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Echo retains North West crown at 02 Awards

The Liverpool Echo retained its Daily Newspaper of the Year crown at last night’s 02 Media Awards for the North West region.

The Trinity Mirror daily overcame competition from the North Wales Daily Post and Bolton News to win the top prize for the second year running.

It completes a notable double for the Echo which was also named Daily Newspaper of the Year at this year’s Regional Press Awards.

The paper’s coverage of the inquiry into the Hillsborough football stadium disaster was a key factor in both awards.

The Echo also carried off the Team of the Year award for its Hillsborough coverage, with former Liverpool player Alan Kennedy and Hillsborough Family Support Group chairwoman Margaret Aspinall praising the paper for its unwavering support for the victims over 25 years.

Staffers Joe Thomas and Jason Roberts added to the paper’s haul, picking up the titles of Young Journalist and Photographer of the Year respectively.

In the weekly newspaper categories the Westmorland Gazette pipped the Cumberland News and Liverpool Post to be named the best paid for title, while best free went to the Leigh Journal.

Presenting the award Labour health spokesman and Leigh MP Andy Burnham said it was vital the regional press continued in its role as community watchdogs, investigating allegations of wrongdoing and defending their villages, towns and cities.

There was a special award for Betty Drummond, who has built the Champion Group from a single title in Southport to a group of eight titles and a national consumer magazine.

Judges said her achievements challenged the “doom mongers” who said print journalism was dead.

The Lancashire Telegraph’s Burnley football correspondent Suzanne Geldard was named Sports Journalist of the Year, the first woman to win the sports category in the six years since the O2 awards began.

This year’s awards, which were handed out in a ceremony at Liverpool Cathedral, attracted more than 300 entries.  The full list of winners is as follows:

New Media Journalist of the Year:  The Post, Liverpool digital team.

Feature Writer of the Year: Steve Canavan – The Gazette, Blackpool

Photographer of the Year: Jason Roberts – Liverpool Echo & Post

Sports Journalist of the Year: Suzanne Geldard – Lancashire Telegraph

Specialist Publication of the YearNorth West Business Insider

Radio Broadcast Journalist of the Year: Mick Coyle – City Talk 105.9

Television Broadcast Journalist of the Year:  Daniel Hewitt – ITV Granada

Young Journalist of the Year: Joe Thomas – Liverpool Echo

News Reporter of the Year: Aasma Day – Lancashire Evening Post

Specialist Writer of the Year: Jayne McCubbin – BBC North West Tonight

Scoop of the Year: Rachel Townsend – Granada Reports (George Osborne )

Emerging Talent Award: Emily Burgin – University of Salford

Community Journalism Award: Lancashire Evening Post (Preston Guild)

Editorial Team of the Year: Liverpool Echo (Hillsborough)

Free Distribution Publication of the Year: Leigh Journal

Weekly Journalist of the Year: Rachel Flint – Chester Chronicle

Weekly Paid For Newspaper of the Year: Westmorland Gazette

Daily Newspaper of the Year: Liverpool Echo

Outstanding Contribution: Betty Drummond – Champion Newspapers