PUTTING the spotlight on major issues facing Cape York residents has landed this newspaper with a major award.
Cape York Weekly editor and publisher Matt Nicholls was last week announced as the winner of one of Queensland’s most significant reporting prizes, the Bean Lockyer Ticehurst Award for Excellence in Regional Journalism.
Mr Nicholls accepted the award at the Local Government Association of Queensland’s annual conference in Cairns.
It was his reporting on the poor telecommunications in the region and the lack of housing that put him in contention.
LGAQ president and Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson said Cape York was one of the most beautiful and ecologically rich parts of our state, but could be a challenging patch to cover from a media perspective.
He said Cape York Weekly was a critical voice for the region, its councils and communities.
“Nothing is so fundamental as housing – something Queensland councils and the LGAQ have been campaigning on for some time – and the Cape York Weekly has reinforced this in its coverage,” Cr Jamieson said.
“Telecommunications is one of the other critical issues in the Cape, which is too often overlooked when it comes to infrastructure and services needs that we can take for granted in urban areas of the state.
“Every edition shows the Cape York Weekly fights hard and consistently, but constructively, for its readers.
“That it is so well read within communities is further proof of the good work it does, week in and week out.”
Mr Nicholls said he was humbled to receive an award named after a group of top-shelf regional journalists.
“Since starting this paper, one of my priorities has been to shine a light on injustices happening in our backyard,” he said.
“It’s always nice to have that work recognised but our fight still continues for our communities.
“The telecommunications in places like Lockhart River and parts of the NPA is still poor, while overcrowding in most Cape York communities has no end in sight.
“Just because we are a long way from Brisbane and Canberra does not mean we are easily ignored.”
Mr Nicholls thanked the LGAQ for its backing of regional journalism in a tough era for the industry.