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Agency reporter who broke Charlie Gard story honoured at awards

Regional freelance and agency journalists have been recognised for their work over the past year at an awards ceremony held in their honour.

The National Association of Press Agency Awards have been held in London, with the journalist who broke the story about the “right to life” court battle of baby Charlie Gard among the winners.

St Albans-based Alison Smith-Squire, who works for press agency Featureworld, won Feature of The Year after telling of the legal fight to save Charlie when doctors indicated life support should be withdrawn for him at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The story made a front page exclusive for the Daily Mail and went on to become a running international news story.

NAPA Award winners with their prizes

NAPA Award winners with their prizes

Veteran freelancer Nick Constable, of Devon-based West Coast News, won News Exclusive Story of the Year for his exclusive interview with a hero fireman who twice entered the Grenfell Tower inferno at the height of the blaze to rescue residents.

Rachel Davis, of Swindon-based Calyx, and Mojo Abidi, of London-based Triangle News, won awards in the UK Picture of the Year and the Denis Cassidy Award for Best New Talent categories respectively.

New York-based Shanti Das, of SWNS, won News ‘Spec’ Story of the Year, while Fanco Banfi of Solent News won International Picture of The Year.

NAPA chairman Jon Harris told Cavendish Press: “The reality is, what was presented to the audience last Friday was merely a snapshot of the excellent work agencies like those in NAPA produce every single day for newspapers, magazines, online and broadcast media.

“They work long hours without the benefit of advertising, subscriptions, licence fee or sponsorship to bring major stories to the press yet get comparatively little financially by way of return.

“This scenario seems especially unfortunate when some media groups who complain of lack of funds appear to be able to find vast sums of money when investing in other ventures.

“Press Agencies are sometimes unfairly maligned yet more often than not they are the media organisations which originate the stories which can set the news agenda for weeks to come. The entries to this year’s NAPAs are proof of that.”

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