"EXCELLENT community initiative that clearly engages secondary school age readers into the paper and how it works. Well done."
That's what judges for the Pacific Areas Newspaper Publishers Association Awards (PANPA) had to say about The Fiji Times Kaila! "Design Your Own Newspaper" on Thursday night in Sydney, Australia.
The "Design Your Own Newspaper" scooped the Young Readers award at the PANPA Awards 2012 in the 25,000 to 90,000 circulation category.
Fiji Times Ltd general manager Hank Arts said winning the award was the icing on the cake and a credit to this newspaper's marketing and Kaila! team.
Other finalists in the category were the Otago Daily Times and Gold Coast Bulletin.
The Fiji Times was also in the finals of the Sunday Newspaper category, up against Herald on Sunday, The Sunday Age, Sunday Mail (South Australia), Sunday Mail (Queensland), The Sunday Times (Western Australia), Sunday Herald Sun and the Sun-Herald.
In the Cause Related Marketing category, The Fiji Times three entries in the finals were up against those from Geelong Advertiser, The Press, New Zealand and Hornby Advocate (NewsLocal).
The Fiji Times was also a finalist of the Marketing - Audience and Circulation category against the likes of Gold Coast Bulletin, The Press of New Zealand and The Dominion Post.
The Fiji Times Kaila Star Search and Fiji Fashion Week were also in the finals of the Sponsorship category with The Press New Zealand and the Otago Daily Times.
In the Daily Newspaper category, this newspaper was in the finals against the Canberra Times, The Examiner, The Dominion Post, Otago Daily Times, The Herald, Geelong Advertiser, Gold Coast Bulletin, The Press (Christchurch), Townsville Bulletin and The Australian Financial Review.
About 1050 entries were received, making it PANPA's largest-ever competition.
The Hegarty Prize, which recognises management potential in newspaper executives aged under 35, went to Matt Cunningham, editor of the NT News.
Participants at the 2012 PANPA Future Forum, which ended yesterday, and the Newspaper of the Year Awards commended this newspaper's initiative in encouraging students from various schools to design their own newspaper.
Meanwhile, Mr Arts yesterday described the two-day forum as an inspirational one and an eye-opener on what it takes to be a journalist.
"The 'end of the beginning' of the digital world has provided me with the energy and passion to go forward into this new era and ensure we adopt the inevitable, go forward and be part of the future," he said.
"I have a realisation to accept some failures as we go into these massive changes but close these quickly and move on.
"The high-powered speakers provided a multitude of innovative insights and ideas to focus on making our readers central to everything we do, to look for interactivity and communication with our readers, and above all to value the integrity of journalism of The Fiji Times."
Mr Arts said people were the most important asset in any business.
"I have learned during this conference that this is even more so in the newspaper business.
"Talent, focus and enthusiasm will be the key in the survival of our medium," said Mr Arts.