Athlone News reporter Hazel Allies-Husselman, far left, was among the five staff members of Cape Community Newspapers (CCN), which publishes Athlone News and its 14 sister titles, who were finalists in the 2018 Forum for Community Journalists annual Excellence Awards. About 130 journalists representing more than 80 local newspapers, in all nine provinces, entered this year. The judges said their general impression was that the local newspapers were still very much alive in South Africa and serving their communities well. In the hard news category, in which CCN had four finalists, the judges noted that they had received a strong selection of entries, with many strong, hard-hitting stories, most of which were about crime and service delivery problems. In the human interest category, in which CCN had one finalists and one honourable mention, the judge s noted that “local newspapers are synonymous with human interest stories” and that “there were truly outstanding entries in this section”. Pictured at the award ceremony held in Centurion over the weekend are hard news category finalists Hazel Allies-Husselman (Athlone News), Tamlynne Thompson (CapeTowner), Karen Watkins (Constantiaberg Bulletin) and Yolande du Preez (False Bay Echo); CCN editor Chantel Erfort and human interest category finalist Lauren O’Connor-May (ex-Northern News Kuils River/Brackenfell/Kraaifontein).