Sports coverage in focus

Courier journalist Josh Teakle, left, was judged to have written the best sports story for 2020 while sales manager Jon James and graphic designer Phil Austin helped produce regional SA’s best advertisement of the year for the Gawler Street Cafe.

The Courier’s extensive sports coverage was in the spotlight when the paper collected a swathe of accolades at the annual Country Press Awards.
Courier journalist Josh Teakle’s reporting on the decline in junior football participation in the Hills won first place in the Best Sports Story category at the awards on Friday night, while The Courier’s sport photographs claimed both first and second place in the Best Sports Photo category.
The paper – which has covered the news of the Hills since 1880 – also won Best Front Page and Best Advertisement.
Judge Ian Shuttleworth said Mr Teakle’s sports article, which highlighted a major drop in participation within the U13 to U18 competitions in the country division of the Hills Football League, was the work of a reporter who “clearly invested a great deal of time and energy”.
“It is well written and outlines the issue at hand, provides supporting statistics, reasons behind the fall, and well-chosen comments from appropriate spokespeople,” Mr Shuttleworth said.
The right formula
The Courier’s winning sports photo – Roy Liebich’s chance shot of a swallow getting in on the action at a Hills A-grade cricket contest – was described by judge Sean McGowan as a “classic great sports photo with good framing, stark focus, face and ball action”.
The paper’s award-winning front page was praised for its strong story, bold heading and deep etched photo, while judge Mark Clemow said the paper’s winning ad represented “the right formula for an enduring brand campaign, with stylish imagery, key information and clear layout”.
The Courier’s managing director, Norm Marston, said he was delighted with the results.
“There’s no doubt the Covid-19 pandemic has made life very tough for regional papers with many closing while the heaviest of the restrictions applied,” he said.
“Sadly, some have not reopened.
“I was adamant The Courier was going to continue publishing through that period as there was never a more important time for a paper to serve its community.”
Mr Marston said all the staff dug deep to produce quality papers at a time when many businesses had closed their doors and just about every community event was cancelled.
“They did an amazing job under the circumstances,” he said.
The Courier placed third in the best newspaper category behind the Murray Pioneer in Renmark and The Leader in Angaston.