The Tamworth Herald was named Midlands Newspaper of the Year for the second year running last night, beating off competition from a daily sister title.
Judges hailed the Herald as the paper which “never fails to impress” as it overcame the Birmingham Mail to retain the prize it won 12 months ago.
Herald editor Gary Phelps, left, was also awarded the Campaign of the Year trophy for its stable-mate paper the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer’s fight for a memorial to the victims of a 1955 rail disaster in the town.
And Herald journalist Nicholas Reid, won Newcomer of the Year after a scoop about an exploding e-cigarette that left a young man seriously injured.
The judges, chaired by television journalist Suzanne Virdee, praised the Herald as “never failing to impress” with its mixture of exclusives, original local journalism and great imagery.
Last night’s ceremony at Birmingham Repertory Theatre also saw veteran Birmingham journalist Mike Lockley walk away with two trophies.
Mike was named Columnist of the Year for his Birmingham Mail column and Weekly News Reporter of the Year for his work for sister title the Sunday Mercury.
Scoop of the Year went to Adam Smith of the Halesowen News for exposing a bullying scandal involving a local councillor while Ben Ireland from the Nottingham Post lifted the trophy for Daily News Reporter of the Year.
The full list of winners was:
Blogger of the Year: Winner – Alessandro Sorrentino, UK by Numbers. The judges said: “A great entry – Alessandro demonstrated a unique approach to blogging by using data journalism in his posts.”
Business Journalist of the Year: Winner – Mark Gough, ITV News Central. The judges praised Mark for his well-researched stories and said he was a deserved winner.
Campaign of the Year: Winner – Gary Phelps, Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer. The Observer took the award with its campaign for a memorial to honour the victims of a rail crash at Sutton Coldfield in 1955 in which 17 people were killed.
Columnist of the Year: Winner – Mike Lockley, Birmingham Mail. The judges praised Mike for producing “excellent pieces” of journalism, which displayed great humour.
Feature Writer of the Year: Winner – Zoe Chamberlain, Birmingham Mail. The judges said that Zoe demonstrated the skill of a true feature writer and had the ability to dig out emotion behind hard news stories. She was also sensitive when securing one-to-one interviews with the relatives of tragic victims.
Headline of the Year: Winner – Birmingham Mail with “Remi Detached.” The judges said the winner had created a very witty headline in tune with the feelings of Aston Villa fans.
Magazine of the Year: Winner – Taste the Seasons. The judges loved the mouth-watering imagery and great layout of Taste the Seasons.
Newcomer of the Year: Winner – Nicholas Reid, Tamworth Herald. The judges said Nicholas was a truly outstanding entrant who had produced a hugely impactful story about an exploding e-cigarette that had left a young man with serious injuries.
News Photo of the Year: Winner – Nick Wilkinson, Birmingham Mail. The judges said that Nick captured the moment a young boy decided to pop his head up during prayers at an Eid Festival.
News Reporter of the Year (Daily): Winner – Ben Ireland, Nottingham Post. The judges were impressed with Ben’s investigative-style reporting and a “touching” piece about a man seeking asylum in Nottingham.
News Reporter of the Year (Weekly): Winner – Mike Lockley, Sunday Mercury. The judges said – great stories from Mike, who demonstrated a wide range of journalistic and investigative skills. Always a good read.
Newspaper of the Year: Winner – Tamworth Herald. The judges said that the Herald never failed to impress with some great exclusive stories, original local journalism and excellent use of imagery.
Radio Journalist of the Year: Winner – Kate West, BBC Hereford & Worcester. The judges were impressed by the lengths Kate went to in order to secure her stories – on one occasion almost having to endure Botox injections!
Scoop of the Year: Winner – Adam Smith, Halesowen News. The judges said that overall Adam had demonstrated a fine piece of investigative journalism, which led him to expose a bullying scandal involving a local councillor.
Sports Journalist of the Year: Winner – Steve Clamp, ITV News Central. The judges said that Steve’s highly professional entry featured “live” coverage of Leicester City celebrating Premiership success and an exclusive with Aston Villa’s Stiliyan Petrov talking about a comeback.
Sports Photographer of the Year: Winner – Adam Fradgley, AMA Sports Photo Agency. The judges said that Adam’s photo of Louis Van Gaal, in what looked like the “tunnel of death” at The Hawthorns, showed the fragile nature of football management.
Supplement of the Year: Winner – Oxford Times with “Oxfordshire Limited Edition.” The judges said that the Times had produced a spectacular supplement – now in its 30th year and strengthened by the addition of new columnists – which celebrated the people, places and issues of its county with articles by hard-hitting and humorous.
Television Journalist of the Year: Winner – Jonathan Gibson, BBC Inside Out West Midlands. The judges said that Jonathan’s work was both engaging and impactful. Covering the story of a family who had suffered a tragic loss, he was able to demonstrate sympathy while not losing sight of a “good story.” Jonathan’s “eye-catching” entry also earned him the accolade of Journalist of the Year
The Tony Flanagan News Photographer of the Year Award: Winner – Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald. The judges loved the composition and creative use of lighting in Mark’s emotive photographs, which brought news stories to life. Especially that of a controlled explosion in a technically challenging environment.