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Hat trick of awards for investigative reporter

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

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.

  • See winners’ gallery of photos here.
  • Click through to find out what the judges said.
  • View the full shortlist of entries.

  • 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

    Karen Davis, Yellow Advertiser; Chris Havergal, Cambridge News

    Daily Newspaper of the Year

    Evening Star, Ipswich

    Weekly Newspaper of the Year (Paid-For)

    Essex Chronicle

    Weekly Newspaper of the Year (Free)

    Bedfordshire on Sunday

    Front Page of the Year

    ‘Heartbreak’, Lowestoft Journal

    Website of the Year

    Pink ‘Un

    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