The Hull Daily Mail emerged as the big winners as the Regional Press Awards 2011 were handed out today.
The Northcliffe-owned daily scooped no fewer than five prizes including two for court reporter Nicky Harley.
Nicky was named Specialist Writer of the Year and also won Scoop of the Year, while there were also prizes for business and finance writer Catherine Lea and designer Ian Bond.
Editor Neil Hodgkinson’s team was also rewarded with the Special Supplement of the Year award for ‘The Blitz.’
Neil was happy to share the credit with his predecessor John Meehan, who was editor of the paper for the first half of the year under review.
“It’ a great result to win five but I think John can claim some of the credit as well,” he said afterwards.
But today’s most surprising winner was Elaine Morgan of the Western Mail who took the award for Columnist of the Year at the grand old age of 92.
The judges said: “Elaine’s is a genuinely unique voice. Her columns are beautifully crafted and laced with wit, self-knowledge and wisdom.”
In terms of the big groups, Northcliffe Media came away with nine awards, Trinity Mirror four and Johnston Press won three.
The Winners of the five remaining categories including Newspaper of the Year and Editor of the Year will be announced at 3.15pm
The awards took place at an Oscars-style lunchtime ceremony held at the Savoy Place in London to coincide with the Newspaper Society AGM and Local Newspaper Week 2012.
The event was made possible by the lead sponsorship of UK Power Networks with support from Asda, media lawyers Foot Anstey, the Press Association and HoldTheFrontPage.
The Society of Editors organised the awards for the second year running together with the Newspaper Society and the Journalists’ Charity on a not-for-profit basis.
Executive director of SoE Bob Satchwell said: “Congratulations to all of the winners so far, the awards have shown the enduring quality of British regional journalism in the face of relentless economic pressure.”
The list of winners so far is as follows:
Winner: Emily Koch – Bristol Evening Post
Highly Commended: Dominic Howell – Nottingham Post
Business & Finance
Winner: Catherine Lea – Hull Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Robin Johnson – Derby Telegraph, Jon Griffin – Birmingham Mail
Winner: Nicky Harley – Hull Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Paul Gallagher – Manchester Evening News, Jon Austin – Basildon Echo
Winner: Adam Wakelin – Leicester Mercury
Highly Commended: Lucy Adams – The Herald, Glasgow
Winner: Elaine Morgan – Western Mail
Highly Commended: Ian Midgley – Hull Daily Mail
Weekly Sports Journalist
Winner: Danny Hall – Sheffield Star’s, ‘Grassroots’
Highly Commended: Matthew Elder – Fife Free Press
Daily/Sunday Sports Journalist
Winner: John Gibson – Newcastle Evening Chronicle
Highly Commended: Steven Beacom – Belfast Telegraph, Simon Walter – Southern Daily Echo
Winner: Sean Hansford – Rochdale Observer
Highly Commended: Stephen Garnett – Craven Herald
Winner: Rowland Hobson – Peterborough Evening Telegraph
Highly Commended: Gary Longbottom – Yorkshire Post, Anthony Chappel-Ross – The Press, York
Winner: Gareth Davies – Croydon Advertiser
Highly Commended: Lui Straccia – Luton on Sunday
Daily/Sunday Reporter of the Year
Winner: John McGurk – Sunday Life
Highly Commended: Bimpe Archer – Irish News
Winner: Ian Bond – Hull Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Sean Collins – The Journal, Newcastle
The Digital Award
Winner: www.pinkun.com – Norwich Evening News
Highly Commended: Manchester Evening News
Supplement of the Year
Winner: Yorkshire Post Magazine
Highly Commended: Weekend – Belfast Telegraph
Special Supplement of the Year
Winner: The Blitz – Hull Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Welsh Warriors – Wales on Sunday
Winner: Is This How You Feel? – Western Mail
Highly Commended: The Night Fire Took The Lives of My Four Babies – Derby Telegraph
Winner: Nicky Harley – Hull Daily Mail
Highly Commended: Jon Austin – Basildon Echo
Winner: An Industry Betrayed – Derby Telegraph
Highly Commended: Missing From Home – Manchester Evening News