A regional daily editor about to step down from his role after five years in charge was able to savour a final awards triumph on Friday as his title was named newspaper of the year for its patch.
It meant a valedictory triumph for editor Keith Harrison, who is stepping down as editor after 25 years with parent company MNA Media.
The newspaper of the year crown was one of four awards for the paper at Friday’s annual event, organised by Birmingham Press Club and held at Edgbaston Stadium.
Former Express & Star journalist Alex Ross, now with the Western Daily Press, won News Reporter of the Year (Daily), while Tim Spiers and Tim Thursfield carried off the Sports Reporter of the Year and Photographer of the Year categories respectively.
Judges praised the paper’s “impressive story count, both in news and sport, and in-depth coverage – particularly their analysis of the West Midlands crime survey.
“If content is king, then the Express and Star takes this year’s crown as Newspaper of the Year,” they added.
Commenting on the entries in general, chairman of the judging panel Laurie Upshon praised the contribution being made to the region’s media by the newly-appointed BBC local democracy reporters.
“What came through, when we were judging entries, was the great diversity of style and content, reflecting the special – and unique – characteristics of the different cities, towns and villages in our patch. Our newspapers, in particular, highlight those differences,” he said.
“It is localness that makes them such a vital part of their communities and, despite economic pressures, they still must play a vital role in the democratic process to ensure those with power are subject to essential scrutiny.
“And so it was particularly pleasing to see, this year, the prominent contribution in many of the papers of the local democracy reporters.”
The full list of winners was:
Blogger/Columnist of the Year (including hyperlocals) – Gabrielle Miller, Cool as Leicester.
Business Journalist of the Year – Mark Gough, ITV Central.
Campaign of the Year – BBC WM. “Make A Difference.”
Features Journalist of the Year – Andy Bevan, ITV Central.
Magazine/Supplement of the Year – Shropshire Business and Birmingham Mail’s supplement Tribute to Cyrille Regis.
Newcomer of the Year – Awo Tarabi, ITV Central.
News Reporter of the Year (Daily) – Alex Ross, Express & Star.
News Reporter of the Year (Weekly) – Rebecca Miles, Hereford Times.
Newspaper of the Year – Express & Star.
Online/Digital Journalist of the Year – Caroline Lowbridge, BBC East Midlands.
Radio Journalist of the Year – Adrian Goldberg, BBC.
Sports Journalist of the Year – Tim Spiers, Express & Star.
Story of the Year: Winner – Balvinder Sidhu, ITV Central, “Asian Grooming.”
Television Journalist of the Year – Stacey Foster, ITV Central.
Tony Flanagan Photographer of the Year Award – Tim Thursfield, Express & Star.
The President’s Award – Jonathan Gibson, of BBC West Midlands.