Times tops

The Fort Frances Times garnered first place for General Excellence in its circulation class (3,500-6,400) at the Ontario Community Newspapers Association’s annual Better Newspapers Competition.
Times’ publisher and co-owner Jim Cumming accepted the plaque Friday night in Niagara Falls.
“The Fort Frances Times rose to the top of the pile for the quality and breadth of its local coverage,” the judges wrote.
“This newspaper seems to take its role seriously, and covers a wide range of local issues.
“Its sports section was the best in the group,” the judges added.
Judging for General Excellence involves the front page, community news, the editorial and op. ed. pages, presentation, photography, local features, and sports.
Advertising content, advertising design, classified advertising, and production quality round out the components.
The Times had to submit one issue from December, 2009 and one from May, 2010 for judging.
“The issue from last May which I chose to submit featured the toll booth controversy at Couchiching,” noted Times’ editor Mike Behan.
“I had been particularly pleased with our thorough and balanced coverage of that potentially-explosive issue, and it was gratifying to see a panel of our peers clearly felt the same way.”
But Behan stressed winning in General Excellence means having a high-quality edition from page one right through to the back page.
“It’s a reflection of everyone’s role, from our reporters to the advertising sales team, the ad compositors, the front office staff, and the gang in the press room,” he remarked.
“A total team effort.”
Meanwhile, the Times also earned an “honourable mention,” for its supplement last June saluting local physicians, in the Best Special Section category for newspapers with a circulation of less than 9,999.
“I gave this section an honourable mention because I have not seen the idea before,” the judge wrote.
“I liked giving a salute to doctors who work for the well-being of a community, working to keep people healthy and to care for them when they are ill,” she noted.