He was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by former Scottish Parliament presiding officer George Reid, left, after leading the title for 18 years until his retirement in January.
As one of the longest-serving editors of a regional daily, Derek led the title to have the third-highest circulation in the UK, while it has also raised around £10m for good causes, including some which has been donated to equip a new children’s hospital in Aberdeen.
He was recognised as part of the 32nd Scottish Press Awards, which were held on Thursday and honoured the work of journalists north of the border.
Also winning an award was Press & Journal journalist Donna MacAllister who was awarded Scoop of the Year for her story on the ambulance driver who refused to take a 999 call while on a tea break.
The Northern Scot’s campaign to save RAF Lossiemouth from closure earned it the Campaign of the Year title, while the Edinburgh Evening News secured the Journalist Team of the Year award for its work on the crisis at Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital.
Winning the Weekly Newspaper of the Year category was the Highland News, while The Northern Scot was the runner-up.
The full list of winners is:
Political Journalist of the Year - Eddie Barnes, The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday
Financial/Business Journalist of the Year – Ian McConnell, The Herald
Reporter of the Year – Mark Macaskill, The Sunday Times
Columnist of the Year – Melanie Reid, The Times
Magazine Writer of the Year – Peter Ross, Scotland on Sunday
Front Page of the Year – Scottish Daily Mail, Going Nowhere, for its reporting on the closure of the M8 during the snow.
Journalist Team of the Year – Edinburgh Evening News
Campaign of the Year – The Northern Scot
Scoop of the Year – Donna MacAllister, Press & Journal
Weekly Newspaper of the Year – Highland News
News Photographer of the Year – Jeff Mitchell, Getty Images
Sports Photographer of the Year – Robert Perry, Scotsman Publications
Young Journalist of the Year – Chris Watt, Herald and Times Group
Arts and Entertainment Journalist of the Year – Brian Beacom, The Herald
New Media Journalist of the Year – Beverley Lyons, Daily Record
Cartoonist of the Year – Brian Adcock, Scotland on Sunday
Newspaper Feature Writer of the Year – Jonathan Brockelbank, Scottish Daily Mail
Sports Feature Writer of the Year – Tom English, Scotland on Sunday
Sports News Writer of the Year – Mark Guidi, The Scottish Sun