The Yorkshire Post has been named Daily Newspaper of the Year by Regional Independent Newspapers for its sparkling editorial content.
The Yorkshire Evening Post, also owned by RIM, came a close second.
Both awards were announced at the company’s annual newspaper sales and editorial conference.
The judges debated long and hard over which of the two Leeds titles should win.
They said: “Both had a great year, providing journalism of the highest quality on the big stories – September 11, Bowyer/Woodgate, Selby, Bradford.
“The Yorkshire Post shaded it on two, and was the better on the Bradford riots and September 11. It was the most improved paper, its design more confident, its coverage showing more conviction. It provided added value through The Guide. It was a worthy, if narrow winner.”
The Editorial Weekly Newspaper of The Year was the Lancaster Guardian.
The judges said: “This had appealing front pages, exclusives of relevance to the target audience, plenty to read, and a real sense of community.” Highly commended in this category was the Wigan Observer.
The Lancaster Guardian scored another success when reporter Bryan Carter was named Reporter of The Year.
The citation said: “Judges were looking for story-getting (exclusivity) in depth reporting (digging), quality of writing and relevance to title and audience.
“Bryan Carter is an editor’s dream, a reporter who gets stories of relevance to his readers, stands them up, and puts them across. His range of contacts is impressive, and so is his range of subject matters.” Andrew Vine of the Yorkshire Post was highly commended.
Sports Journalist of the Year was Phil Rostron of the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Judges said they were impressed by tough interviews, which were well executed and written and brought out the human side of sport.
The Photographer of The Year was Mark Bickerdyke of the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Judges said his snatch shot of Jonathan Woodgate was “the picture to die for – it said everything”.
Rob Waugh of the Yorkshire Post penned the Exclusive of The Year, about a 12-year-old whose pregnancy resulted in five men being DNA tested to see who the father was – with the result that none of them matched.
Judges said: “A real exclusive, the product of painstaking contact – building and interviewing, this story became a cause celebre followed up by all the nationals, and provoking wide debate and concern.”
Michael Upton, of Ackrill, won Trainee Journalist of The Year with Laura Smith Spark and Joanne Haywood, both from the Dewsbury centre, being highly commended.
Feature Writer of The Year was Jo Davison, of the Sheffield Star, who impressed judges looking for features which ‘sell’ papers through subject matter, writing, human interest and provocative content.
They said: “The winner showed an interviewing skill that made the subject reveal much, a writing talent that made every feature thoroughly readable, and a variety of topics that always entertained.”
The Chairman’s Trophy for Centre of The Year went to the Lancashire Evening Post Ltd (Preston).
Daily Newsapper of the Year for Best Sales Growth was the Lancashire Evening Post with a 99.7 year-on-year increase, while the Fleetwood Weekly News scooped the same prize for weeklies, boasting a 109.8 per cent year-on-year increase.
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