Great Idea Awards luncheon spotlights newspaper innovation

The mood for the 2013 Great Idea Awards luncheon was established immediately by the ceremony’s emcee Candy Hodson, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing at Black Press.

“Even though this is a luncheon, I really feel this should be special so can we lower the lights?” Using two flashlights, she created makeshift searchlights in front of the crowd. “Is everybody feeling it?”

The annual luncheon event was held on May 2 in Ottawa during Newspapers Canada’s INK+BEYOND conference and trade show.

View the 2013 Great Idea Awards photo gallery on Facebook »

The Vancouver Sun swept this year’s competition with five first-place awards – all of which were accepted by Wayne Moriarty, Editor-in-Chief at The Province.

“We’re competitive in B.C. so I have to tell you this is unusually painful for me,” he said while accepting the Vancouver Sun’s award in the category of special sections for their segment ‘BC 2035.’ “It’s quite brilliant and I wish we thought of it – kudos to the Sun.”

The annual awards program honours newspaper marketing and advertising initiatives with its recipients being asked to briefly explain their idea upon accepting their award. Winning ideas ranged from an embossed suitcase in the Toronto Star’s Travel section to an elaborate digital Honda Civic giveaway campaign from the Abbotsford News.

Prince Edward Island’s Guardian took home first prize in the Promotional Campaign category for its 125th anniversary campaign. Gary MacDougall, The Guardian’s managing editor, spoke to the daunting task of organizing the anniversary celebration while continuing the paper’s operations. “I don’t need to tell anyone here how much work it takes to put out a daily paper but we got our plan together and did a good job – this is proof.”

The Vancouver Sun won the same award in the daily publications bracket for its 100th anniversary cruise. Moriarty recalled the stories he heard from the cruise. “Some of the columnists were having their columns read back to them – that’s when you’re reminded how connected we are with some people and how valuable we are to their daily lives.”