Ian stated the triumph had come as the group was “protecting the quality of its papers”.
The KM Group’s number of daily average unique browsers at 132,744 represented a 25.6pc year-on-year increase for the first six months of 2016.
Said Ian: “I’m really pleased as it is recognition for a fantastic team who always rise to whatever challenges we set them. This year, for instance, has seen a huge increase in our video output.
“It’s also important that we’ve done this whilst protecting the quality of our papers. We face the same circulation challenges as everyone else, but seeing the Kent Messenger named weekly newspaper of the year at the regional press awards was as satisfying as our online success.”
All regional publishers whose statistics were published experienced an increase in online traffic over the same period.
The latest figures ccome after statistics released by Comscore in June showed users spend an average of 12.7 minutes on Newsquest websites.
Newsquest chiif executive Henry Faure Walker said: “We hear a lot of doom and gloom about the future of local news but the truth is our journalists are engaging with local people and local communities in ever greater numbers, and there’s a phenomenal appetite for and engagement with the great local content they produce.
“In addition to these ABC figures, Comscore data shows users engage with Newsquest sites more deeply than with any other local or regional news sites.
“At the same time we’re also seeing more and more local businesses advertising on our digital platforms because they want to work with trusted brands with relevant online audiences.
“Digital growth is a central plank of our strategy and I’m delighted at the progress we’re making but we’re not complacent and we are committed to continuing to innovate and develop our online offerings for both user and advertiser alike.”
David Higgerson, digital publishing director for Trinity Mirror Regionals, said: “Audience growth has continued online, and we are particularly pleased with the fact that the underlying engagement metrics we track show that readers are coming back more often, and reading more content when they are with us.
“Local audience growth is out-stripping overall audience in all our regions, reflecting how our audience first strategy is succeeding in getting us closer to local readers online.
“Our brands have led the way within the regional press in adopting distributed platforms such as Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP, ensuring we are finding people in the places where they want content.
“We have also introduced, and continue to roll-out, the Trinity Mirror content strategy which focuses on local audience growth as a priority at a number of former Local World newsrooms and are attracting users with a wider mix of locally-relevant content.”