The Liverpool Echo was honoured for its Hillsborough coverage as it won Daily Newspaper of the Year for the fourth year in a row at last night’s O2 North West Media Awards.
Margaret Aspinall, chairwoman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, presented with the Echo with the crown at a ceremony in which it also won the award for Specialist Publication for its Hillsborough commemorative edition ‘The 96′.
The publication, which judges called “exemplary journalism”, followed a 27-year fight for justice supported by the Echo, which saw Liverpool FC supporters exonerated in April after fresh inquests into the deaths of 96 fans at Sheffield’s Hillsborough stadium in 1989.
Mrs Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son James died in the tragedy, told more than 200 journalists at the ceremony that the families had drawn strength from the regional media’s backing of their campaign.
She said: “The media must learn lessons from this… and continue to tell the truth.”
The independent CN Group also scooped four awards on the night – The Cumberland News was named Best Weekly newspaper; Phil Coleman was named News Reporter of the Year for Print Journalists, Jon Colman took the sports reporter title and Cumbria Life won in the magazines category.
Lancashire Telegraph reporter Bill Jacobs was awarded the O2 Stand Out Award while posthumous awards were made to former Chester Chronicle editor in chief Eric Langton and BBC Radio Lancashire’s Steve Becker, who both died earlier in the year.
BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin hosted the evening’s celebrations in Chester.
Nicola Green, director of communications and reputation at O2 UK, said: “Selecting overall winners from the shortlisted nominees was particularly difficult as the standards were so high.
“We’ve seen some superb journalism through the year which demonstrates the valuable role the regional media plays within its local communities.”
The full list of winners was as follows:
Broadcast Presenter of the Year: Mick Coyle – Radio City
Community Journalism Award: Michelle Livesey – Key 103
Daily Newspaper of the Year: Liverpool Echo
Team of the Year (Broadcast): BBC Radio Merseyside
Team of the Year (Print): Lancashire Evening Post
Feature Writer of the Year: Richard Ault – The Sentinel, Stoke
Free Distribution Newspaper: Midweek Visiter
On-Line Media Award: ITV News Granada Reports
News Reporter of the Year (Print): Phil Coleman – Cumberland News
News Reporter of the Year (Broadcast): Rob Smith – ITV News Granada Reports
Images of the Year: Peter Byrne – Press Association
Radio Journalist of the Year: Michelle Livesey – Key 103
Scoop of the Year: Tom Davidson – North Wales Daily Post
Specialist Publication of the Year: Liverpool Echo – Hillsborough
Best Website (Joint winners): Liverpool Echo, Lancashire Telegraph
Specialist Reporter: Aasma Day – Lancashire Evening Post
Sports Journalist: Jon Colman – News & Star, Carlisle
Television Journalist: Clare Fallon – BBC North West Tonight
Weekly Newspaper Reporter: Oliver Clay – Runcorn Weekly News
Weekly Newspaper of the Year: Cumberland News
Magazine of the Year: CN Magazines – Cumbria Life
Young Journalist: Sam Yarwood – Manchester Evening News
O2 Stand Out Award: Bill Jacobs – Lancashire Telegraph
O2 Lifetime Achievement Awards: Eric Langton – Trinity Mirror, Steve Becker – BBC Radio Lancashire