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True Star performer reveals the secret of success

It may seem to the outside world to be a small evening paper that covers the news in sleepy Suffolk.

But the Ipswich-based Evening Star is wowing the people that count – its peers in the newspaper industry.

It was named South East and Eastern Daily Newspaper of the Year in the annual BT Regional Media Awards, and it has just scooped Evening Newspaper of the Year in the Regional Newspaper Awards.

The latest is a national award – a top prize. The judges’ citation for the latter read: “The Evening Star was a clear winner in the voting and praised for its great news values and brilliant presentation.

“Its ‘superhuman effort’ in getting out an edition immediately after the attacks on the World Trade Centre was singled out. It is brimming with confidence, full of passion and doing a great job for its community.”

And to look at it the paper is funky, it is jazzy – yet it also cares passionately for the causes of its readers.

In the BT Media Awards, the Star has been shortlisted for regional newspaper of the year in every one of the seven years it has been running.

Editor Nigel Pickover said: “In recent years we have taken more industry honours than any other regional title.

“For our staff of writers, photographers, designers, printers colleagues in pre-press, advertising and distribution it is great that they and Ipswich are yet again on the national map – in the Premier League of newspapers across the country.

“This gives us the continued power, passion and enthusiasm to go on fighting for our community – when so many groups and individuals are just busy looking after themselves.

“And yet we are in the pockets of no one. We have even launched campaigns against key advertisers, and that is a fine line to tread.

“I take comments and criticism on board but cannot be told what to do. I know there are editors in this country whose hands are tied – but we have none of that here.”

He said the paper was incredibly in tune with its readers, their wants and their needs.

Nigel said: “We know this because they tell us. They tell us in letters, e-mails and by getting in touch directly with us. And we also know because of the kind of stories they bring us.

“But personally, my big reward from what we do is keeping a hospital open, of saving an ambulance service. If you can do your best and leave your mark, in the end it doesn’t just come down to pounds, shillings and pence.”

His ‘Who Cares Wins’ motto has become a battle cry in recent days, as he reminds both his staff and readers what is required to keep the Star at the forefront both for the people who read it every day – and those from further afield who judge it alongside the “big boys” of the industry.

To win its latest accolade, the Star beat shortlisted publications the Belfast Telegraph, the Manchester Evening News, The Argus, Brighton, the Bristol Evening Post and Lincolnshire Echo.

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