entries received was extremely high and came from some of the best community newspapers across New Zealand. This made the competition for this prestigious award really tight.”

He said community newspapers were thriving up and down the country and that could be put down to the power of print advertising and the hyper-local stories produced each week by highly-connected, local journalists who work for independent publishers.

The awards were the centrepiece of the CNA’s annual two-day conference, where members heard from a range of speakers about the industry, including Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Kris Faafoi.