Scottish newspapers and Scottish journalists – especially Newsquest Scotland titles – feature prominently in the Regional Press Awards 2020, organised by the Society of Editors and which attracted close on 700 entries.
The Herald on Sunday
has lifted the Sunday Newspaper of the Year award, beating off opposition from four other titles – the Sunday Echo
, Sunday Life
, Sunday Mercury
and the Sunday Sun
. And The Courier
, Dundee, is highly commended in the Daily Newspaper of the Year category which has been won by the Liverpool Echo
Newsquest Scotland journalists did especially well. Martin Williams, of The Herald
and Herald on Sunday
triumphed in the Business and Finance Journalist of the Year category, and Teddy Jamieson, of The Herald
, is voted the Feature Writer/Long Form Journalist of the Year.
Three of Newsquest Scotland's journalists are highly commended – Jack Aitchison, of the Glasgow Evening Times
, in the Young Journalist of the Year category; Neil Mackay, who writes for The Herald
and Herald on Sunday
, in the Columnist of the Year category; and Catriona Stewart, of The Herald
and Glasgow Evening Times
in the Reporting Communities Award. And The Herald Magazine
is highly commended in the Magazine of the Year category and the Glasgow Evening Times Digital Team
is highly commended in the Social Media Team of the Year award.
The Young Journalist of the Year joint-winner is Conor Matchett, of The Scotsman
and the Edinburgh Evening News
. Subsequently, Conor has joined The Scotsman's
political team. The judges remark: 'Conor has broken many news stories using his investigative skills. From knee-jerk official secrecy, to exposing alleged key failings and mistruths
by the council [Edinburgh City Council]. Connor shows a willingness to question authority and shine a light on its faults and failings'.
Two writers in the DC Thomson Media stable are highly commended: Dale Haslam, in the Specialist Writer/Impact Journalism of the Year category, as is Lesley-Anne Kelly, also of DC Thomson Media
, in the Data Journalist of the Year award.
A Special 2020 Award, recognising the work of the sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, has gone to the Aberdeen Journals Home Delivery Team
. The judges point out: 'The news is nothing if readers can't access it. The Press and Journal
(P&J) are right to feel proud of their 750 paper girls and boys who maintained their impressive home delivery network during a pandemic', adding: 'A brilliant way of bringing together young people who were on the front line of the battle to keep the public informed'.
Sarah Brown, Facebook's Head of Northern Europe News Partnerships, comments: 'It has been a remarkable 18 months by any standards and the courage, bravery and incredible work all the journalists and teams nominated have done has been truly inspiring. Please keep up your extraordinary work reporting on communities across the country – helping them keep informed in times of crisis'.
The main awards include: Daily Newspaper of the Year (Below 400,000 monthly reach): Jersey Evening Post
; Paid for Weekly/Sunday Newspaper of the Year (Above 50,000 monthly reach): Warrington Guardian
; Paid for weekly/Sunday Newspaper of the Year (Below 50,000 monthly reach): The Hexham Courant
; Free Weekly Newspaper of the Year: shared by Jewish News
and the Camden New Journal
; Website of the Year: Manchester Evening News
; Campaign of the Year: Essex Live
: Death in care
; Daily/Sunday Reporter of the Year: Emily Townsend, East Anglian Daily Times;
Daily/Sunday Photographer of the Year: Kevin Scott, Belfast Telegraph
; Designer of the Year for both the newspaper and magazine/supplements categories: Georgia Robinson, Eastern Daily Press
; and Overall Digital Award: Manchester Evening News
The awards are supported by the Facebook Journalism Project, Camelot, Google News Initiative, Amazon, HoldTheFrontPage, and the Journalists' Charity. They recognise excellence throughout the regional and local press during the unprecedented times posed by COVID-19. A full list of the awards can be accessed on HoldtheFrontPage's
website and the Society of Editors
Here are the 12 categories in which Scottish newspapers and their journalists were recognised for their achievements:
Young Journalist of the Year
Sponsored by Amazon
Joint winners: Conor Matchett, The Scotsman/Edinburgh Evening News
and Andra Maciuca, Saffron Walden Reporter
and Dunmow Broadcast
Highly commended: Jack Aitchison, Glasgow Evening Times
Business & Finance Journalist of the Year
Winner: Martin Williams, The Herald
and Herald on Sunday
Highly commended: Coreena Ford, The Journal
, Newcastle and Hannah Baker, Bristol Post
/BusinessLive South West
Specialist Writer/Impact Journalist of the Year
Winner: Liam Thorp, Liverpool Echo
Highly commended: Dale Haslam, DC Thomson Media
Feature Writer/Long Form Journalist of the Year
Winner: Teddy Jamieson, The Herald
Highly commended: David Owens, Western Mail
Columnist of the Year
Winner: Paul Kirkley, Cambridge Independent
Highly commended: Neil Mackay, The Herald
and Herald on Sunday
Reporting Communities Award
Joint winners: Abbie Wightwick, WalesOnline
and Thomas Kingsley, MyLondon
Highly commended: Catriona Stewart, Glasgow Evening Times/The Herald
and Conor Gogarty, Bristol Live
Data Journalist of the Year
Winner: Will Hayward, WalesOnline/Western Mail
Highly commended: Lesley-Anne Kelly, DC Thomson Media
Magazine of the Year
Winner: Cumbria Life
Highly commended: The Herald Magazine
Social Media Team of the Year
Sponsored by Facebook Journalism Project
Winner: Yorkshire Live
Highly commended: Glasgow Evening Times Digital Team
Special 2020 Award
Winner: Aberdeen Journals Home Delivery Team/The Press and Journal
Highly commended: Newsquest Regional ACE network
Daily Newspaper of the Year (above 400,000 monthly reach)
Sponsored by Camelot
Winner: The Liverpool Echo
Highly commended: The Courier
, Dundee, and the Belfast Telegraph
Sunday Newspaper of the Year
Sponsored by Camelot
Winner: The Herald on Sunday
Highly commended: Sunday Life
, Northern Ireland
Scots Radio, which gives an invaluable online voice to the Scots language, is one of five Scottish entries to win a prestigious international award at this year's virtual Celtic Media Festival (7-9 September). The annual awards celebrate film, TV, radio and digital media excellence from Scotland, Ireland, Galicia, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and the Isle of Man.
The festival has run annually since it was first conceived as the Celtic Film and Television Festival and launched in South Uist in April 1980 – thanks largely to a bold initiative nurtured by Michael Russell, the then director of Cinema Sgire in the Western Isles, who subsequently became a prominent politician and SNP Government minister.
Scots Radio, founded in 2013, the brainchild of its award-winning director, producer and presenter, Frieda Morrison, triumphed in the radio magazine show category with Magical Moments
Full of good humour and a special magical atmosphere and banter, this is a celebration of the language and culture in miniature – from Scots readings by actress Gerda Stevenson to details of the Scots Language Awards; from musician Simon Thoumire to enthusiastic asides from young Jack Capener; and a visit to meet master stonemason and artist, David McGovern, making a new Pictish Stone – the Stone for St Vigeans.
Scots Radio releases monthly one-hour audio episodes as well as regular quality video content. Its primary audience is the 1.5 million Scots language speakers in Scotland (according to the last census), but its digital format enables listeners to tune-in worldwide. It was also the springboard for the creation of the Doric Film Festival which this year culminated in an online celebration of the culture and heritage of north-east Scotland. Frieda is chair of the north-east Scotland-based Doric Board.
Frieda, who lives on Royal Deeside, has a formidable track record in the broadcasting business – winning several awards for both her radio and TV work in a 27-year sterling career with BBC Scotland. On this latest success, she points out: 'The profile which this award win brings to Scots Radio is very important to our work – especially in recognising the efforts of all the people involved in putting the programme together, and those who have supported us throughout the years. This could be an important milestone in the building of confidence in the use of the Scots language and provides a platform to help folk enjoy and celebrate its many different branches. Scots Radio has come a long way since its inauguration… and we still have a long way to go, but this award takes us much further down that road'.
Frieda, who has released three albums as a singer/songwriter, has given me a detailed rundown on the team behind Scots Radio. She relates: 'The constants on every episode are myself as producer/presenter and Richie Werner looking after the studio recording and editing on every programme. Dave Mitchell joined as my co-presenter just after lockdown began, and he is an extremely talented broadcaster with an in-depth knowledge of all things horticulture and an amazing knowledge of Scottish culture. He is a past curator of the Edinburgh Botanics, chair of the Open Gardens Scheme, and a vice-chair of the National Trust For Scotland.
'Steve Byrne has been with us from the outset and keeps us up-to-date regarding all things Scottish culture. He is a superb singer/musician and founder member of the folk band Malinky. Josh Bircham has also been with us almost from the start as our digital manager. He looks after our web designs and creation – and is a digital wizard. He is also a talented film producer and editor.
'Graham Read is our multi-talented cameraman who does digital production with us on the films which we produce. He has made a film for the National Library of Scotland called Heart of the Land
which is on our website
. And Lesley Eaton is our marketing manager who also handles all our written output for the press.
'Finn Nixon joined us in January as our intern from Robert Gordon University (RGU) and has stayed with us all summer. He now returns to RGU for the final year of his media degree but will continue to be part of our team when his studies allow.
'Finally, there is Claire Paterson, who is a professional cook from Lochaber. She features on our sister programme Grow Radio
– in the words of a listener, a gairdenin programme like no other
– but also makes guest appearances on Scots Radio especially around Christmas and New Year. Her recipes are superb. I think I'm hugely fortunate to have such a talented team. And this is very much a team effort.'
Frieda also acknowledged that the concept of Scots Radio was initially conceived by Michael Hance – the then director of the Scots Language Centre.
To listen to the award-winning episode, click here
This year's other Scottish festival winners were:
Live Music programme
Winner: Peat & Diesel – From the Barrow to Barrowlands
Producer – Daibhidh Martainn
Directors – Daibhidh Martainn and Don Courtts
Produced by MacTV and broadcast by BBC Alba
Winner: BBC Scotland Multiplatform Production – Control
Producer/director – Kirsty Drain
Broadcast by BBC Social Website
Winner: Spòrs na seachdain
Presenter – John Morrison
Producer and director – Mairi MacRitchie
Broadcast by BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal
Winner: Choose Life – Edinburgh's Battle Against AIDS
Produced by Two Rivers Media
Producer, director and writer – Stephen Bennett
Broadcast by the BBC
Among the other main festival winners were:
Winner: Martha O'Beirne – I loved you, but hated your addiction
Broadcast by YouTube
Radio Station of the Year
Winner: RTE Radio na Gaeltachta
Radio Presenter of the Year
Winner: Elaine McGee, BBC Radio Foyle Breakfast Show
Winner: BBC Wales Investigates
: The Clydach Murders: Beyond Reasonable Doubt
Winner: RTÉ Investigates
– Life & Death: Inside Ireland's Covid-19 Battle
Winner: Lost Lives
Produced by DoubleBand Films
Broadcast by BBC
Growing up in the early 1960s in the small hamlet of Armadale in North Sutherland, I was pretty adept in all production facets of the peat-cutting season. It was arduous, back-breaking but not unpleasant toil – save for when the blood-sucking midges descended en masse making further work intolerable.
Thus I was captivated by a 30-minute documentary on BBC1 (8 September), titled For Peat's Sake – Our Lives
, capturing most elements of the peat-cutting season on the Isle of Lewis – an activity which continues to have historical and cultural importance to the Scottish way of life.
This seriously delightful documentary featured bodachs working in the peat banks waxing lyrical about country and western music, and breaking out into occasional snatches of fragrant Gaelic songs. The mostly elderly men were aided and abetted, and indeed upstaged, by a charming, cultured English-born lady who had obviously quickly adopted and adapted to a new way of life, and quite evidently loved both her new homeland and her male neighbours.
My heartiest congratulations to the producer/director team of Jackie Maclean and Alison Pinkney, at Elephant Shoe Films, on amassing an intriguing indigenous 'cast', selecting an excellent location, and filming and editing all the going-ons with the utmost panache. The documentary is repeated on BBC Scotland at 8pm on Wednesday 22 September.