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Reporter is first in local press to take award

A senior reporter on an East London title is the first local newspaper journalist to win an award previously only won by national media figures.

Mike Brooke, a reporter at The Docklands & East London Advertiser, has scooped London Citizen UK’s Journalist of the Year award.

In its six-year history the award has previously gone to national reporters such as BBC Newsnight’s Paul Mason, The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee and The Independent’s Amol Rajan.

Mike, who has worked for local titles in East London for 40 years, beat off competition from Heather Stewart from The Guardian and The Observer and Chinese journalist Shiao Hung.

Accepting his award, Mike said: “Elements of the press have come in for criticism in the inquiry for alleged ‘intrusive’ journalism.But we’ve shown in the East End the importance of community contact and getting out on the street to be involved with our readers and their concerns.

“Our role as journalists has to be to help rebuild civic society, such as backing things like a Living Wage and recording the community’s daily life.”

The citation presented by London Citizen UK chairman Paul O’Shea read: “This person is rare in their field and deserves to be recognised for a 40-year career in local journalism.

“He has taken a keen interest in reporting on local issues and been an active friend and ally for us, supporting our work and covering the stories that matter to local people.

“This journalist has gone beyond the call by attending strategy meetings, joined a campaign team during Olympics coverage and even signed up the newspaper’s offices to be a ‘City Safe’ haven.”