The Belfast Telegraph’s David Gordon has been crowned Northern Ireland’s journalist of the year.
Judges for the annual awards, run by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, said his body of work showed what a nuisance he’d made of himself during 2008.
They added: “Representing trouble-making journalism at its best, his relentless digging in search of the truth is to be loudly applauded.
“His efforts during the year included a rare sample of every journalist’s ambition – an investigation that produced seismic political shocks in Northern Ireland.
“He got himself banned from an interview with Ian Paisley and that, surely, says it all.
“He is a determined professional whose undoubted skills deliver the goods day in, day out, helping to make his paper a ‘must read’ throughout the year.”
Around 400 journalists, PRs, politicians and business leaders gathered in Belfast to recognise the achievement’s of the nation’s journalists and broadcasters over the past 12 months.
The other local press winners, with judges comments, are:
Daily Newspaper of the Year
A focused newspaper that is full of self-belief and knows exactly what its readers want. It is distinguished by excellent writing and a fully committed and thoughtful choice of lead stories.
Sunday Newspaper of the Year
Brash, punchy and giving its readers exactly what they want, this Sunday paper is a tabloid dream. Unflinching and uncompromising, it is bright and busy with excellent content.
Weekly Newspaper of the Year
Bright and lively without forgetting what sells local papers, this is a weekly paper with a great editorial mix. It has good leads, well-written and well-chosen stories, great picture specials and comprehensive local sections. Trying new ways to engage readers – such as the Polish page – shows good thinking and creative ambition.
Print Newcomer of the Year
Lesley-Anne Henry, Belfast Telegraph
From a classy field Lesley-Anne Henry nosed ahead with a top class portfolio of human interest reporting from Afghanistan about Ireland’s own soldiers and clear evidence in other submissions that she will deliver the goods from wherever the news front line might be. Her interviewing was comprehensive and her filing prolific proving that everyone has a story to tell so long as the reporter is clever enough to find them.
Print Business Journalist of the Year
Gary Mcdonald, Irish News
His stories, often scoops, are written with insight and verve and are accessible to non-specialist readers. Sharp business reporting at its best, with facts, figures and context and no wasted words. His focus on Northern Ireland’s undersized private sector is particularly commendable.
Print Feature Journalist of the Year
Suzanne Breen, The Sunday Tribune
The winner shows great empathy and compassion in her interviews and the prize that that garners is to tease out some very telling human detail.
Supplement of the Year
Weekend (Belfast Telegraph)
Well-constructed, well-designed and full of confidence, Weekend can hold its own against the competition in the nationals. It is full of great ideas in its delivery and has proved its worth by lifting circulation and gaining in ad revenue, both of which are great achievements in the current market.
Daily News Journalist of the Year
David Gordon, Belfast Telegraph
David Gordon is an investigative reporter who probes complex stories and confronts authority. A spending controversy involving the police watchdog, an investigation into politicians’ expenses and a series of reports on the Paisleys which shed revealing light on the story.
Sunday News Journalist of the Year
Stephen Breen, Sunday Life
Whether it is a mother who has lost her son in a horrific accident, a woman victim of a gang rape, or a government minister who is unmasked as driving a motorcyle without tax or MOT, Breen tells his stories with maximum impact.
Newspaper Production Journalist of the Year
Francesca Crawford, Irish News
Francesca Crawford’s clean and sharp designs bring real impact to the pages of the Irish News supplements. Her distinctive style shows real appreciation of colour and contrast and her clever restraint allows proper projection of the images she uses.
Photographer of the Year
William Cherry, Press Eye Agency
A great portfolio that shows the photographer’s ability both to create a compelling image, but also to grab one when it appears in front of him. He is in control of every situation.
Print Sports Journalist of the Year
Paddy Heaney, Irish News
An excellent cross-section showed an outstanding ability to produce well-written features, thought-provoking columns and sharp, exclusive stories.
News Website of the Year
While the accent is on local news, with an interesting and varied selection of stories, it also covers the main UK and world news well. It is well presented with a clear and clean design and is easy to navigate. The website is well supported by local advertising with links to their sites.
Weekly Newspaper Journalist of the Year
Lisa Ramsden, Mourne Observer
Through the two themes of the floods and the tragic death of the police officers, she reported not only on the obvious drama of the actual incidents, but then followed up with a highly commendable, thorough and graphic series of reports exploring the different aspects which arose from these events. She did this in a non-partisan way while still managing to convey the obvious emotion which surrounded both subjects.