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Community reporter scoops big win at publisher’s awards

A community reporter with just one year of experience in the job has scooped a leading prize at a publisher’s annual awards.

Claudia Bowes was among the final group of Meta reporters taken on by National World when she was appointed to cover the seaside town of Bridlington at the end of 2022.

With no previous experience in the industry, she was last week rewarded for her combined writing and studying efforts by winning the group’s Story/Campaign Of The Year accolade.

Claudia – who fended off opposition from such giants as The Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman – was barely six months into the job when she wrote her winning tale, ‘the stolen purse’.

Claudia Bowes with her National World Story of the Year award.

Claudia Bowes with her National World Story of the Year award.

The remarkable story came to light last May when a local pub discovered the purse behind a radiator while doing some renovations and put out an appeal on social media in the hope of finding its owner.

Much to Claudia’s amazement, the owner was in fact her mother, who had lost it while on a night out shortly before Christmas 27-years earlier in 1996.

Claudia went with her mum, Alison, to collect the purse which contained a single five pence piece, an old Tesco Clubcard, and a faded Tesco receipt for a bottle of Lucozade costing 46p.

Claudia said: “Stolen on that night in 1996, the thief had obviously taken the £25 from inside and discarded the purse behind the radiator, where it stayed for all that time. We couldn’t believe it was my mum’s.

“I felt absolutely awestruck when my name was called as the winner for story of the year. I was up against some heavy hitters, so I really didn’t think I had a chance of winning.

“I feel so proud to have already won an award, despite only being in the role of community news reporter for a year. Everyone I have told this story to has grinned from ear-to-ear, which is probably why it was chosen as the winner.”

National World’s awards night highlighted the best work of 2023 across the group, with a total of 13 awards handed out at a ceremony in Blackpool.

In a double victory, The Scotsman’s Alison Campsie, pictured, was named Journalist of the Year and the Edinburgh-based daily also won National Brand of the Year.

Mark Hollinshead, National World’s chief operating officer, said: “We were delighted to receive more than 200 entries across the wide-ranging award categories which spanned all areas of expertise within the company.

“The nominations received showcased the extraordinary talent, creativity and expertise of our people across the National World business.

“Every nominee was a worthy candidate and the decision as to who would win each category was not made easy for any of our judges.

“Editorial nominations once again showed the professionalism of our journalists across all disciplines, from video and podcasts to investigations or the ability to bring a unique tone to the stories from our local communities.

“Our commercial nominations highlighted the grit and determination of our sales teams in a continually challenging environment to deliver some great results and new initiatives throughout 2024.

“And this year’s awards also provided a great opportunity to celebrate our expert support teams who continuously dedicate their time to ensuring the smooth running of the business.”

The full list of winners was:

National Brand of the Year: The Scotsman

Journalist of the Year: Alison Campsie (The Scotsman)

Sports Journalist of the Year – Joint winners: Graham Smyth (Yorkshire Evening Post) and Mark Dunford (Sussex World)

Lifestyle/Features Journalist of the Year: Gay Bolton

Insider Media’s Business Journalist of the Year: Douglas Friedli

Video of the Year: Habibur Rahman (True Crime: The body-in-the-bag killer)

Photograph of the Year: Tony Johnson (The Last Post at CWCG Stonefall Cemetery – Tony Johnson)

Podcast of the Year: Joe Donohue (Inside Elland Road)

Best Use of Data: Adam Kula

Front Page of the Year: Steve Sims (Hatters Promotion)

Story/Campaign of the Year: Claudia Bowes (The Stolen Purse)

Large/City Digital Brand of the Year: Birmingham World

Town/County Digital Brand of the Year: Sussex World