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Flagstaff team recognised at national awards

Flagstaff Team

News team… Flagstaff reporter Lochlan Lineham, managing editor Rob Drent and chief reporter Janetta Mackay at the Community Newspaper Association awards night.

The Devonport Flagstaff team won four prizes at the New Zealand Community Newspaper Association Awards announced at the Hilton in Auckland last Thursday.
Managing editor Rob Drent was judged best feature writer and runner-up in the best senior journalist category.
The Flagstaff’s 16-page liftout on the North Shore Rugby Club premiers victory in the 2023 North Harbour championship – in the club’s 150th anniversary year – was runner-up in the best feature/supplement category.
And chief reporter Janetta Mackay was runner-up in best headline category for work in the Flagstaff’s sister paper, the Rangitoto Observer, which she edits.
Drent’s feature entry included profiles of cancer survivor Sandra Russell and Navy photographer Chris Weisenborn, a backgrounder on the Navy master plan for Devonport and an Observer spread on flood victims in Milford.
Judges said Drent’s entry demonstrated a wide range of journalistic skill over a broad range of topics, “from local human-interest stories through to in-depth investigative journalism that takes time to uncover, sift through and collate in a compelling offering”.
Included in Drent’s best-news-journalist entry were stories on Peninsula Capital’s buy-up of commercial properties in the heart of Devonport, an exclusive on Woolworth’s plans to open a direct-to-boot grocery outlet on Lake Rd, Barfoot & Thompson real estate agent (and former nurse) Tracey Lawrence’s delivery of a baby on a roadside and an obituary of architect Jeremy Salmond.
Judges said the Observer’s headlines featured “clever word play”.
The Ashburton Guardian was judged best community newspaper for 2023.
Drent, the Devonport Flagstaff editor for 27 years, said it was good to be recognised nationally in competition against bigger papers with larger budgets.
The Flagstaff had always been a tight-knit team, but had expanded over the years, with the 2019 launch of the Rangitoto Observer, to now include 10 staff and contributors (Drent, Mackay, reporter Lochlan Lineham, sales manager Candice Izzard, designer Brendon De Suza, sub-editor Bevan Rapson, proofreader Graham Adams, freelance photographer Kathryn Nobbs, writer Helen Vause and cartoonist Guy Body).
“Everyone puts their heart and soul into the Flagstaff and the Observer and it shows in the end product,” Drent said.
“All our staff live locally and that’s what it’s all about really – local stories written by locals for locals.”

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