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Warrington weekly beats big boys to newspaper of the year crown

The cream of the press and media industry in Cheshire and Merseyside gathered for the first O2 Media Awards last night.

Among the big winners was the weekly Warrington Guardian which pipped regional dailies the Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Daily Post to the newspaper of the year crown.

Judges said the Guardian was a “superb newspaper that delivered an unbeatable mix of news and sport coupled with hard-hitting campaigns on behalf of their readers and their community.”

Judge Paul Horrocks, editor of the Manchester Evening News, said: “The Guardian had a great mixture of stories, with great layout and great pictures.

“The editorial team didn’t settle for just reporting the news, they created the next instalment and put themselves at the heart of everything that happened in their community.”

Scoop of the year went to the Liverpool Daily Post for its coverage of the city’s Mathew Street Festival fiasco.

Judges said the Post displayed “tenacious reporting skills to break the story but also an untiring determination to get to the truth. As a result the impact of their investigations is still causing reverberations today”.

Mary Murtagh, reporter with the Liverpool Daily Post’s sister title the Liverpool Echo, was crowned news reporter of the year. Her colleagues Ben Turner and Ben Rossington were both highly commended in the same category.

The panel said: “Mary is a terrier-like reporter when fronting-up rogue tradesmen but sensitive enough to land great human interest stories.”

The judging panel also included Bolton News editor Ian Savage and Richard Catlow, editorial director of Greater Manchester Weekly Newspapers.

Awards for broadcast and online journalism were also handed out at the ceremony at O2’s headquarters in Cheshire.

The full list of award winners and highly commended is:

Newspaper of the Year
Winner – Warrington Guardian
Highly Commended – Wirral News, Liverpool Daily Post, Chester Chronicle, Widnes Weekly News and Liverpool Echo.

Young Journalist of the Year
Joint Winners – David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post, and Natasha Robson, Southport Champion
Highly Commended – Marc Waddington, Crewe Chronicle, and Gemma Jaleel, Ormskirk Advertiser

News Reporter of the Year
Winner – Mary Murtagh, Liverpool Echo
Highly Commended – Ben Turner and Ben Rossington, both Liverpool Echo

Scoop of the Year
Winner – Liverpool Daily Post
Highly Commended – Liverpool Echo and Granada Reports

Photographer of the Year
Winner – Colin Lane, Liverpool Daily Post and Echo
Highly Commended – Mike Boden, Warrington Guardian, and Jason Roberts, Liverpool Daily Post and Echo

Feature Writer of the Year
Winner – Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
Highly Commended – Laura Davies, Liverpool Daily Post, and Peter Grant, Liverpool Echo

Sports Journalist of the Year
Winner – Steve Hothersall, Radio City
Highly Commended – Mike Hall, Granada Reports, and Phil Gittins, Silk FM

Digital Journalist of the Year
Winner – Tony Clixby, Chester Chronicle
Highly Commended – Rebecca Edwards, Chester Chronicle and David Chana, Warrington Guardian

Editorial Team of the Year
Winner – Granada Reports
Highly Commended – Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian

TV Broadcast Journalist of the Year
Winner – Tessa Chapman, Granada Reports
Highly Commended – Andy Gill, BBC North West Tonight

Radio Broadcaster of the Year
Winner – Radio City
Highly Commended – Rebecca Wood, Silk FM, and Sarah Poole, Wire FM