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Triple crown for Kent weekly

The Medway Messenger took home a hat trick of gongs at the Kent Journalist of the Year Awards.

The title’s Alan Watkins was crowned Kent Journalist and Best Newspaper Journalist of the Year while the Medway Messenger took home Best News Service, earning particular praise for its coverage of last summer’s Climate Camp protest at Kingsnorth Power Station.

Alan was described by judges as “a born journalist who has the talent and passion for holding those in power to account, a shining example for young journalists and a great ambassador for the profession”.

Among the other winners at the annual ceremony was the Sevenoaks Chronicle which won Campaign of the Year Award for its battle to save the Stag Theatre, in Sevenoaks.

Dennis Fowle, who at 74 has been a respected member of the Kent media since he joined the Kent Messenger at 17, received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year’s awards attracted nearly 120 entries and were judged by a panel comprising former BBC Radio Kent broadcaster Barbara Sturgeon, NCTJ chairman Kim Fletcher, professor of journalism at the University of Kent Tim Luckhurst and Justin Allen, from the sports desk of The Sun and the News of the World.

The awards ceremony was held at the brewery visitor centre of sponsors Shepherd Neame in Faversham.

Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “We have been sponsoring these awards for more than 20 years and we’re proud to be able to reward the achievements of Kent’s best journalists and the valuable news service they provide the county.

“It has been a tough time for media groups but we’re very encouraged by the dedication and quality of the entries we received.”

The full list of winners is:

Kent Journalist of the Year
Alan Watkins, Medway Messenger

Best Newspaper Journalist of the Year
Alan Watkins, Medway Messenger

Kent Young Journalist of the Year
Winner: Joe Walker, Herne Bay Times
Highly Commended: Katie Alston, Kent Messenger

Kent Broadcast Journalist of the Year
Winner: Aurelia Allen, KMFM
Highly Commended: Paul Fitzgerald, ITV Meridian

Kent Feature Journalist of the Year
Derek Johnson, ITV Meridian

Kent Sports Journalist of the Year
Winner: Will Barkway, ITV Meridian
Highly Commended: Juliette Parkin, BBC South East Today, Matthew Cole, BBC Radio Kent

Campaign of the Year
The Sevenoaks Chronicle

News Service of the Year
Medway Messenger

  • The winners from the Kent Journalist of the Year Awards