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Abbotsford News earns six North American awards

BC Winter Games - Mission.  One of thousands of photographs taken at the 2014 Winter Games. - Tena Lindenlaub
BC Winter Games - Mission. One of thousands of photographs taken at the 2014 Winter Games.
— image credit: Tena Lindenlaub

The Abbotsford News parent company, Black Press, recently garnered seven awards in 16 categories at the Local Media Association’s Best in Digital Media, with the local newspaper earning six of them.

The News’ website – abbynews.com – placed third in the Best Community Website category, which saw entrants from across North America.

“The News goes above and beyond to ensure we’re engaging with our readers in print and online,” said News’ publisher Andrew Franklin. “We have multiple access points for our readers, the clearest of which is breaking news.

“We’re extremely proud of the fact readers feel value in continuing to visit the website, which is reflected by our unique views, which in July is already more than 100,000.”

The Abbotsford News’ website is the most frequently visited of the 90-plus Black Press publications, surpassing larger markets such as Victoria, Surrey and Kelowna.

The News was an honourable mention in the Best Use of Social Media category for its Magnuson Ford Treasure Hunt contest. In Abbotsford, the contest was promoted via our website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and in print.

The Abbotsford News, London Drugs and Abbotsford International Airshow amateur photography contest, Your Best Shot, took first place in North America in the Best Contest category. Last year was the contest’s inaugural event – which netted just shy of 2,000 entries – and it continues in 2014 with more than 2,000 submissions.

Sixty-seven photographers attended the Abbotsford Airshow for two days last summer, and shot between 800 to 1,000 photos each during the event. Those photos were shared on social media, and throughout Black Press to all partner newspapers that had a finalist representing their hometown.

Abbotsford garnered two awards – second place for Best Local Community Initiative, and second place in Best Niche Site – for its work at the Mission BC Winter Games.

A micro-website was created for February’s Games, held in Mission, and was “the largest mobilization of Black Press employees, volunteer photographers and high school students,” said Franklin.

A number of high school students from Robert Bateman Secondary School and W.J. Mouat Secondary School contributed significantly to the reporting effort, he added, noting the group produced upwards of eight videos and contributed written content throughout the event.

The Games drew 2,200 youth athletes from all corners of the province to Mission to compete in 18 sports. Black Press created the micro-site, which featured stories, photographs and video being uploaded continuously throughout the three-day event, and the information was pushed to websites, social media, including Flickr, and was printed in local newspapers.

Finally, the News earned first place in North America for Best Video Initiative for its work on the Tourism Harrison guide.

In partnership with Tourism Harrison, staff from the News helped create a video with footage from a helicopter and a jet boat on Harrison Lake that tied into the online version of the printed guide.

“This video integration into a digital brochure really stood out against the competition,” said one of the category judges.

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