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News staff from around UK honoured at Midlands event

The very best of Newsquest’s talent from across the UK has been recognised at the company’s annual awards event.

The presentations took place at the company’s conference in Stratford-upon-Avon, where chairman Jim Brown handed the awards to the winners.

The conference is a two-day event where executives and editors have been involved in focus groups and hearing keynote speakers from within the industry.

The Daily Newspaper prize was won by the Telegraph and Argus, Bradford.

Category judge Nick Carter, of the Leicester Mercury, said: “Any editor in the country would have been happy if they could have matched the three consecutive days submitted by the Telegraph and Argus for this award following the Bradford race riots.

“Each made for compelling reading, strongly presented, clearly signposted and with excellent continuity between the days. No punches were pulled, but at the same time the coverage was constructive where possible.”

Also nominated were The Argus, Brighton, and The Evening Press, York.

The category for paid-for weekly over 64 pages was won by The Wiltshire Times, and the Darlington & Stockton Times scooped the same award for under 64 pages.

The shortlist in this category included the Falmouth Packet, Bridgwater Mercury, Chard and Ilminster News, Keighley News, South Wales Guardian, Witney and West Oxfordshire Gazette and the Bicester Advertiser.

All the newspapers gave their readers plenty of local news, though all were surprisingly light on staple items of information such as chemists’ rotas, lighting up times and useful numbers, according to the judges. There was also a wide variation in the quality and quantity of features and “no striking campaigns”.

  • Trainee winner
  • The Trainee Reporter prize was won by Sally Hall (right) of the The Argus, Brighton, for a “rare and enviable ability to move her audience” with the quality of her writing and ability to spot details that bring a story to life.

    The top Daily Reporter was named as Barry Nelson of the Northern Echo, who stood out because of the variety of the stories that he picked up as health correspondent. He found the issues, followed them up and brought them out, giving the impression he would go anywhere, talk to anyone and spend as much time as was needed to get the story.

    Other winners included:
    Free weekly over 64 pages: The Bromley & Hayes News Shopper. “an overall slick-looking package, modern and modular with room for the traditional weekly virtues of high story count, local opinion, district news and information, with a nice change of pace for the leisure section”.

    Free weekly under 64 pages: The Greenwich and Charlton News Shopper, “a thoroughbred local paper through and through, produced with bags of style and a dash of panache. Front pages are high on impact and the quality is maintained from first to last”.

    Weekly reporter: Barbara Jordan of the Runcorn/Widnes World, who showed a “strong and varied portfolio, assured in whichever style she chose”. She was praised for offering local journalism at its best, working with readers to hold public authorities to account and provide “riveting copy” along the way.

    Feature writer: Angela Wintle of The Argus, Brighton included only interviews with celebrities, but judges said they proved to be “a tour de force performance”.

    Sports writer: Andy Neild of the Lancashire Evening Telegraph – “A writer of exceptional quality. He has flair and humour and never resorts to the hackneyed phrases beloved of so many of his creed,” according to the judging panel.

    Weekly paper designer: Colin Palmer of the Bicester Advertiser had pages consistently well presented. Judges praised them as easy to navigate with layouts and typography well organised and pictures used well, even on heavily-added pages.

    Daily paper designer: Simon Ritchie of the Evening Press, York, who the judges said gave readers “excellent coverage and analysis of the attacks on the World Trade Center”.

    Weekly paper photographer: Phil Loach of the Stourbridge News, who presented a strong and varied portfolio, which was sharp and clear, according to the judges.

    Daily paper photographer: Andrew Garbutt of the Telegraph and Argus, Bradford, whose portfolio showed movement, imagination and a sense of humour in topics as diverse as a Royal visit, school sports day and a riot. Judges said he displayed a “real eye for the dramatic and illustrative”.

    Back to the awards index

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    E-mail pastill@nep.co.uk