The Coca Cola CIPR Press and Broadcast Awards 2010 were held last night at Belfast’s Europa Hotel, celebrating print and televisual news/current affairs success in the local media industry. The evening also recognised host Bill Turnbull’s ability to keep the unruly crowd in order.
Radio didn’t get much of a mention all night, and standalone new media continued not to get a look-in, other than the Digital Innovation award (renamed from last year’s Website category - see below for the criteria) which was picked up by Fermanagh.tv. For the second year in a row local fashion website sugahfix.com was recognised - commended last year, and winning the Specialist Digital Innovation category this year. (updated)
Darragh McIntyre and the BBC NI Spotlight team behind the Iris Robinson programme made periodic trips up onto the stage to pick up a succession of awards for Current Affairs/News Broadcaster of the Year, Current Affairs Programme of the Year and Scoop of the Year. UTV Live Tonight’s special on the Ryan Report won News Programme of the Year, and UTV‘s Blaine Scott was Cameraman/Crew of the Year.
But the bulk of the awards went to print.
The Belfast Telegraph’s Claire McNeilly won Newcomer of the Year and Specialist Journalist of the Year, and got a rousing rendition of “Take me to the church on time” in honour of her wedding today.
It was a good night for the Irish News, picking up three awards. Difficult to tell whether the Newsletter were unlucky, or just hadn’t entered anybody. Not every category was sponsored and there was a feeling that the awards were being run on a smaller budget this year.
- Newspaper Production Journalists of the Year - Jeremy Kirker (Irish News)
- Sports Journalists of the Year - Brendan Crossan (Irish News) and his “G double-A reports” (according to Bill Turnbull)
- Business Journalist of the Year - Gary McDonald (Irish News)
- Photographer of the Year - Darren Kidd (Press Eye)
- Feature Journalist of the Year - Suzanne Breen (Sunday Tribune)
- Magazine/Supplement of the Year - PURE
- Weekly Newspaper Journalists of the Year - Jim Flanagan (Ballymena Guardian)
- Weekly Newspaper of the Year - Derry News
- Newspaper of the Year - Belfast Telegraph
Lots of craft and back room roles aren’t recognised at the awards - though the potential winners would probably scrub up as well in a tux or dress as anyone else. So nothing to cover picture editors or sub-editors (who fix reporters’ bad copy and help newspapers look professional).
Deric Henderson from Press Association was a popular choice in the room for Print News Journalist as well as the overall Journalist of the Year awards, acknowledging his contribution to explaining Northern Ireland stories to national newspaper audiences as well as contributing to local titles.
The Ballymena Guardian’s previous editor Maurice O’Neill was singled out for his Outstanding Contribution to Regional Newspapers. He was depicted as the driving force behind the title for a generation (or two), making his personal mark felt in North Antrim as well as any hapless chancers who thought he might be a soft touch!
Finally Billy Kennedy came to the stage to accept his Life Time Achievement Award for more than 40 years working at the Newsletter. Retired, he still writes pieces and edits their Ulster Scots title. It was sobering to hear him recount the pattern of working during the most sustained periods of trouble. Sobering to realise how much the political and paramilitary situation was changed - and hence the news agenda - and yet, how many aspects remain suppressed but not eliminated.
In a world before satellite trucks, 24 hours news, Twitter and blogs, the reporting of accurate information was in the hands of a small number of dedicated and talented hands. Nowadays, more people are involved, but the quality and depth has probably suffered.
In twenty years time, to whom will the Chartered Institute of Public Relations be awarding prizes? With regional newspapers closing at an alarming rate, will the weekly print market be sustainable?
One thing is for certain, there’ll be a few sore heads this morning in newsrooms around Northern Ireland! And someone in the event team will be learning to spell “commended” for next year.
The organisers describe the criteria for the Digital Innovation award:
Open to local print and broadcast media, this new award aims to recognise excellence in the delivery of news and specialist content via new media including the internet, streaming audio/video, podcasts, mobiles devices, podcasting, videocasting, Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
There will be two sub-categories – News and Specialist (strong editorial/commentary appealing to a targeted audience) – with the overall winner being selected from the two.
Judges will look for the most innovative implementations and also those which have also brought commercial benefit to their business. Entries will be judged on the same date. To enter, we will need your website address, details of audience numbers; commercial viability, etc and all other relevant information to support your entry.
Thanks to Phoenix Natural Gas who had sponsored the table I unexpectedly ended up sitting at.