The parents of murdered soldier Lee Rigby have praised the regional press as a Manchester Evening News reporter was honoured for his coverage of the story.
Lyn and Ian Rigby handed the North West News Reporter of the Year prize to the MEN’s Neal Keeling in an emotional finale to last night’s O2 Awards ceremony at Salford Quays.
Said Lyn: “We’ve got to know well a number of journalists from across the region and they have been so supportive. We were so pleased to be asked to attend and to present the award in Lee’s honour.”
The couple, from Greater Manchester, joined other special guests at the Imperial War Museum at Salford Quays as the awards were handed out.
The Liverpool Echo retained its crown as Daily Newspaper of the Year and picked up a joint winners award for its week-long series of First World War supplements and the scoop of the year prize for its revelation of internet slurs about Hillsborough victims on Wikipedia.
Other special guests included veterans the late Sir Tom Finney’s son Brian, as the Lancashire Evening Post was named Team of the Year for its in-depth coverage of the football legend’s death.
Emmerdale’s on-screen couple Fiona Wade and Pasha Boccarie presented the Warrington Guardian with its Weekly Newspaper of the Year trophy, while there was a special award for Oldham Evening Chronicle Managing Editor Dave Whaley for his moving accounts of his fight to beat throat cancer.
Nicola Green, director of communications and reputation at O2 UK, said the judging panel were hugely impressed by the tremendous examples of community journalism across the North West.
“The O2 awards are a celebration of all that is good about regional media,” she said.
Bob Buiaroski, Capita O2 Partnership Director, added: “The fantastic work of regional journalists across North West needs to be showcased.”
The full list of winners was as follows:
Free Distribution Newspaper: St Helens Star
Team of the Year: Lancashire Evening Post
Young Reporter of the Year: Adam McClean – ITV Granada
Feature Writer of the Year: Diane Cooke – Lancashire Telegraph
Judges’ Special Award: Dave Whaley – Oldham Evening Chronicle
Weekly News Reporter of the Year: Anna Smith – Westmorland Gazette
Radio Journalist of the Year: Michelle Livesey – Key 103
Specialist Writer of the Year: Aasma Day – Lancashire Evening Post
Community Journalism Award: Juice FM
Weekly Sports Reporter of the Year: Jon Colman – Cumberland News
Specialist Publication of the Year: Carlisle Living
Scoop of the Year: Liverpool Echo (Hillsborough Wikipedia slurs)
Photographer of the Year: Gareth Jones – Liverpool Echo
Supplement of the Year: Liverpool Echo – Great War 100 Years and Stoke Sentinel – D Day the Final Salute
New Media Award: Chester Chronicle
Broadcast Presenter of the Year: Mike Hall – ITV Granada
Weekly Newspaper of the Year: Warrington Guardian
Sports Reporter of the Year: Mick Coyle – Radio City
Daily Newspaper of the Year: Liverpool Echo
TV Journalist of the Year: Jayne McCubbin – BBC North West Tonight
News Reporter of the Year: Neal Keeling – Manchester Evening News