Pontiac’s “little paper” leading the province

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Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

Last winter, Lynne Lavery, the Journal’s manager (also my life partner), had all the issues of the Journal from last year spread across our living room floor. Those
big-photo covers filled the room, in more ways than one.

Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

Last winter, Lynne Lavery, the Journal’s manager (also my life partner), had all the issues of the Journal from last year spread across our living room floor. Those
big-photo covers filled the room, in more ways than one.
What she was doing was helping pick out the Journal’s entries for the annual newspaper awards competition. Five or six of the Journal’s team were doing the same thing – it’s a big job to identify candidates for the twenty-five categories of newspaper excellence from a year’s worth of newspapers.  
What struck me, looking across our living room, was the impressive spread of front-pages. The Journal’s editions last year touched so many themes and news items, accomplishments and celebrations, plus a few disasters, anyone who feels nothing much happens out here in the rural areas – well, they must not have been out here in the rural zone for the past year!
The professionalism and quality of the Journal’s work is exceptional, which is what the media association’s choices for each category tell us. This newspaper, without the big pockets of the corporate media, has made its mark – and has maybe taught the corporates a lessons or two. The Journal’s production team, from both editors and journalists to designers and layout people, its manager, classifieds manager and sales team, distribution people . . . however we identify this team, many will be off to the Montreal awards gala in early June to collect some serious peer-granted praise and appreciation. They deserve it.
Just look . . . the Journal, for the first time in its near-thirty year history, is one of three contenders for Best Newspaper of the Year in Quebec. Imagine, Pontiac’s “little paper” is one of three best newspapers in the province! The Journal is competing with Montreal’s The Suburban, and Wakefield’s Low Down for this honour.
Of the nine “Best overall” categories, the Journal is in the running for four.  Only the Suburban and the Mohawk Eastern Door did better, they’re each up for five.
 Among writers’ awards, given to individual journalists, the Journal has the rare honour of being up for Best Editorial in both general and local issue categories – a rare feat that editor Allyson Beauregard should be proud of.  Not to be out-done, French editor Arnaud de la Salle is in the running for Best French-language editorial. Pontiac readers can feel confident they are being informed and well-served by their Journal. Jess Clouthier, the Journal’s graphics master, is up for Best Editorial Cartoon, and with Bonnie Zimmerling for Best Photo Essay. Manager Lynne Lavery played a key role in all these accomplishments.
The Journal’s sister newspapers, Bulletin d’Aylmer and the West Quebec Post, are also traditionally strong – making it a fact that West Quebec readers do have a strong and professional media serving them.
When I look back at the Pontiac Journal of so many years ago, at its first black & white edition in 1987, growing issue after issue, covering so many news items from our huge territory, then in only eight or twelve pages, I have nothing but pride for what the Journal team has built over these years. I have also a profound appreciation to our Pontiac business and municipal communities – and our readership – for giving us their attention and their use. Wow!