26/06/2007 - 22:00

Another big win for WA Business News

26/06/2007 - 22:00


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It’s not often that we bother our busy readership with self-congratulatory messages.

It’s not often that we bother our busy readership with self-congratulatory messages.

We don’t even bother putting an exclusive tag on our stories because we reckon readers know when they’ve seen something before without needing a special message to let them know.

But once a year we ship a few samples of our work to University of Missouri in the US, where the head of its School of Journalism manages the judging for an organisation we are member of – the Alliance of Area Business Publications.

The alliance is an organisation representing more than 70 publications like ours, mainly in North America where this type of media is common.

Every year we hope for the best as the parcel is posted off. For the past few years we’ve come up trumps.

This year I am pleased to say we’ve had another win, in a category I found particularly pleasing.

Last weekend, WA Business News won the gold award for Best Special Section Design for an eight-page feature we published at Easter last year, entitled ‘34 ideas for WA’.

While its not as broad as the Best Newspaper category in which we’ve previously won bronze awards, this year we moved up the league table to be compared with the bigger publications on a revenue basis.

I also am especially pleased with this because the award recognised the work of our production department, as well as the written content for the feature.

The judges made it clear that both elements of the content worked well together, making the point that good design and good words create a powerful message.

“This is the kind of journalism that readers can take to community gatherings to spark discussion of change and growth,” the judges said.

But the point of my comment here is not just to give ourselves a pat on the back, but to briefly look at the content of that feature which caught the judges attention.

Foreshore development, cutting payroll tax, a focus on solar energy, marketing WA properly, and the improvement in the plight of indigenous people were among the selection of ideas we put forward.Most of them we’d raised before in forums like this, but doing it with pictures and strong layout seemed to make the points even clearer.

Who knows how many readers took the feature away to discuss at their ‘community gatherings’? All I can say is that championing such ideas has become much more commonplace during the past 12 to 18 months through various committees, forums and other change agents. We are glad to see it happen and welcome any new ideas for WA, any time.


Some balance in a boom time

Our cover story this week is probably the real, current story of Western Australia. It’s a story of red flags.

The booming mining industry sees the opportunity in China and wants to seize it with both hands. But others in our community, including the government, are raising their own red flag – a very different type than the national banner introduced by the late chairman Mao.

The miners and others in the resources industry have a fair point. No matter how much the optimists believe this boom will last a generation, history shows us that may not be realistic. Right now, both demand for resources and the capital to exploit them are abundant. That could all change in a year.

But others also have their arguments about the pace of development.

Some are moderate, in that they don’t want to leave a mess for our descendants. Others are more extreme, believing that almost any form of progress will spoil what we have here.

Hopefully, everyone involved actually wants to see WA benefit and develop into a better place. If that were the fundamental premise of all discussion, it would help manage the most extreme positions – those of the greedy whose motivation is simply money and those of the insular who rail against all change as if it were a bad thing in itself.

As a journalist and observer rather than participant, I can see both sides of equation, and come in somewhere on the moderate side of progress.

Like many, I have seen the historical evidence of progress gone wrong. But I also note the societies and cultures that fail to embrace progress often have little left to pass on to their descendants.

It’s a fine balance.        


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