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HTFP at 20: Noel Doran voted best editor as Dundee daily wins best front page

noeldoranIrish News editor Noel Doran has added another accolade to his long list of awards after being voted the best editor of the 21st century by HTFP readers.

Noel, the only editor in our poll to have been in the same role for the whole of the past two decades, raced to victory over Bristol Post boss Mike Norton and former Ipswich Star and Eastern Daily Press chief Nigel Pickover.

Meanwhile the Dundee Evening Telegraph’s 2015 front page depicting heroin addicts lying comatose in the streets of Dundee was voted the best front page of the last 20 years.

The two polls were held to mark the 20th anniversary of HoldtheFrontPage first going live in February 2000.

More than 3,500 HTFP readers took part in the best editor poll, with Noel winning 25pc of the votes compared to 21pc for Mike, 20pc for Nigel and 16pc for former Northern Echo editor Pete Barron, in fourth.

Noel, pictured, has edited the Belfast-based Irish News since 1999 and led the Belfast-based title to the Regional Press Awards Newspaper of the Year award two years in a row in 2011 and 2012,

During Noel’s editorship, the News has also regularly topped the ABC charts for UK regional dailies, posting smaller circulation decreases than mainland titles.

And while the News has traditionally been regarded as a Catholic title, Noel has been credited with winning a wider, cross-community readership for the paper.

HoldtheFrontPage publisher Paul Linford said: “Congratulations to Noel on a well-deserved win which entirely reflects the high esteem in which he is held within the industry.

“It was interesting to see Noel and Mike Norton topping the poll, as both of them are editors who have made strenuous efforts to build bridges across their respective communities.

“We are also aware there has been some criticism on Twitter about the lack of women editors in this poll and I take that on the chin.

“While I accept that our shortlist did not reflect the proportion of senior editorial roles currently held by women, the poll was a retrospective feature designed to reflect the industry over the course of the 20 years we have been in existence, not necessarily as it is now or will be in the future.”

Dundee award winner
In the front page of the year vote, the Evening Telegraph’s ‘Beyond Belief’ front page won 29pc of the votes, with the Blackpool Gazette’s Jimmy Armfield tribute second with 19pc and the Warrington Guardian’s tribute to Viola Beach third.

Highly-acclaimed on its original publication in 2014, the splash also won the Regional Press Awards Front Page of the Year prize for that year.

Today’s poll results bring to an end the week-long package of content to mark our 20th anniversary, although the sales promotion giving 20pc off all Trainee Reporter vacancies will continue until the end of the month.

The series of #HTFP20 pieces can be seen here.

Added Paul: “I would like to thank all the people who took part in our polls as well as those who sent public and private messages of congratulations on our 20th anniversary.

“I hope readers have enjoyed taking a look back at some of what we’ve done over that time – but it’s now time to look forward.”