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Echo's Michelle Fiddler leads the field at regional press awards

Liverpool Echo reporter Michelle Fiddler has been named the Merseyside Media Network Journalist of the Year.

More than 200 media representatives from newspapers, radio and television saw her receive the coveted award from comedian Ken Dodd at a gala dinner.

Michelle also claimed the Scoop of the Year title and shared the News Journalist of the Year prize with Echo colleague Luke Traynor.

Echo feature writer Paddy Shennan and photographers Stephen Shakeshaft and Martin Birchall claimed a ‘Barrel of Laughs’ award along with David Charters from the Daily Post.

And host Ken Dodd received a surprise award when he was presented with a special jade plaque for a ‘Lifetime of Laughs’ by the Network’s founder-secretary, Ken Bennett.

Earlier, Mark Foster, operations director of Centre Island, Liverpool’s largest hotel employer who sponsored the event, urged the media to continue to spread positive stories about Liverpool in the future.

He said: “The Culture Company, Liverpool Vision, TMP, the Arena and Convention Centre, Chamber of Commerce and City Council are all ensuring that the future prospects for all of us are good.

“We need to make sure that the message continues to get out both nationally and internationally to attract more visitors, whether they be conference delegates, leisure travellers or corporate clients.

“Sustainable inward investment is key, and as the city’s major hotel operator, we are obviously keen to see this continue past the exciting programme of events planned for 2008 and long into the future.”

Warren Bradley, Leader of the City Council, Mike Storey CBE and Jack Stopforth, chief executive of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, were among the guests and leading figures from the arts and theatre community.

The winners:

Merseyside Journalist of the Year:
Michelle Fiddler – Liverpool Echo

Student Journalist of the Year:
Gemma Jaleel – Ormskirk Advertiser

Newcomer of the Year:
Mark Johnson – Southport Visiter

News Journalist of the Year:
Michelle Fiddler and Luke Traynor – both Liverpool Echo

Features Journalist of the Year:
Radio City 96.7 Team

Sports Journalist of the Year:
Dominic King – Liverpool Echo

Broadcaster of the Year:
Andy Gill – BBC North West Tonight

Photo-Journalist of the Year:
Mark Sumner – Mercury Press Agency

Freelancer of the Year:
Jason Green – Mercury Press Agency

Business Journalist of the Year:
Neil Tague – North West Business Insider

Scoop of the Year:
Michelle Fiddler – Liverpool Echo

Designer of the Year:
Damien Wiehl – North West Business Insider

Barrel of Laughs:
Paddy Shennan, Martin Birchall, Stephen Shakeshaft – Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, David Charters, Daily Post