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Joy of six for ‘brilliant’ investigative reporter

Multi-award winning investigative reporter Jon Austin has been named the top journalist in his region for an incredible sixth year in a row.

Jon, of Basildon-based daily The Echo, was named EDF Energy East of England Daily Print Journalist of the Year at a ceremony in Essex today.

Judges praised the level and detail of his work on the traveller evictions at Dale Farm as ‘incredible.’

Jon is also in the running for the prestigious UK-wide Paul Foot Award for Campaigining Journalism for the same set of stories.

The EDF judges described him as “a very talented reporter who turns opportunities into brilliant stories and who continues to operate at a high level year after year.”

Jon also retained his award for Environmental Journalist of the Year in the region as the prizes were handed out at The Fennes, Bocking.

Unfortunately he was unable to be present in person to collect his two awards.

They were collected on his behalf by Echo colleague Chris Phillips, who was shortlisted in the Sports Journalist of the Year category.

Also retaining their awards from last year were top Feature Writer Alice Hutton, of the Cambridge News, and Sports Journalist of the Year Donovan Blake, of ITV Anglia.

And there was a double success for Faye McBride of the Essex Chronicle, who was named both Newcomer of the Year and Weekly Print Journalist of the Year.

Faye started out on the Chronicle in January 2011 after completing the Press Association course at Newcastle.

Said Faye:  “It’s a massive shock. Every story you do to the utmost of your ability but you never think you are going to win an award.”

The Chronicle won the Weekly Paid-for Newspaper of the Year prize while the Daily Newspaper of the Year award went to the Evening Star, Ipswich.

Chronicle editor Alan Geere said:  “We are now regional newspaper of the year both nationally and in the region – what more could you want?”

Evening Star editor Nigel Pickover added:  “We fight very hard for our readers and we are thrilled this has been recognised at a time when the industry is under great pressure.”

The full list of winners was as follows:

Daily Print Journalist of the Year: Jon Austin, The Echo, Basildon

Weekly Print Journalist of the Year: Faye McBride, Essex Chronicle

Newcomer of the Year: Faye McBride, Essex Chronicle

Feature Writer of the Year: Alice Hutton, Cambridge News

News Photographer of the Year: Ben Davis, Peterborough Evening Telegraph

Sports Journalist of the Year: Donovon Blake, ITV Anglia

Environmental Journalist of the Year: Jon Austin, The Echo, Basildon

Business Journalist of the Year: Jenny Chapman, Cambridge News

Columnist of the Year: Dave Bromage, Herts & Essex Observer

Designer of the Year: Le-Anne Reeves, East Anglian Daily Times

Radio Journalist of the Year: James Melley, BBC Essex

Television Journalist of the Year: Neil Bradford, ITV Anglia

Radio News/Current Affairs Programme of the Year: The Ray Clark Breakfast Show, BBC Essex

Television News Programme of the Year: Britain’s Great Reef, BBC East

Website of the Year:

Community Campaign of the Year: Make it Marham, Eastern Daily Press

Front Page of the Year: Gambling and me, Evening Star, Ipswich

Paid-for Weekly Newspaper of the Year: Essex Chronicle

Free Weekly Newspaper of the Year: St Neots News and Crier

Daily Newspaper of the Year: Evening Star, Ipswich

All the winners from the 2011 EDF Energy East of England Media Awards



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  • February 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Time to get yourself a pay-rise Jon. Or send your CV off to a reputable Fleet Street paper!

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  • February 24, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Why is it that every time Jon Austin wins an award someone suggests he goes to work for the nationals? Isn’t it obvious that he could have done that a long time ago if he’d wanted to, and that he actually prefers to have a job in which he can write about his own local community?

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  • February 24, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Imagine this.

    You’re a well respected, highly talented journalist whose job is, basically, to win awards for your paper.

    You only have to do one story a month, and your bosses love you. People in your towns thoughts are largely dictated by what you write, and you’re given a free rein to write about what you want to.

    More to the point, your wife has just had a baby, and you want to be the sort of father who’s there for your kids.

    Now, are you telling me you’d jack that all in to be working ridiculous hours, many miles away from your wife and child, while you get told what to do by your news editor, who’s probably calling you every name under the sun at the same time?


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  • February 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm


    You are an absolute legend and it is a privilege to share an office with you and watch you in action.

    I am so proud of you.

    Gina Marden
    Crime reporter
    Basildon Echo

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