A family-run newspaper group has celebrated a double victory in the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards for 2013.
The Carlisle-based CN Group took home two of the four Newspaper of the Year awards as the prizes were handed out at London’s Lancaster Hotel today.
Carlisle daily the News and Star won the prize for daily papers under 25,000 circulation while sister title the Cumberland News retained the best weekly above 20,000 prize it won last year.
The daily Newspaper of the Year prize for titles above 25,000 circulation went to the Express & Star while the award for weeklies below 20,000 was won the Brentwood Gazette – again for the second year running.
The CN Group, led by the Burgess family for the past four generations, also claimed the Front Page of the Year prize for the North West Evening Mail’s ‘Hear Our Voices’ front page, while multiple award-winner Jon Colman of the News & Star was named Daily Sports Journalist of the Year.
The judges’ decision on the Front Page prize exactly mirrored that of HoldtheFrontPage readers who chose it in our New Year poll as the best front page of 2013.
The image included a mosaic of a baby’s face, made up of thousands of tiles, each of which was a picture of a local person who had backed a campaign to save hospital maternity services.
The judges said: “Aside from being an eye-catching image, it resulted in a highly successful campaign and was an example of truly excellent local journalism.”
There were six awards for the Local World group with its titles winning the Feature Writer of the Year for Lee Marlow of the Leicester Mercury and Weekly Reporter of the Year for the Croydon Advertiser’s Gareth Davies.
Anna Draper of the Lincolnshire Echo took home Weekly Photographer of the Year while Will Johnston of the Leicester Mercury was crowned in the corresponding daily/Sunday category.
The group’s Zena Hawley of the Derby Telegraph was awarded Scoop of the Year for her investigation into teachers at a City Muslim School being ordered to wear hijabs. The judges said that it made headlines across the world.
They added: “Resulting in Ofsted inspections, a damning report, the resignation of the founding trustees and an exclusive interview with David Cameron, the ripple effect still continues today.”
Newsquest group newspapers took home five awards including the HTFP-sponsored Young Journalist of the Year prize for Ben Leo of The Argus, while the Basildon Echo’s Jon Austin and Sadie Hasler won the Specialist Journalist of the Year and Columnist of the Year accolades.
The Daily/Sunday Reporter of the Year accolade was awarded to Ben Wilkinson of the Oxford Mail.
Trinity Mirror titles swept the board in the digital and design categories, with the Manchester Evening News winning the Website of the Year Award while last year’s winner, the Liverpool Echo was awarded The Digital Award for innovation.
Gary Beckwith of the Newcastle Chronicle was named Designer of the Year and the Supplement of the Year accolade was awarded to the Western Mail’s Week End magazine.
A new specialist Journalists’ Charity Award was presented to Peter Barron, long-standing editor of the Northern Echo.
Deric Henderson, recently retired Ireland Editor of the Press Association was also awarded the Chairman’s Special Award after a career with the press agency spanning 45 years.
Chairman of the judges and former MEN editor Paul Horrocks said: “It is a much over-used phrase – but the standard of entries was superb and the judging process careful with much debate.”
Bob Satchwell Executive director of the Society of Editors added: “Congratulations to all of this year’s winners who have yet again demonstrated the vital public service that they continue to perform.”
The awards were made possible by the lead sponsorship of UK Power Networks. They were supported by Asda, JTI, ABC and Foot Anstey solicitors and were held in association with HoldTheFrontPage and the Press Association.
The Society of Editors, which has been supported by Camelot since 2001, organises the awards in conjunction with the Newspaper Society on behalf of the industry.