The Taber Times made its presence felt at the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association Better Newspaper Competition held in Red Deer earlier this year, celebrating submissions from the calendar year of 2018.
Among the accolades were The Times winning for Best Fire Prevention Week supplement in its circulation category, alongside Lamont Leader (2501-5000 circulation) and Wainwright Star/Edge (5001 and over circulation).
“The one thing we have prided ourselves over the years with our special fire section is original content with pictures and stories. I can’t recall a time in all my years at the paper, being less than 90 per cent original content with some years being 100 per cent,” said Greg Price, managing editor of the Taber Times and Vauxhall Advance. “Often in fire sections you will simply see fire drills or escape plans downloaded from the Internet — all canned copy. But here in our readership area, we have multiple volunteer fire departments in town and M.D. of Taber with stories to tell, accomplishments to celebrate and service to recognize. The award is just as much the various fire departments as it is ours in giving access interviewing chiefs and firefighters and providing pictures of their various local calls helping save property and giving wisdom to the public on being fire safe and possibly saving lives.”
The Times was once again recognized for individual written submissions, this time taking top spot for the Sue Gawlak Best Local Editorial Award for ‘Town needs to tread lightly with cannabis’, published on August 1, 2018. It was followed by ‘My Little Corner’ by Shootin the Breeze and Silenced published by Airdrie City View.
“Drawing on Trevor Busch’s in-depth coverage of how badly town council wanted to keep cannabis out of town limits and even the nation for that matter made for an editorial that had plenty of ammunition to write,” said Price, adding The Times also received second place in its circulation category in general excellence for Editorial Page.
“The logic being used against cannabis just wasn’t making sense. A town badly needing an influx of new business to supplement its tax base with its rising municipal costs, drafting overly restrictive bylaws surrounding a business that sells a legal product seemed counter intuitive to a free-market system. In the end, it was about responsible consumption of any legal product, and workplace and public setting bylaws is where the restrictive oversight should have been coming, not through business bylaws.”
Other recent writing accolades included The Times taking third in the same category for its editorial ‘Elections let democracy start anew’ in 2017. Columnists have also got into the mix in recent years with three straight top-three finishes for The Times for the Gordon Scott Memorial Award which included 2016’s ‘Saturday’s Concert More Than Being Hip’ (first place), 2015’s ‘Defending the Times — Pulp Fiction Style’ (third place), and 2014’s ‘Why We Absolutely Do Not Need a Law’ (second place).
Also getting repeat recognition in advertising was The Times with a second-place finish in Excellence in Creative Advertising for a Taber Bowling ad by Erin Lickiss and Meg Noguchi. The previous year Taber Times earned second place for Creative Use of Colour in Advertising (Horizon Implements-V-Cool System) and a third place finish for Excellence in Advertising (4-H…100 Years).
Agriculture is king in the Taber area and the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association has recognized that with The Times’ submissions for the Genome Alberta Best Agricultural Supplement Award in recent years. This year The Times finished in third, behind Flagstaff Sedgewick Community News and Lloydminster Meridian Source. It marks the tail end of a three year stretch that The Times finished first for 2017 submissions and third for 2016 submissions.
“All of the individual awards are open to any circulation category making repeat top finishes very difficult, meaning over 100 weekly newspapers in the province are eligible in editorial and advertising categories. To finish in the top tier among your peers is a big honour,” said Price.
“It shows we have staff, advertisers and a community that is proud of quality small-town journalism whose amount of original content rivals any weekly newspaper you would find across Canada with our staffing and resource levels. That’s not too shabby a product you can get for less than a cup of coffee to keep yourself informed of what’s going on in your community.”
The Taber Times continued appearance in both individual and general excellence awards in a very large sample size over double-digit years has the community first and foremost aiding in the production of The Times in the depth of coverage it is able to provide.
“The awards are not just about the workforce at The Taber Times, but the residents of the Town of Taber and Municipal District of Taber as well in being engaged readers and participants in all the tips we have received for stories to follow up on year after year. Weekly newspapers are the very definition of community journalism,” said Price. “Community newspapers across the province are doing an excellent job as a vital service in covering their community on the issues of the day both big and small in smaller centres that you won’t find on the Internet. It makes for a better informed community as a whole that we should all be striving for in caring about our communities.”