The Express has been acknowledged by the Victorian Country Press Association as a “community watchdog” and a true contender among non-daily newspapers across the state.
As part of the VCPA Annual Awards The Express was highly commended at the weekend for its photograph by Bryan Petts-Jones of a firefighter working to extinguish the blaze which destroyed Traralgon’s GrowMaster Nursery in December 2012.
It was also highly commended in the Local Reporting section, circulation over 10,000, and for a series of articles by Stephanie Charalambous on the fatal shooting of a pet Siberian husky ‘Peppa’ near Yallourn North on Anzac Day. The Award for Journalism again went to the Bendigo Weekly, a consistent high-achiever at the awards, while The Express closed in on the competition, moving from its historically highly commended position, to runner-up.
“Choosing an overall winner in this category became an almost impossible to judge tussle between the top two,” judge Dr Katrina Mandy Oakham said.
“The paper has to be particularly commended for the way in which it can take on the big structural issues and make them relevant by telling a very human and individual story, for example, government neglect in terms of regional funding for road works becomes a compelling drama about a family whose home has been smashed into four times. A look at the cultural and social attitudes to transgender people becomes the story of musician Jayne Thompson using her talents to help others.”
Dr Oakham also acknowledged the introduction of ‘Social talk’ where The Express publishes responses from its Facebook followers to questions on particular stories.
“Great pictures by the always reliably-creative Laura Ferguson all work together to enhance readability of this paper who continues to act as a community watchdog,” Dr Oakham said.