COAST CITIES — The Coast News Group earned top awards in The Association of Free Community Paper’s (AFCP) 2011 “Best of the Best” Awards presentation in St. Pete Beach, Fla., May 6. The Coast News took first place in the “General Excellence for demand distribution delivered publications,” with The Coast News and the Rancho Santa Fe News sweeping the “Community News — Editorial” category.
Judges gave The Coast News first place in the “General Excellence” category for its “consistently strong cover design.” The upgraded stock on cover and good use of color make this paper a winner, the judges said.
The editorial awards, which seek to recognize the best work throughout the entire free paper industry, went to three investigative pieces, all written by freelance reporter Lillian Cox. First place: “Local woman fights wireless industry to reduce health risks.” Second place: “Local doctor shares his views on dangers from electromagnetic field radiation.” Third place: “Husband’s cancer spurs wife to warn of suspected cell phone dangers.”
Cox earned “kudos” for her reporting from the judges, while Production Editor Charles Steinman received notice for his page design on the “Local woman fights wireless…” story. Judges noted the “great lead” and good use of the “above the fold” photograph, saying, “(the layout) captured the reader’s attention.”
Judging for the awards took place March 5 at the Sheraton Hotel in Denver, Colo. Six judges, each having a background in the disciplines of the publishing industry, viewed over 1,800 entries from more than 100 different publishing companies. Publishers submitted their best work to the 41 categories from “Best Original Photography” to “Best Original Writing.”
“I’m very proud of my newsroom,” said Jim Kydd, owner and publisher of The Coast News Group.
Kydd started The Coast News in 1987 in the garage of his Moonlight Beach home. Coming from the East Coast with a background in ad sales, Kydd saw an opportunity to start up a weekly newspaper after finding a lack of dedicated community news coverage in the area. The Coast News Group publishes The Coast News and the Rancho Santa Fe News, employing 13 in-house staff members and several freelance reporters.
The free paper industry is a $4 billion industry, with circulations in excess of 100 million copies weekly, according to the AFCP. The industry consists of a diverse mix of publications, including shopping guides, newsweeklies and community newspapers.