Two regional press journalists have been jointly awarded the top prize in a ceremony to celebrate the work of local democracy reporters.
Category judge Rozina Breen, editor-in-chief and CEO of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, said it was impossible to split the entries from the “two compelling, tenacious reporters.”
The ceremony concluded a two-day conference attended by almost 150 local democracy reporters from across the United Kingdom.
Kirsty was recognised for a range of work that included proposals to close 130 council-owned buildings and a family that received a £12,000 Scottish Power bill despite having solar panels on their council home.
Ms Breen said her entries “were all very strongly in the public interest and deeply local – holding to account with a clear focus on ensuring greater transparency for the community she represents”.
Adam’s work included successfully challenging of police misconduct anonymity decisionsa and revealing a ‘secret’ report on the £18bn cost of a Bristol underground.
The judge said his portfolio was “persistent, and demonstrated accountability and determination to stay with the story”.
BBC Breakfast presenter Charlie Stayt was the guest of honour at the November 9 awards ceremony, presenting trophies and certificates to LDRs across six categories.
He said: “My congratulations go to the winners and highly-commended across all six categories, but in particular to Adam Postans and Kirsty Paterson for scooping the 2023 Local Democracy Reporter of the Year title.”
The LDRS scheme, now in its sixth year, funds 165 reporter posts across the UK that supply commercial publishers with stories focused on the work of local authorities.
The full list of winners at the event was:
• Best Use of Freedom of Information
Winner: Will Durrant (Herts Live)
Runners-up: Sarah Booker-Lewis (Brighton & Hove News), Donald Turvill (Edinburgh Live)
Award judged by Tim Burke, BBC Politics England Editor
• Best Broadcast or Use of Multimedia:
Winner: Nigel Slater (Derbyshire Live)
Runners-up: Paul Faulkner (Lancashire Live); Eddie Bisknell (Derbyshire Live)
Award judged by Tom Speight, BBC Academy
• Best Use of Social Media
Winner: Ruby Gregory (MyLondon)
Runners-up: Sarah Booker-Lewis (Brighton & Hove News); Anna Whittaker (Notts TV)
Award judged by Lisa Bradley, University of Sheffield School of Journalism
• The George Makin Award – presented in memory of former LDR George Makin
Winner: Ivan Morris Poxton (Grimsby Live)
Runners-up: Daniel Esson (Kent Messenger Group); Will Durrant (Herts Live)
Award judged by Will Gore, Head of Partnerships for the NCTJ
• Local Democracy Story of the Year:
Winner: Emily Coady-Stemp (Surrey Live)
Runners-up: Joe Coughlan (MyLondon); Nick Jackson (Manchester Evening News)
Award judged by Miriam Phillips, journalism lecturer and editor
• Local Democracy Reporter of the Year
Winners: Kirsty Paterson (Falkirk Live) and Adam Postans (Bristol Live)
Runner-up: Robert Firth (MyLondon)
Award judged by Rozina Breen, Editor-in-Chief and CEO of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism