Thursday, May 30, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

BEST FREE NEWSPAPER IN QLD! State Awards Validate Your Local Paper

The team at Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper are beyond thrilled to announce the news they have just taken out three top gongs at the annual Queensland Country Press Awards which were held in the Sunshine Coast over the weekend.

The accolades include Best One-off Commercial Feature, Best Locally Produced Advertising Campaign and the most significant award of the night, Best Free Newspaper.

Back row: Cadet Journalist Daniel Heggie, Sales and Social Media Representative Ruby Gorlick, Graphic Designer Taylor Trewartha. Front row: Junior Graphic Designer Lara Moss, Editor in Chief Rachael Smith and Production Manager Crissy Bottrell. Photo credit: Norina Jane.

Big Awards For Small Passionate Team

Representatives from Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper headed down to the Sunshine Coast last weekend to attend the annual Queensland Country Press Awards.

This was the third year in a row the team attended the awards, returning last year with one gold, a silver and two bronze accolades.

This year, they were elated to discover they had won the top gong, bringing home the award for Best Free Newspaper, along with Best One-off Commercial Feature for Mackay Life’s Fergus Builders Feature and Best Locally Produced Advertising Campaign for Burdekin Life’s My Pets Rural advert.

Rachael Smith, Editor in Chief of Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper, commented that representing the team at last weekend’s awards was one of the best moments of her life.

“Best Free Newspaper in Queensland is the award I was always hoping we’d get but I honestly thought it would take us another couple of years to get there,” she explained.

“We are a newspaper that is very much ‘out of the box’ and I didn’t think judges really knew how to take us! But hearing that they loved our newspaper as much as we do, and our community does, is real validation for what we’ve been doing over the past four years.

“The judges commented that our passion for community really shone through, and that is something I am most proud of.”

There are 60 Queensland newspapers which are registered members of Queensland Country Press and the award for Best Free Newspaper was judged by industry experts who viewed six consecutive issues of the newspaper.

“What I love about the judging process is that every aspect of the newspaper was commended, from the designs to the page layouts, the editorial content to the advertising sales – our whole team earned this award and everyone contributed!”

Owner and Publisher of Mackay and Whitsunday Life, Rebecca Douthwaite, has been the driving force behind the publication since its inception and the creator of the now-infamous flip-book format.

She said she was extremely proud of the whole team and thrilled with the awards.

A real highlight for her was to be sat in a room full of newspaper professionals, some of whom had been publishing news for over 100 years, and to be recognised among such revered experts in their field.

“To get the nod from the Queensland Country Press Association at such a high level was very exciting for such a small regional newspaper that started on the back of News Corp shutting down all local newspapers and us feeling the need to bring the community back a free voice in print,” she expressed.

“When you look at a big corporate organisation, compared to the small passionate team we have, it’s very different and vast in what’s available – we’re just so lucky to have such great human beings, real human beings serving our community every day.”

Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper was launched in July 2020 by Core Life Publishing, a company which produces Core Life Magazine and Tripping Magazine.

Bringing together their passion for photography, eye for vibrant graphic design and aptitude for compassionate storytelling, the weekly newspaper was launched.

With no formal training in newspaper production, the team created their own rules and delivered weekly news on their own terms, carving out a unique formula which focused on heart-felt 100% local stories.

They are now thrilled to call this an award-winning formula that is not only proving popular with the local community but also leading to state-wide accolades and commendation from print industry leaders.

“we’re just so lucky to have such great human beings, real human beings serving our community every day.” Rebecca Douthwaite

The Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper representatives standing with Opposition Leader David Crisafulli at the Queensland Country Press Awards last Friday night. Sam Gillespie from Burdekin Life Newspaper, Rebecca Douthwaite Founder and Owner of Life Publishing Group, David Crisafulli Leader of the Opposition and Rachael Smith Editor in Chief of Life Publishing Group. Photo credit: Samantha Wantling

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