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Life achievement award for ‘fearless’ news editor

A long-serving news editor is to be honoured for his contribution to journalism in mainland Britain’s northernmost region.

Neil MacPhail, North news editor of the Aberdeen-based Press and Journal, will receive the Barron Trophy for lifetime achievement in journalism at next month’s Highlands and Islands Media Awards.

Neil, pictured left, began as a trainee reporter with the Evening Express and Press and Journal, initially working in Broad Street, Aberdeen, in 1968.

As part of his training, he spent six months working in a district office at Inverness, and has been based in the city ever since.

He had two spells as a freelance journalist and a further two periods with the Press and Journal in a career spanning 46 years.

Gordon Fyfe, chairman of the Media Awards’ judging panel, praised Neil as “the most experienced Highland reporter in the business”.

He added: “In his days as a reporter, he had a nose for a story and was always fearless in the way he gathered the information to get it on the front page.

“From his position now as a news editor, he provides sound direction and guidance to his reporters and photographers to deliver the stories his readers want.”

Neil, 66, said of the award: “It is fantastic to be recognised by my colleagues for my career which has been highly enjoyable, doing something I love.

“I have worked with some great journalists, met some really interesting people and had the privilege of working in the Highlands, one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

“I hope I have a few more years left in journalism.”