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Inverness Courier chief reporter wins Journalist of the Year gong

The Inverness Courier’s Val Sweeney has been named Journalist of the Year for the Highlands and Islands.

The chief reporter received the award from First Minister Jack McConnell at the Highlands and Islands Press Ball.

She also collected £500 from sponsors Diageo, £300 of which will be donated to a charity of her choice.

Gordon Fyfe, chairman of the judging panel, said Val’s outstanding portfolio of features and news reports had won her the top award.

He said: “Val is an experienced reporter, who thoroughly deserves her recognition for consistently high quality work in reporting and in more in-depth feature writing.

“In challenging subjects, such as cancer diagnosis and childhood sex abuse sufferers, Val showed an insight into the subject, demonstrating a sensitive touch.”

  • Val receives her award from Jack McConnell
  • The award was the only one announced on the night, with all other winners announced prior to the event.

    They included former North Star and East Ross Herald and Post editor Willie Morrison, who received the Barron Trophy for lifetime achievement in journalism.

    The Shetland Times was voted Newspaper of the Year and Moira Kerr from the Press and Journal was named Reporter of the Year and was the first recipient of the Jim Love Memorial Trophy.

    For more winners click here.

  • Moira Kerr, centre, receives the Jim Love Memorial Trophy from Jack McConnell, Jim’s widow Joan Love (left) and his brother David Love (right).
  • The Press Ball raised £2,600 for four charities, namely the Highland Wheelchair Dancing Club; Crocus Child Bereavement Service; Sunshine Holiday Fund and the Alzheimer Scotland..

    The Community Newspaper of the Year, the Ileach from Islay, donated £100 to the community-run McTaggart Leisure Centre in Bowmore, while the Shetland Times, winners of the Newspaper of the Year, donated its £500 prize money to the new Shetland mental health charity, Mind Your Head.