A former regional daily editor who stepped down from his job last summer has been given a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to journalism in his region.
Paul Robertson, who edited Newcastle’s Evening Chronicle until last July, received the top prize at Saturday’s Tom Cordner North-East Press Awards.
The citation for the award read: “The award for 2011 salutes a journalist whose working life covers three decades in the North East newspaper industry.”
Ashington-born Paul started out on the Morpeth Herald and went on to edit two daily titles in the region, the Teesside Evening Gazette from 200-2002 and then the Chronicle from 2002 -2011.
Other big prizes at Saturday’s ceremony held at Sunderland’s National Glass Centre went to Joe Willis of the Northern Echo who won the North-East journalist of the year award.
However Joe was unable to be present in person to collect his award as he was stranded at his home in Wensleydale due to the weather.
The judges praised Joe’s work in leading the Echo’s campaign to secure train-building jobs for the region.
“His total portfolio shows mastery of first-rate versatile journalism, including excellent contacts, clear and clean handling of information, explanation, quotes, colour and all the other ingredients of a compelling read,” said the citation.
The awards were being held for the 30th time and the ceremony was attended by 14 members of the family of Tom Cordner, whose early death at 38 moved colleagues to set up the event in his memory.
The full list of winners was as follows:
North East Journalist of the Year (Sponsor – University of Sunderland): Joe Willis, Northern Echo
North East Weekly Journalist of the Year (Sponsor – CES Group): Tegan Chapman, News Guardian/News Post Leader
Jim Merrington Prize for North East Photographer of the Year (Sponsor – Cordner Awards with Jim and Jean Merrington): Tom Collins, Hartlepool Mail
Ian Weir Memorial Award for Picture of the Year (Sponsor – Northern Echo): Tom Collins, Hartlepool Mail
Maurice Brady Award for Hard News (Sponsor – Nexus): Andy Hughes, ncjMedia
Steve Jones Prize for Community Journalism, for top North East campaign coverage (Sponsor- Colmans of South Shields): Chris Lloyd, Joe Willis & Northern Echo team.
Mike Gilligan Prize for North East Magazine of the Year (Sponsor – Chartered Institute of Public Relations – North East): Luxe (editor Kathryn Armstrong)
Online Video News Award: Richard Fletcher, journallive & chroniclelive
Fred Hurrell Prize for feature writing (Sponsor – Verum Victum): Emma Andrews, Hexham Courant
Splash Subbing Award & Tony Dumphy Trophy (Sponsor – Evening Gazette): Alan Formby-Jackson, Evening Gazette
ABC Spike for Page Design (Sponsor – Cordner Awards): Myles Hodnett, Hexham Courant/Tynedale Life
Business Award for best coverage of North East business matters (Sponsor- Cordner Awards): Owen McAteer, Northern Echo
Durhams Sporting Plate for best portfolio of North East sports reporting (Sponsor- Cordner Awards): John Gibson, Evening Chronicle
North East Health Prize for best portfolio of NE reporting on health & well-being (Sponsor – Northumbrian Water): Lindsay Bruce, Evening Gazette
Phillip Hickey Trophy for North East Columnist / Blogger of the Year (Sponsor – Northeast Press Ltd): Anthony Vickers, gazettelive.co.uk
Eric Dobson Scroll for top NCE Exam marks by a North East trainee (Sponsor – Robson Brown): Paul Clifford, Shields Gazette
The Tom Cordner Quill for Trainee of the Year: Tom White, Sunday Sun / Sunderland Echo
Graeme Stanton Trophy for lifetime contribution to NE journalism (Sponsors – Society of Editors North and ncjMedia): Paul Robertson