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EDF Energy East of England Awards: What the judges said

edflogoThis year’s EDF Energy East of England Media Awards were handed out at Norwich City’s Carrow Road stadium today by Paralympic swimmer and triathlete Lauren Steadman.

Each winner received a trophy and a cheque for £100.

The judging panel comprised Ian Murray, editor of the Southern Daily Echo, Chris Britcher, editor of Kent on Sunday, Mark Waldron, editor of The News, Portsmouth, ITV Meridian correspondent Christine Alsford, Matt Graveling of BBC Radio Surrey, Andy Steggall of Pergall Media and BBC South, Keith Redbourn, editor of the Hampshire Chronicle and Paul Linford, editor of HoldtheFrontPage.

Here’s what the judges said about each of the winners.

Newcomer of the Year: Will Watkinson, Essex Chronicle

“After scaling the heights as a builder and roofer, Will started his career in journalism at the age of 29 – working for the paper he used to read.

“He exposes a pillar of the community as a paedophile, thanks to a tip-off and some old-fashioned digging, working with the police to then seal an exclusive.”

Digital Journalist of the Year: Michael Bailey, Archant Norfolk

“Winner of this award twice in two years, Michael once again is using the digital toolkit to great effect.

“His entry included good reporting and editing in Norwich City video match reports for Mustard TV, and live football coverage and podcasts for the pinkun website.”

Specialist Journalist of the Year: Jon Austin, Basildon Echo

“Jon’s dominated this award in recent years and for 2014, has again submitted a strong portfolio.

“Jon’s investigation into a scam carbon credits scheme, led to a man being jailed for over three years for fraud and a further investigation saw a rogue landlord fined £20,000.”

News Photographer of the Year: Simon Finlay, Eastern Daily Press / Archant Norfolk

“Two of his submitted images mark the First World War – one as people come together at the City’s war memorial, and a lovely shot of the two brothers whose interest in World War One led them to create a Western Front inspired diorama in their back garden.

“A fantastic selection of stand out photos.”

Sports Journalist of the Year: Chris Osborne, BBC Sport

“Chris provides online articles about sportsmen and women spanning a range of sporting journeys – one battles kidney failure to become a champion, another reveals the darkness of their depression.

“His third submission makes a case why Premier League millions aren’t half as satisfying as East Anglian pennies, with lovely interviews with Jamie Cureton and John Wark.”

Feature Writer of the Year: Will Watkinson, Essex Chronicle

“A feature on Osea, a tiny island off the coast of Essex, brought to light a fascinating and colourful past. The island was used as a secret naval base in the First World War, a recording studio, rehab clinic and haunt for celebrity parties.

“Empathetic feature writing and three fascinating reads.”

Columnist of the Year: Sadie Hasler, Southend Echo and Colchester Gazette

“Fresh writing, humour and poignant musings are trademarks of Sadie Hasler’s writing.

“A piece on TOWIE, that stood up for all that is good about Essex, enjoyed lots of reaction on social networks – an overwhelmingly positive response.”

Designer of the Year: Alex Leys, Brentwood Gazette

“The use of a Waitrose pickle jar to portray how a council found itself in a bit of a pickle over a planning development, is a bold and attractive front page.

“So too is the depiction of a badger gripping a Do Not Disturb sign, used on the front page to illustrate how the creatures’ sex lives were causing delays to a road repair scheme.”

Radio Journalist of the Year: Jon Wright, BBC Radio Suffolk

“Using Freedom of Information requests, Jon uncovered a news line on a range of topics – begging, work-related stress and mental health.

Whatever the issue, Jon’s production techniques consistently help bring all of his reports to life. His approach is refreshingly low key, as Jon lets the people tell their stories in their words.”

Television News Journalist of the Year: Claire McGlasson, ITV News Anglia

“Claire is a confident live performer with the ability to strike just the right tone on a range of stories. Her moving and well put together report filmed in Burkina Faso, was scripted with empathy and made great use of excellent pictures.

“Her feature on the Asterix translator showed creativity and humour and a really clever use of graphics.”

Weekly Print Journalist of the Year: Charles Thomson, Yellow Advertiser

“The Yellow Advertiser’s on-going campaign to get a dangerous path closed off proved successful, helped in no small part by the campaign group’s strong relationship with reporter Charles Thomson.

“He demonstrated responsible reporting, confidence of contacts and readers and consistently high quality journalism.”

Daily Print Journalist of the Year: Helen Barnett, Southend Echo

“Every newsroom needs a Helen Barnett – a trusted senior journalist who can turn round any story and get people talking. And luckily for the Southend Echo, they have the real deal.

As crime reporter, you know you’re in for a big day when, while in court covering the conviction of a murderer, the call comes in that a deputy headteacher has been filming naked boys in a swimming pool.”

Website of the Year: – Archant Norfolk

“A previous winner, the Eastern Daily Press website continued to go from strength to strength in 2014, with much improved design and strong audience growth.

“The site topped 50 million page views for the year, with 1.1million of those coming as a result of its coverage of last year’s winter storms.”

Community Campaign of the Year: Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News – Flood Appeal

“As Norfolk and Lowestoft began to assess the damage of the worst tidal surge in 60 years, the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News swung in to action with the launch of their flood appeal.

The swift start and the hard work in pulling together four councils and many charity groups was the catalyst for a campaign which hit £70,000 in five days and £350,000 by the end of the year. “

Front Page of the Year: Brentwood Gazette, “Man is killed by train then this happens”

“Readers are drawn into the Brentwood Gazette front page “Man is killed by train then this happens”.

“It’s a clever way of telling a story visually and simply. Use of the Twitter theme accentuates the digital nature of the story, whilst the headline leads the eye into the design element of the page, capturing your attention from the start.”

Radio news or current affairs programme of the year: BOB FM, Hertfordshire, The Story of Auschwitz

“The one off documentary from BOB FM Hertfordshire delivers an emotional look at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

“Reporter Chris Hubbard travels to Poland with local students to hear first hand some of the harrowing tales of Nazi genocide. The twenty-minute programme is expertly narrated by Chris, who transitions between personal accounts of the war and the impact the trip has on the visiting students. “

Television News and Current Affairs Programme of the Year: BBC Inside Out, “The Village That’s Falling into the Sea”

“Great access and brilliant “as it happened” footage, makes for a stand out current affairs programme by BBC Inside Out’s East team.

“Following an elderly couple as they returned home to find their house had crumbled into the sea, it was gripping TV and provided unbeatable interviews and pictures to build the programme around. “

Free Weekly Newspaper of the Year: The Hunts Post

“It’s been a strong year for The Hunts Post, which ran a number of successful campaigns, including the successful return of £30,000 in unfair parking fines.

“The paper continued its fundraising for a cancer unit at a local hospital, with the total now standing at over £600,000, and saw off the competition with the closure of a rival paper, helped no doubt by its strong coverage and good news sense.”

Paid For Weekly Newspaper of the Year: Welwyn and Hatfield Times

“A fresh and well-designed weekly with a modern look, the Welwyn & Hatfield Times makes bold use of pictures, and has a lively arts and culture section.

“The quirky use of news on the back page worked, but sports fans aren’t short-changed, with a large and comprehensive sports section. Strong letters pages, news features, and an impressive property section, complete an impressive all-round package.”

Daily Newspaper of the Year: Eastern Daily Press

“The Eastern Daily Press has maintained high standards of journalism across print, online, mobile and TV. Key local issues continue to be reported on and debated, whilst the sports coverage is impressive.

“The commemoration of the outbreak of the First World War was marked with a detailed centenary supplement, whilst the project to add missing names and information online continues.”

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  • February 27, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Glad to see the Hunts Post thinks the closure of a newspaper is something to rejoice in. Classy.

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