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Trio of journalism awards for Echo reporter

An investigative reporter has picked up his third award of the year for his exposé of a travellers’ community in Essex.

Jon Austin, from The Echo in Basildon, was crowned journalist of the year at Newsquest’s company-wide awards scheme.

This latest accolade comes after picking up best exclusive at the Creative East Awards 2008 and daily reporter of the year ay the EDF Energy East of England Media Awards.

The award for Newspaper of the Year went to the Northern Echo.

The judges’ citation read: “The Northern Echo stood head and shoulders above the other entries as a consistent, assertive and imaginative newspaper.

“Great stories, good clean design and strong use of pictures, and plenty of web promotion. Good looking commercial platforms and easy to navigate – all through, a paper to be proud of.”

Editor Paul Barron said: “Last year was a historic year for The Northern Echo because of the transition to compact format.

“This national award is testament to all the hard work that went into making that a success.”

Meanwhile, Jon Austin’s portfolio included the story Travellers: The Truth which exposed links between travellers fighting to stay at an illegally-built site at Crays Hill near Basildon – on the grounds that they would otherwise be homeless – and properties elsewhere in the country and in Ireland.

On Thursday he will discover if he can make it a quartet of prizes at the prestigious Newspaper Society’s Circulation, Editorial and Promotion Awards.

Jon said: “It has been a real honour to be recognised at all these events, especially against such tough opponents.

“A lot of work went into the Travellers: The Truth articles, which was singled out by most of the judges, not just on my part, but by news editors and subs, so it is great for the Echo as well.”

Among the other Newsquest winners were The Northern Echo which took best daily newspaper and the Worcester News which won front page and trainee reporter of the year.

The ceremony, at Heathrow Airport, was hosted by Boris Johnson MP and was open to all 17 daily and 300 weekly Newsquest titles.

The full list of winners is:

Daily Newspaper of the Year
Winner – The Northern Echo
Highly Commended – The Argus, Brighton
Commended – Evening Times, Glasgow

Front Page of the Year
Winner – Worcester News
Highly Commended – Daily Echo, Bournemouth
Commended – South Wales Argus

Sports Journalist of the Year
Winner – Andy Cryer, Swindon Advertiser
Highly Commended – Andy Neild, Lancashire Telegraph
Commended – Scott Wilson, The Northern Echo

Website of the Year
Winner – South Wales Argus
Highly Commended – Southern Daily Echo
Commended – Lancashire Telegraph

Journalist of the Year
Winner – Jon Austin, The Echo
Highly Commended – David Watkinson, Lancashire Telegraph
Commended – Gavin Aitchison, The Press, York

Photographer of the Year
Winner – Clive Lawrence, Lancashire Telegraph
Highly Commended – Marc Turner, Evening Times, Glasgow
Commended – Dave Evans, Swindon Advertiser

Trainee Reporter of the Year
Winner – David Paine, Worcester News
Highly Commended – Claire Fry, Worcester News
Commended – Samrana Hussain, Lancashire Telegraph

Weekly Newspaper of the Year
Winner – Westmorland Gazette
Highly Commended – Warrington Guardian
Commended – Wanstead and Woodford Guardian