It was a special time last week for the Gunnedah Times at the 122nd Country Press NSW annual Conference and Awards Dinner. 

Country Press NSW is an organisation of independent rural and regional newspapers. 

It is the occasion to bring most newspaper directors, editors, journalists and advertising consultants together to collaborate on training, lived experiences and celebrate the ongoing success country publications have in their regions across the state.

Proprietors of four publications, including the Gunnedah Times, Wanda and Ian Dunnet offered the experience to staff to attend the conference and gain industry insights, networking and upskilling opportunities at the Sydney conference. The conference was followed by a celebratory dinner and awards night, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Gunnedah Times won three awards including ‘Best News Story’ written by Sam Woods. (Winner: Gunnedah Times, ‘Back in time for Christmas’). 

“An uplifting story about the Edmunds family moving back into their home just before Christmas following massive floods in the Gunnedah Shire in November 2021. The story foreshadows a return to normality for the whole community after extensive flood damage to many homes and significant economic losses to businesses and farming enterprises. The Edmunds family, who have two children with disabilities, are full of praise for their local community and express their gratitude for the support they have received. The story highlights the resilient and close-knit nature of the Gunnedah community.

 A photo capturing the Edmunds’ joy is an important element of the story.” – news judge Mark Filmer.

We also won ‘Best Special Publication’ (Winner: Gunnedah Times, Annual Review 2021). 

“This 60-page full colour review was the publication’s first annual review. It has a particular focus on the impact of COVID-19 on local businesses and the economy, as well as community groups, schools and sporting clubs. It includes year-in-review highlights and photographs from the Gunnedah Times. 

“The review also features various businesses, community groups and leaders discussing the town’s key developments, plans and prospects for the year ahead. It is a quality publication with a professional finish.” – news judge Mark Filmer). 

The Gunnedah Times team was also highly commended for Best Sports Story written by Aymon Bertah about boxer Wade Ryan. 

Going to experience the conference and awards night was a highlight, but to stand up in front of the greater organisation and affiliates and accept the award on behalf of the team was a moment I will never forget. 

To join a team that has been operating now for just under two years, strengthening and growing as it is, and to come away with three awards recognising the success and capacity of our staff was indeed a memorable moment. 

I hope our community is proud of the work our team strives to achieve week in, week out and continues to support and celebrate alongside our publication.

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