Last Friday night marked a seminal moment for the Barrier Truth, Broken Hill’s local newspaper, as it dominated the Country Press New South Wales Awards, winning four of the 12 categories and receiving an honourable mention in a fifth.
The awards were held on the 123rd anniversary of Country Press New South Wales. The awards look to acknowledge the best of the best of the 43 regional newspaper members.
According to Greg McFarland, Secretary of Country Press NSW, the achievement is one that few other papers have accomplished in recent years.
“I can say, from the secretary’s point of view – you guys at the Barrier Truth had a very good night,” Mr McFarland told the Truth.
“You guys are definitely our most remote paper and you were our biggest winner this year. Distance is certainly no barrier for you.”
In addition to taking home awards for Best News Story and Best Sports Story, the Barrier Truth also won Best Front Page for its coverage of the Menindee Fish Kill. Designed by Production Manager Ryan O’Callaghan and featuring a photograph by Dan Schulz, this accolade signals a positive shift, following a special commendation at the 2022 awards.
According to the judges, “The Barrier Truth’s March 22 edition was a clear winner. Its front page is entirely devoted to a photograph of thousands of dead fish in the Darling-Baaka River. The tabloid-style heading ‘LAST GASP—MILLIONS OF FISH DIE’ says it all. With a simple sentence suggesting the river is dying, leading to the full story inside, the reader’s eye is instantly captured with the need to know more. The front page is simple in its design, but very effective.”
Ryan O’Callaghan, the designer, expressed his satisfaction, “After receiving a special commendation last year, it was fulfilling to take the next step and bring home the award for the best front page this year.”
The Barrier Truth also received the award for Best House Design Advertisement, credited to an advert created by Noel Browne.
The judges praised, “What a great advertisement promoting paid subscriptions—and as the supporting entry comments described, it was ‘un-miss-able, as it is light-hearted’.”
Furthermore, the newspaper was acknowledged by the judges for its ‘Biggest Morning Tea’ advertisement.
“Worth a mention is the Barrier Truth’s robust advertisement promoting its own Biggest Morning Tea, raising funds for cancer research and demonstrating significant community engagement.”
If you rewind just a couple of years, to the tumultuous Covid pandemic that brought the paper to its knees, a feat such as this one would not have even been joked about, let alone seriously considered. It is evidence of the culture of improvement and support displayed behind the scenes at the paper according to General manager Robin Sellick. As well as a lot of hard work.
“Obviously we’re thrilled to get this kind of recognition from our peers,” Mr Sellick said.
“It is really a result of all the hard work the team has put in over the past 12 months. We’ve built a culture of constant improvement and support, where striving for that bit extra is encouraged and people feel supported to take manageable risks.”