Investigative reporter Jon Austin has been crowned the top daily newspaper journalist for the third consecutive year.
Jon, who regularly carries out undercover stings for Basildon-based title the Echo, took the prize at the EDF Energy East of England Media Awards, held in association with HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk.
The six-person panel of judges praised his reporting as “simply outstanding” and “the complete package.”
His entry portfolio included exposes of slave labour, a filthy kennels unfit for dogs and an illegally-run scrap yard.
Jon said: “It’s unbelievable to pick it up three times in a row and you could tell the competition was very strong and seems to get stronger every year.
“Hopefully, I’ll carry on doing the stings. I haven’t got enough money to retire just yet.”
Among the other winners was the Cambs Times which walked away with two awards – Maggie Gibson was crowned Weekly Print Journalist of the Year while the Archant title’s road safety campaign was crowned Community Campaign of the Year.
Ipswich daily the Evening Star took Daily Newspaper of the Year, due in large part to its impressive coverage of the Steve Wright prostitution murder trial.
The judges praised the Star’s strong news content and “power-packed journalism that gets the title known both locally and further afield.”
Star editor Nigel Pickover said: “If you keep close to your community and are loyal to them and fight hard for them and go the extra mile for them, you will win awards.”
Journalists from across the East of England region gathered yesterday at Dunston Hall Hotel, in Norwich, where the guest list represented the best of the media across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and parts of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
The awards winners in full are:
Print Journalist of the Year (Daily)
Jon Austin, the Echo, Basildon
Print Journalist of the Year (Weekly)
Maggie Gibson, Cambs Times
Newcomer of the Year – Joint Winners
Daily Newspaper of the Year
Evening Star, Ipswich
Weekly Newspaper of the Year (Paid-For)
Weekly Newspaper of the Year (Free)
Front Page of the Year
‘Heartbreak’, Lowestoft Journal
Website of the Year
Feature Writer of the Year
Alice Ryan, Cambridge News
Designer of the Year
Jon Elsey, Evening Star
Columnist of the Year
Stacia Briggs, Norwich Evening News
News Photographer of the Year
Martin Dalton, Yellow Advertiser
Sports Journalist of the Year
Chris Lakey, Eastern Daily Press
Business Journalist of the Year
Sam Williams, Norwich Evening News
Community Campaign of the Year
Cambs Times – Let’s Make a Safer Fenland
Environmental Journalist of the Year
Jon Welch, Eastern Daily Press
Television Journalist of the Year
Alex Dunlop, BBC Look East
Radio Journalist of the Year
Jon Wright, BBC Radio Suffolk
Radio News/Current Affairs Programme of the Year
Breakfast with Mark Murphy, BBC Radio Suffolk
Television News or Current Affairs Programme of the Year
BBC East – Inside Out