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What the judges said: EDF Energy South West Media Awards 2007

Here’s the full list of winners and runners-up from the EDF Energy South West Media Awards 2007, run in association with – complete with judges’ comments.

Daily Newspaper of the Year
Bristol Evening Post

Western Morning News
Swindon Advertiser
Western Daily Press

The judges said: “The Bristol Evening Post is a newspaper with great local content, strong design and clear links through to its website on every page.”

The judges felt that the story count was high and not a page was wasted.

“The comprehensive sports section was also of very high quality. It really does seem to be living up to its new slogan – ‘at the heart of all things local’. A significant sales increase seems to show that all the effort is definitely getting results.”

Overall, the judges praised the Evening Post for its strong front pages and quality throughout.

The Swindon Advertiser was praised for modernising in a way that builds on its great local coverage. The Daily Press “has a great mix of stories and no weak areas”. The Western Morning News “campaigns vigorously for its audience” and the judges were impressed with its clean, crisp design.

But they had no trouble choosing the Post as this year’s Daily Newspaper of the Year winner.

“Its news and sports coverage, succession of exclusives, easy-to-read style and embracing of the internet greatly impressed the judges and certainly seem to be working with its readers.”

Weekly Newspaper of the Year (Paid-for)
Wiltshire Gazette & Herald

Western Gazette
The West Briton
Newquay Guardian

The judges selected a newspaper that is “consistently up there, with page after page of hard news, in an excellent all-round read”, offering “great value for money, with masses of content and a nice and tidy design.
“It’s crammed with readers’ letters and has all the important information you would want from a weekly paper. There’s a fantastic in-depth sports section – page after page of it – with latest sports news, match reports, statistics and seven columnists from the worlds of football, cricket, speedway and ice hockey. It’s a paper with a big local campaigning agenda and comes across as a seriously grown-up newspaper that knows exactly what it’s doing.”

Front Page of the Year
Bristol Evening Post – V.I.Paedo

Swindon Advertiser – We’re wearing it pink
Express & Echo – A mother’s grief

“Some fantastic front pages but the judges felt that the front page with the biggest impact had everything – a brilliant image, headline and story, all eye-grabbing, and all well laid out for maximum impact.
The picture alone would make you buy the paper but, of course, there has to be a great headline and a great story too – and this one certainly has everything. The sub-editor has done well to separate the splash from the other elements on the page that could have distracted from it.”

Print Journalist of the Year (Daily)
Chris Allen Bristol Evening Post

Tristan Nichols The Herald, Plymouth
Liz Trist Express & Echo
Tom Morgan Western Daily Press

“Chris’s entries included two great exclusives – a report on a policeman sacked for dogging on duty and a story on a paedophile living in a police safe house – actually the chief constable’s own private flat. His were the kind of strong stories that you’d definitely be talking about in the pub. The judges felt that this reporter had come up with the most gripping stories that were guaranteed to boost sales.”

Print Journalist of the Year (Weekly)
Tom Bevan Western Gazette

Colin Gregory The West Briton

“Tom clearly worked hard and put in a lot of digging to source the stories in his entry. They included thorough investigation and exclusive interviews, with Tom managing to secure the trust of a family in a murder case, which reaped rewards in his coverage. A company at risk of closing down credited a story leading up to a crucial vote on its future as helping to save the jobs of nearly 250 staff.”

TV News/Current Affairs Programme of the Year
West Eye View (James Garrett) – Hey Big Spender

West Eye View (Nat Low) – Porky Pies

There was a wide variety of material submitted for this category – from ITV’s cleverly-crafted special report on the Future Game to the BBC’s Inside Out programme with its mix of interesting local stories; and from ITV’s West Eye View current affairs series to ITV West’s news programmes.
However, there were two programmes vying for top slot in this category – and they were both from the same stable … West Eye View.
“Hey Big Spender, submitted by head of features and current affairs James Garrett, in which the South West Regional Development Agency was asked to explain its waste of public money and its erroneous job creation statistics. During the programme, the RDA was forced to admit its failures, which led to the Department of Trade and Industry changing its procedures.”

Television Journalist of the Year
Jonathan Gibson ITV West Country

Rupert Evelyn ITV West
Marcus Wraight BBC Spotlight
Steve Brodie BBC Points West
Duncan Sleightholme ITV West Country
Matthew Hill BBC West

“The winner was described by the judges as packing a punch with his style of reporting and has no qualms about exposing wrongdoing. His stories have led to organisations changing their procedures as a result of his findings and where he led, other broadcasters and national newspapers followed suit.”

Community Campaign of the Year
Express & Echo, for its fight to save local sports pitches

Weston & Somerset Mercury, for Save our Barcode – a campaign to save a local youth club
ITV West Country, for The Big Clean Up
The Citizen, for Save the Hospitals

“The Echo’s Give Us Back Our Pitch campaign saw the paper react quickly to the scandal of the PFI firm running Exeter schools closing a community playing pitch to save money. The coverage was crisp, galvanised public opinion and made the point loud and clear about who was to blame – and included the editor and reporters staging a game of football in the company’s car park to protest and posting the footage online. Two weeks later the pitch was reopened.
This was a hotly-contested category with all the finalists approaching campaigns in a refreshing way and getting results. However, the winner was selected for the pace, humour and newsworthy stories that ran throughout the whole campaign, impressing all the judges.”

Newcomer of the Year
Kirsty Hemming ITV West

Paul Adcock Gloucestershire Echo
Jamie Grierson Gloucestershire Echo
Alice Klein Express & Echo

“Kirsty Hemming joined ITV West in June 2005 after completing an MA in television journalist at Falmouth. After working as a researcher on West Eye View, and then assistant producer on The West This Week, she moved into the newsroom at the end of last year. The judges found her work to be slick and sophisticated, including going undercover – if you were a baddie you wouldn’t want Kirsty Hemming investigating you.”

Feature Writer of the Year
Suzanne Savill Bristol Evening Post

Sarah Pitt Western Morning News
Jaine Blackman Swindon Advertiser
Graeme Demianyk Western Morning News

“Susanne stood out for her ability to get the reader quickly into a feature. She showed consistently high-quality writing and covered a wide range of subjects reflecting the diversity of Bristol – from an insightful piece on the city’s forgotten cathedral, to the ins and outs of American football by focusing on a local team.

The judges found picking a winner from the shortlist tough, with each finalist having at least one story worthy of a winning entry. In
the end, they went for a compelling writer, whose work always keeps you wanting to read on and on.”

Columnist of the Year
Chris Rundle Western Daily Press

Stephanie Tye Swindon Advertiser
Cris Warren Bristol Evening Post
Michelle Tompkins Swindon Advertiser

“Chris Rundle is the farming editor of the Western Daily Press. The judges felt that each of his stories were of interest to the general reader. When normally some might skim over a section of a paper like this, the strength of the subject matter and Chris’s combination of hard-hitting views and great sense of humour meant you would be missing out if you did.”

News Photographer of the Year
Richard Austin Western Morning News

Carlos Laprida Bristol Evening Post
Matthew Austin Express & Echo
Anna Lythgoe Gloucestershire Echo

“Richard Austin has been in the business 22 years, mostly as a freelance, before joining the Western Morning News early last year. His photos demonstrated a keen eye for a great image, and his animal shots – a sunbathing piglet and gorilla with attitude – showed a lovely sense of humour.

This was a particularly tough call to make but, after much debate, the judges picked a winner who showed quality across all his submitted work.”

Sports Journalist of the Year
Jed Pitman ITV West

Jeff Welch ITV West Country
Jon Lewis Mid Devon Gazette
Steve Cotton Western Daily Press

“Jed Pitman is a journalist who clearly loves and knows his subject. He has his own local soccer show, handles being in front of camera effortlessly and – crucially – knows what he is talking about and produces some great interviews and stories. His approach is fun and frank and incredibly dynamic. He was also praised for combining style with substance and having a wonderful way with words.”

Business Journalist of the Year
Neil Gallacher BBC South West

James Cowling Bristol Evening Post
John Fox-Clinch Western Daily Press
Gordon Richardson Express & Echo

The judges praised the winning journalist for producing business stories with a “strong news value and genuine human interest”.

Environmental Journalist of the Year
Brian Price Western Daily Press

Ben Norman Express & Echo
Susie Weldon Western Daily Press
James Davis Stroud News & Journal

“Brian focused solely on gardens for 12 weeks, taking the lead from readers who wrote in about their gardens in response to a wildlife survey run alongside the South West Wildlife Trust. The series covered a very popular subject but in very informative way.

He was praised by the judges for banging the environmental drum in a way that was different, with engaging articles on a subject that anyone – not just environmentalists or indeed gardeners – would enjoy.”

Website of the Year
Express & Echo

BBC Bristol

“Improvements and individuality brought in on the back of a user survey has seen a big growth in users for the Express & Echo’s The site is big on video news, with six daily video news headlines and breaking news as it happens. It’s full of local information and encourages interactivity through features like a new bulletin board, online voting and a section where the oddest questions can be posed in Just Ask.
It’s a site which was genuinely insightful and interactive and very easy to use.”

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