The award-winning Blackpool Gazette has another trophy to add to its cabinet – scooping the North West Daily Newspaper of the Year Award for the second time in three years.
Editor Gerard Henderson picked up the BNFL Society of Editors trophy on behalf of his staff on his final day at Blackpool. He is heading for the north-east and the editorship of the Newcastle Journal.
The judges hailed the paper as “refreshingly upbeat and with excellent use of pictures and colour.”
Mr Henderson said: “The award is a marvellous tribute to the hard work, dedication and talent of the editorial team. They are delivering a newspaper that is second to none.”
Journalists from all over the north-west were at the JJB Sports Stadium in Wigan to hear the winners announced.
Mikaela Sitford, from the Manchester Evening News, was awarded the title News Reporter of the Year for her coverage of the Harold Shipman case. It is the fourth accolade Mikaela has won for the story she broke in August 1998.
The judges said of Mikaela’s work: “She handled the story of the decade in a comprehensive and compelling manner.”
Feature Writer of the Year, considered by the judges to be one of the toughest categories, was David Charters of the Liverpool Daily Post.
One Judge commented: “His introductions are like the opening words of a novel. I wanted to be swept along. This was not prose but poetry.”
Andrew Lambert of the Bolton Evening News was named Photographer of the Year. He previously won the award in 1997 and has this year beat off tough competition from around the region to win the title again.
For the second year running Sports Reporter of the Year is Amanda Little of the News & Star, Carlisle.
Amanda has been one of the most consistent entrants to the awards since they began nine years ago. The judges said: “Her depth of sports coverage provides an excellent service. She really makes people come alive.”
Young Journalist of the Year, was this year awarded to Paul Kennedy of the Liverpool Echo.
The judges considered his work on the baby organs scandal at Alder Hey Hospital to be particularly impressive. They said: “His work added an extra dimension to one of the major stories of the year.”
The annual North-West Newspaper Awards are organised by the north-west Society of Editors and are supported by BNFL.
BNFL head of media affairs Bill Anderton said: “The awards have become a very popular event in the region and this is once again reflected in the number of entries.
“Although there can only be one winner, all of the nominees are winners in their own right such is the standard of the work across the north-west.”
They cover daily and weekly newspapers throughout Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cumbria.
The judges this year were John Williams of the Huddersfield Examiner, Liz Page, editor of the York Evening Press, and Ed Asquith, senior editor of the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group.
The full list of winners and runners-up:
DAILY NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR
1. The Gazette, Blackpool
Runners-up: Liverpool Echo and Lancashire Evening Post
WEEKLY NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR
1. Westmorland Gazette
Runners-up: Manchester Metro News and Cumberland News
NEWS REPORTER OF THE YEAR
1. Mikaela Sitford, Manchester Evening News
Runners-up: Edward Swinden, Manchester Metro News and Paul Kennedy, Liverpool Echo
FEATURE WRITER OF THE YEAR
1. David Charters, Liverpool Daily Post
Runners-up: David Barnett, Lancashire Evening Post and Roger Lytollis, News & Star, Carlisle
PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
1. Andrew Lambert, Bolton Evening News
Runners-up: Mark Waugh, Manchester Evening News and Ian Robinson, Lancashire Evening Post
SPORTS REPORTER OF THE YEAR
1. Amanda Little, News & Star, Carlisle
Runners-up: Andrew Nield, Lancashire Evening Telegraph and John Buckley, Northwich Chronicle
YOUNG JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
1. Paul Kennedy, Liverpool Echo
Runners-up: Roger Lytollis, News & Star, Carlisle and Edward Swinden, Manchester Metro News
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