Weekly publication The Tamworth Herald was last night (October 20) named as Newspaper of the Year at the Midlands Media Awards – retaining the title that it won for the first time last year.
And one of its journalists, Nicholas Reid, won Newcomer of the Year, while Herald editor Gary Phelps was awarded the Campaign of the Year trophy for his stable-mate paper, the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer.
Supported by headline sponsors HSBC, the Awards, organised by Cloud 9 Event Management on behalf of Birmingham Press Club, were also sponsored by Drayton Manor Theme Park, Birmingham City University, Birmingham Pride and the Nightingale Club.
Birmingham Press Club, which is now celebrating its 151 st anniversary, is the oldest Press Club in the world.
The Awards, attended by almost 200 guests, are the highlight of the Club’s event calendar.
The Awards, which this year attracted more than 200 entries, take place annually to acknowledge the achievements of the region’s leading journalists, photographers, broadcasters and bloggers.
The judges, chaired by television journalist Suzanne Virdee, praised the Herald as “never failing to impress” with its mixture of exclusives, original local journalism and great imagery.
Double honours went to Jonathan Gibson, from the BBC’s Inside Out West Midlands programme, who won both Journalist of the Year and Television Journalist of the Year, while Scoop of the Year went to Adam Smith of the Halesowen News (winner for the last two years of the News Reporter of the Year (Weekly) category) for exposing a “bullying scandal” of a local councillor.
Ben Ireland from the Nottingham Post lifted the trophy for the hotly-contested category of News Reporter of the Year (Daily)
Photographic honours went to Adam Fradgley, AMA Sports Photo Agency; Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald and Nick Wilkinson of the Birmingham Mail.
ITV Central’s Mark Gough was named as Business Journalist of the Year; his colleague Steve Clamp received the accolade of Sports Journalist of the Year, while Trinity Mirror’s Mike Lockley also walked away with two trophies.
The full results are:
Blogger of the Year: Winner - Alessandro Sorrentino, UK by Numbers. The judges said: “A great entry – Alessandro demonstrated a unique approach to blogging by using data journalism in his posts.”
Business Journalist of the Year: Winner - Mark Gough, ITV News Central. Highly Commended – Lauren Mills, Leicester Mercury. The judges praised Mark for his well-researched stories and said he was a deserved winner.
Campaign of the Year: Winner – Gary Phelps, Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer. Highly Commended – Martyn Smith, Stourbridge News. The Observer took the award with its campaign for a memorial to honour the victims of a rail crash at Sutton Coldfield in 1955 in which 17 people were killed.
Columnist of the Year: Winner - Mike Lockley, Birmingham Mail. Highly Commended – Jenny Amphlett, The Sentinel. The judges praised Mike for producing “excellent pieces” of journalism, which displayed great humour.
Feature Writer of the Year: Winner – Zoe Chamberlain, Birmingham Mail. Highly commended – Graham Young, Birmingham Mail; Andy Darlington, Taste the Seasons magazine. The judges said that Zoe demonstrated the skill of a true feature writer and had the ability to dig out emotion behind hard news stories. She was also sensitive when securing one-to- one interviews with the relatives of tragic victims.
Headline of the Year: Winner – Birmingham Mail with “Remi Detached.” Highly commended – Sunday Mercury – “The Good, The Bad & The Dudley.” Black Country Bugle – “To Be or To Bay – That is the Question.” The judges said the winner had created a very witty headline in tune with the feelings of Aston Villa fans.
Magazine of the Year: Winner – Taste the Seasons. Highly commended – University of Derby Magazine. The judges loved the mouth-watering imagery and great layout of Taste the Seasons.
Newcomer of the Year: Winner – Nicholas Reid, Tamworth Herald. The judges said Nicholas was a truly outstanding entrant who had produced a hugely impactful story about an exploding e-cigarette that had left a young man with serious injuries.
News Photo of the Year: Winner - Nick Wilkinson, Birmingham Mail. The judges said that Nick captured the moment a young boy decided to pop his head up during prayers at an Eid Festival.
News Reporter of the Year (Daily): Winner – Ben Ireland, Nottingham Post. Highly commended – Antonia Bannister, Coventry Telegraph; Catherine Phillips, Worcester News. The judges were impressed with Ben’s investigative-style reporting and a “touching” piece about a man seeking asylum in Nottingham.
News Reporter of the Year (Weekly): Winner – Mike Lockley, Sunday Mercury. Highly commended – John Butterworth, Black Country Bugle. The judges said – great stories from Mike, who demonstrated a wide range of journalistic and investigative skills. Always a good read.
Newspaper of the Year: Winner – Tamworth Herald. Highly commended – Birmingham Mail. The judges said that the Herald never failed to impress with some great exclusive stories, original local journalism and excellent use of imagery.
Radio Journalist of the Year: Winner – Kate West, BBC Hereford & Worcester. Highly commended – Suzie Rack, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire. The judges were impressed by the lengths Kate went to in order to secure her stories – on one occasion almost having to endure Botox injections!
Scoop of the Year: Winner – Adam Smith, Halesowen News. Highly commended – Tom Edwards, Worcester News. The judges said that overall Adam had demonstrated a fine piece of investigative journalism, which led him to expose a bullying scandal involving a local councillor.
Sports Journalist of the Year: Winner – Steve Clamp, ITV News Central. Highly commended – Chris Philpotts, Nuneaton News. The judges said that Steve’s highly professional entry featured “live” coverage of Leicester City celebrating Premiership success and an exclusive with Aston Villa’s Stiliyan Petrov talking about a comeback.
Sports Photographer of the Year: Winner – Adam Fradgley, AMA Sports Photo Agency. Highly commended – Tim Harley-Easthope, Birmingham Mail. The judges said that Adam’s photo of Louis Van Gaal, in what looked like the “tunnel of death” at The Hawthorns, showed the fragile nature of football management.
Supplement of the Year: Winner – Oxford Times with “Oxfordshire Limited Edition.” Highly commended – Central Independent News with “Education.” The judges said that the Times had produced a spectacular supplement – now in its 30 th year and strengthened by the addition of new columnists – which celebrated the people, places and issues of its county with articles by hard-hitting and humorous.
Television Journalist of the Year: Winner – Jonathan Gibson, BBC Inside Out West Midlands. Highly commended – Mark Gough, ITV News Central; Sian Grzeszczyk, BBC Midlands Today. The judges said that Jonathan’s work was both engaging and impactful. Covering the story of a family who had suffered a tragic loss, he was able to demonstrate sympathy while not losing sight of a “good story.” Jonathan’s “eye-catching” entry also earned him the accolade of Journalist of the Year
The Tony Flanagan News Photographer of the Year Award: Winner – Mark Williamson, Stratford Herald. Highly commended – Chris De Bretton-Gordon, Leicester Mercury. The judges loved the composition and creative use of lighting in Mark’s emotive photographs, which brought news stories to life. Especially that of a controlled explosion in a technically challenging environment.