When most of Australia’s newspapers were running stories about the birth of Prince George on their front pages, The Age went with a story about an Australian non-bank lender in financial strife.
The Melbourne-based daily preferred to tackle what it saw as real issues affecting the local community – a recurring motif in the newspaper – instead of going with the flow on the Royal birth.
It is a trait which judges say went a long way to helping The Age win the 2013 90,000+ Newspaper of the Year award.
“You’re always looking to improve the stories that really matter to your community; the ones that capture them and involve them,” The Age editor Andrew Holden said.
“We never lost focus about quality journalism.
“That’s a fundamental for any newspaper.”
The Age’s award win was a beacon in the difficult year it has had. Over the past 12 months, it has had to deal with a shift to compact, redundancies and an ever increasing emphasis on digital – and the transition is not over yet.
Mr Holden admitted there is still a lot of learning to be done as it makes its shift to digital. He said the paper was still fine-tuning how a story evolved across various platforms across the day.
“The fascinating thing now is the different interests you see in print and digital, so the editing choices for the different platforms can be quite distinct,” Mr Holden said.
“We’ve been particularly strong on the Essendon saga, in terms of the way we’ve broken major stories online and kept pace without feeling the need to protect our print edition.
“We’re committed to being a multimedia news team , and that means that we will make decisions that a pure print person would not.”
Mr Holden said the award was a credit to the entire paper, which had banded together through the turbulence of the last 12 months.
“It’s a great tribute to the team here,” Mr Holden said.
“It’s always great to have industry recognition about our work, and the Newspaper of the Year awards in particular look at the whole team’s contribution, rather than just individual awards.”