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South West Media Awards 2011: What the judges said

With more than 200 entries to sift through, the panel of  judges for this year’s EDF Energy South West Media Awards faced a tough task in choosing a winner for each of the 20 categories.

Here’s our round-up of what the judges said about the victorious entrants together with pictures of each of them receiving their awards.

The awards were presented by Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson, EDF Energy’s managing director of nuclear new build, and special sporting guest Heather Fell, who won a silver medal in the modern pentathlon at the Beijing Olympics.

All pictures are by Apex News and Pictures.


Newcomer of the Year – Debbie McCrory

“Her descriptive use of the English language for BBC Radio Cornwall really impressed. One judge predicted she has a great future in the broadcast industry.

“Taking on a new ‘on the road’ role at BBC Cornwall, real drama oozes from her reports from out and about in the community – and not only when she covers breaking news.”


Environmental Journalist of the Year – Martin Hesp

“The Western Morning News clearly allows Martin the space to get stuck into his subjects – the fight to maintain sea defences, the Abbotsbury swannery and multi-million pound plans to protect and revitalise the region’s peatland.

“His writing flows, capturing the essence of place effortlessly. He loves talking to ‘real characters’ and always makes sure that that the detail and viewpoints match up to the prose.”


Business Reporter of the Year – Michael Ribbeck

“Three newsy entries – three front page splashes, but all very different topics.

“Michael’s final entry provided fantastic copy under the headline “Bristol’s run by a bunch of idiots”, as the retiring chief executive of Bristol stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown – Peter Hargreaves, gave his ‘warts and all’ verdict on the city council.”


Sports Journalist of the Year – Tom Bradshaw

“An entertaining blow by blow account of a humbling home defeat to rivals Gloucester stood out, with neat cutting copy tearing into the home side.

“An extensive feature on Bath Rugby’s departing chief executive completes Tom’s entry. A lovely interview packed with thoughts and insight, a look back and a look ahead.   A writer who knows his stuff inside out.”


Radio Journalist of the Year – Robin Markwell

“Robin Markwell offers his BBC Radio Bristol listeners genuine human interest stories, well researched and well told. He also seems to have a real knack of finding stories.

“His final report lifted the lid on the councils charging residents over a thousand pounds to hold Royal Wedding street parties. The story was carried by many other local BBC radio stations and three months onthe Sun led with the story on its front page.”


Television Journalist of the Year – Matthew Hill

“A tip off about footage of a paralysed patient suffering brain damage after an untrained nurse switched off his home ventilator, led to an incredible investigative piece of work for BBC’s Inside Out programme.”

“The patient had set up a web cam – it made for shocking television, going national and international. Matt built up the piece, asked all the tough questions – incredibly powerful television.”


Radio news or current affairs programme – Laurence Reed’s lunchtime programme, BBC Radio Cornwall

“Grilling politicians is something that Laurence clearly relishes. He handles it really well and comes across as standing up for his audience, putting the questions they want the answers to.

“He’s clearly more informed on local issues than the politician – ‘outstanding’ said one judge.”


Television News and Current Affairs Programme of the year  – The Westcountry Tonight – Cornwall floods

“This programme had some amazing images, gripping reporting, excellent pieces to camera and on the spot interviews, with the team covering all the main towns affected.

“The whole programme focused on the drama, securing the highest audience share on ITV that evening. Spokespeople for the council and Environmental Agency were quizzed live and everything was pulled together despite the terrible conditions – a whole team effort, three live trucks and a great response to a breaking story.”


News Photographer of the Year – Stuart Harrison

“Stuart Harrison entered a great portfolio demonstrating range, consistency and great skills of observation.

“Bread and butter local news comes to life with quality shots like those of the abandoned puppies and the delightful image of a player in flight during a local football match.”


Designer of the Year – Joyce Matthews

“The judges liked her precise style, using colour in headlines to grab the eye and good use of images – sometimes bold, sometimes more subtle.

“A fashion spread on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival rightly gives precedence to the images, while her final submission – a ‘what’s coming up’ page during the World Cup, is eye-catching, easy to browse and with a nice added touch – football bunting.”


Feature Writer of the Year:  David Clensy and Janet King

“David Clensy can be serious or funny in his writing – often in the same article – but well combined. His work is sensitive and often a compelling read. The judges liked his balanced portfolio, and enjoyed his touch on the wide variety of issues he covers.”

“Janet King writes for the Western Morning News, taking a detailed look at West Country life through the people she talks too.  The judges loved her style. One described her as ‘an absolute wordsmith’. Her writing is elegant, quite deep at times, and all her submitted features were superbly crafted.”


Columnist of the Year – Chris Geiger

“Uses an entertaining and light-hearted style, to talk about his own experience of having cancer to raise awareness of the disease and other health issues.

“The judges were impressed with his candid writing, passion for what he does and the wonderful response from readers….a writer who combine serious and funny, and always conveys a great passion for his subject matter.”


Weekly Print Journalist of the Year – Thomas Cock

“The judges liked the in-depth piece he did after securing an exclusive interview with Yeovil MP David Laws, talking about his decision to admit he was gay after the Daily Telegraph revealed irregularities in his expenses.

“It was well handled, and made for a good local front page, with analysis and reaction spread over three pages inside.”


Daily Print Journalist of the Year – Daniel Evans

“Key contacts helped him secure three exclusives covering the murder of Joanna Yeates. The third – submitted as part of his entry – revealed the view of the police investigation team on possible links with a murder carried out 36 years ago.

“The judges were impressed with a reporter who gets out of the office to chase stories, has good people skills, is strong on interviews and delivers great copy.”


Website of the Year – Bristol 24/7. Award collected by editor Chris Brown

“Bristol 24-7 was launched less than two years ago and has built up its current traffic levels from a standing start since then.

“It contains an awesome range of content, much of it user-generated, bringing together a network of Bristol bloggers in the way that some mainstream regional press publications have tried to do.”


Community Campaign of the Year  – 100 new apprentices in 100 days, Bristol Evening Post. Award collected by editor Mike Norton.

“A hundred new apprentices in one hundred days’ was a bold attempt to change the lives of young people in the Bristol area by getting them into work through apprenticeships.

“Not a sexy campaign, not one that tugged at the heart-strings but it worked, offering real hope to young people in the city.”


Front Page of the Year – ‘Help us grow’ – Bristol Evening Post. Award collected by editor Mike Norton

“A brave and simple design, it combines a fantastic image, with the glow from the centre fading to the all-black background, coupled with a precise headline and willingness to drop everything else – adverts and all hints at inside stories and supplements.”

“In the words of one judge, the newspaper has “thrown everything at this to get one hell of a front page”.


Free Weekly Newspaper of the Year – Nailsea, Clevedon and Portishead Times. Award collected by news editor Samantha Pope

“The Nailsea, Clevedon and Portishead Times had that little bit more of everything – news, sport and reader interaction.

“It’s very much a community-minded newspaper, with articles ranging from hard-hitting court cases to emotional tributes, human interest tales to in-depth features. The last year has seen a successful re-design to give the paper a more up-to-date look and feel, and expanded entertainment and sport sections.”


Paid For Weekly Newspaper of the Year – Cornish Guardian. Award collected by editor Zena O’Rourke

“The Cornish Guardian has a huge story count, and loves its court cases, something seen less often in papers these days. This is a paper that appears to be giving local readers what they want, across all seven editions.

“The judges described this paper as top value for money, providing everything you need to know about that area, and with its news, features, community focus and sport, offering the complete package.”


Daily Newspaper of the Year – Bristol Evening Post. Award collected by editor Mike Norton

“All the judges agreed that this was a really strong paper that’s had a great year, with bullish front pages – hard news but still very local.

“It packs in an incredibly high news count, covers lots of court cases and has an impressive amount of readers’ views and faces.  Clearly this is a paper well connected and well rooted in the Bristol community.”

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