The Evening Post walked away with the coveted title of ‘Newspaper of the Year’ and The Sentinel’s star reporter, Laura Naylor, fought competition from the Sunday Mercury and the Birmingham Post to win ‘Scoop of the Year’ and ‘News Reporter of the Year (Daily)’.
John Lamb, chairman of the Birmingham Press Club, which organised the event, said: “The Midlands has a rich pool of journalistic talent and this year’s entrants were all of a very high calibre.
“The Nottingham Evening Post’s victory as ‘Newspaper of the Year’ was well deserved. It is consistent in its quality content and presentation and should be commended for its campaigning efforts and strong links with the community.”
The chairman of judges and Daily Telegraph assistant editor, Andrew Pierce, praised Sentinel journalist Laura’s work.
He said that her stories, which included the exclusive ‘Smoke on Trent’ exposing a council blunder that meant the smoking ban could not be enforced in Stoke, were ‘head and shoulders above the others’ in the category.
He said: “Her front page lead was followed up by the nationals as well as media overseas, appearing on the front page of The Mirror and in newspapers around the world.”
The judges were so impressed with ‘Smoke on Trent’ that they awarded it ‘Scoop of the Year’ even though Ms Naylor had not entered that category.
Sentinel photographers also had a good night as Wesley Webster won ‘Regional Photographer of the Year’ and Cara Edgington won the prestigious ‘Trevor Roberts Award’, which is presented to the best photographic newcomer.
Jim Tomlinson, of the Hinckley Times, took the award for ‘Sports Photographer of the Year’ and Matt Barron of the Coventry Times picked up the award for ‘Weekly Photographer of the Year’.
The Coventry Times triumphed in several other categories, including ‘News Reporter of the Year (Weekly)’, which went to Les Reid, and ‘Headline of the Year’, which went to Steve Adams for ‘Battered and boozed’, a front-page story about drunken violence amongst women in Coventry.
The Coventry Telegraph’s Cara Simpson secured the award for ‘Newcomer of the Year’.
Other winners were Adam Wakelin of the Leicester Mercury, ‘Feature Writer of the Year’, Stevie Roden of the Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Sports Journalist of the Year’, and Jon Griffin of the Birmingham Mail, ‘Business Journalist of the Year’.
Midlands Business Insider scooped ‘Magazine of the Year’ thanks to its cleverly designed front cover, excellent use of photographs and relevant business content.
The two new broadcast categories were evenly split between ITV and the BBC, with ITV Central’s Keith Wilkinson taking the award for ‘Television Journalist of the Year’ and BBC Hereford & Worcester’s Howard Belgard winning ‘Radio Journalist of the Year’.