The coveted Newspaper of the Year awards will be revitalised next year following a meeting of Australian and New Zealand editors.
The number of categories have been reduced and the industry’s allied Advertising and Marketing awards will be merged.
In one of the biggest changes, entries for Newspaper of the Year will have to reflect not just the print masthead but also the paper’s digital assets.
“Editors felt strongly that the strength of a newspaper could no longer be judged on their print editions alone,” said Mark Hollands, chief executive of The Newspaper Works.
Standalone digital awards would continue.
Mr Hollands said sites such as Stuff.co.nz and news.com.au were leaders in their respective markets and “are greater innovators for our industry”.
Circulation divisions will be retired in favour of the segmentations specified by emma, the audience measurement system launched earlier this year.
Newspapers will now fall into the categories of “metro/national”, “regional”, and “community/smaller regional papers”. The would be segmented into daily and non-daily titles.
Mr Hollands said all Australian titles had been independently categorised by emma. It would be relatively simple to apply the criteria to titles in New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Taiwan China, where other members of The Newspaper Works are based.
The award for Sunday Newspaper of the Year would be changed for Weekend Newspaper of the Year, reflecting changing reading habits.
Printing and photography awards would remain as a major part of the awards evening, Mr Hollands said.
“We will endeavour to include some new commercial awards, such as Marketing Team of the Year, to highlight the quality of professionalism across our industry.”
The chairman of the awards taskforce, former News Corp editor Ian Moore, said: “Editors debated strongly on whether the name ‘newspaper’ still reflected the nature of our industry. While we all know the importance of our digital future, editors still hold strongly that our strength remains in the strength of our newsrooms and the unique engagement of our newspapers.
“Editors were especially enthusiastic about the change to Weekend Newspaper of the Year, which will boost the competition in this category. ”
The Newspaper of the Year awards will be held at The Ivy, Sydney, at a gala night on August 21.
The Advertising & Marketing awards will be held on the previous evening at The Establishment, Sydney.
The awards ceremonies book-end the industry’s annual conference, The Future Forum, to be held in Sydney from August 20-21.
The chief executives of the four largest newspaper publishers – Michael Miller (APN News & Media), Greg Hywood (Fairfax Media); Julian Clarke (News Corp Australia) and Chris Wharton (West Australian Newspapers).
Taskforce editors: Campbell Reid (News Corp Aust); Bob Cronin (West Australian Newspapers); Shayne Currie (New Zealand Herald); Garry Linnell (Fairfax Media); Bob Osburn (NewsLocal); Mark Dennis (Fairfax Community Newspapers); Mark Stevens (stuff.co.nz); Heath Harrison (Newcastle Herald), Simon Holt (Brisbane Times), Ian Moore (Consultant).