View Full Version : Northernlife.ca earns best website honours

05-02-2012, 07:05 AM
By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff
If winning one award is sweet, winning two is even sweeter.

But for the staff at Northern Life, learning that our website, Northernlife.ca, earned awards from both the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) and the Canadian Community Newspapers Association (CCNA), validates that we are providing our readers and advertisers with absolutely the best source of community news around.

Northern Life learned on April 26 that the website had won the 2012 Best Website (Circulation 12,500 and over category) from the CCNA, a high honour for us. Then, on April 27, the newspaper was surprised to learn the 2011 Premier Award for Best Community Website/Webportal from the OCNA also went to Northern Life.

Northernlife.ca is the culmination of work by the editorial team, which provides the content for the site, and the website team, which creates the digital environment for that content. With the direction of Publisher Abbas Homayed, the web and editorial teams work in tandem to provide a site that is responsive, functional, informative and easy-to-use.

“We are delighted,” Homayed said, “to have won national and provincial honours for the excellent job our editorial and web teams are doing to make us the leading source of community news in Greater Sudbury, and delivering that information via a top-notch website.”

Much work has been done in the past four or five years to heighten the online reading experience by making the site faster, engaging new technology and ensuring easier navigation. In 2012, the website was launched with a newer, fresher look that further improved the reader experience.

This was not lost on the judges of both the OCNA and CCNA competitions.

The OCNA called Northernlife.ca “the perfect hybrid of a modern and traditional newspaper.”

“The design is simple and clearcut with a noteworthy rethinking of their navigation bar,” OCNA judges noted. “Editorially, content is very local and frequently updated on all of the various navigation bars, (and) their use of video to tell the story is notable in terms of quality and content.”

The newspaper's commitment to local content and local people was noted by judges in both competitions, as was the extensive photogallery selections, and enthusiastic use of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, to engage and include readers in NorthernLife.ca's coverage.

The recent launch of a tablet app for the website was also highlighted. Last month, Northern Life became one of, if not the first community paper in Ontario to launch a web app for tablet computers, allowing readers to enjoy all the great features of the website from their home screen.

The application works on Apple’s iPad as well as tablets running the Android operating system, meaning the convenient application is available to virtually any tablet owner. And, because it is a web app, there is no need to visit any app store to access it.

“Overall, the Northern Life website ticked all the boxes necessary to be a great online presence within the community,” noted CCNA judge John Magill.

Being selected as the best in Ontario is a nice tip-of-hat from NorthernLife.ca's home province, but earning the same honour on the national front certainly puts the icing on the cake.

“To be the best in Canada in our category is truly an honour, and is indicative of the dedication and commitment our company has to produce quality community information, in a user-friendly Internet environment,” Homayed said.

Northernlife.ca's design earned a nod from the CCNA back in 2008 as well when it captured first place in the Better Newspaper Competition's website design category.