The region’s most talented writers, broadcasters and photographers were honoured at the inaugural O2 Media Awards in Greater Manchester and Lancashire tonight (Thursday, October 1, 2009).
The winning line-up featured a mixture of daily and weekly newspapers including The Manchester Evening News, which scooped the award for Newspaper of the Year. Judges said the paper was ‘as good as any regional newspaper you might find anywhere in the country and was putting out quality editions day after day.’
The Gazette in Blackpool won the award for O2 Editorial Team of the Year for ‘punching well above its weight’ and Gazette reporter William Watt was also crowned Digital Journalist of the Year.
The Lancashire Evening Telegraph’s young reporter Catherine Pye was identified as one of the region’s rising stars and picked up the O2 Young Journalist of the Year award.
Amongst the weekly newspapers, the Salford Advertiser’s Lucy McGuire was named Feature Writer of the Year and the Rochdale Observer’s Tim Bradley was presented with the award for Photographer of the Year. Tim was described by judges as an ‘editor’s dream’ and ‘a brilliant all-rounder with that unique ability to bring emotion into his images.’
The awards evening was held at the Urbis exhibition centre in Manchester. It is the latest in a series of media awards contests launched by O2 across the North to honour local and regional press.
In Broadcast, BBC North West Tonight’s Dave Guest scooped Broadcast Journalist of the Year for the moving series of interviews he carried out with Jessica Knight, the school girl stabbed to within millimeters of her life while walking through a park in Lancashire.
Their rival Granada Reports did not go home empty handed and picked up two awards for Entertainment Journalist of the Year and Sports Reporter of the Year. Winner of the entertainment award, Caroline Hacking, was described as ‘a rare talent’ while sports reporter Mike Hall was praised for his expert coverage of boxer Ricky Hatton’s world championship bid.
The judging panel included Paul Newman, Head of Communications at Media City; Alastair Machray, editor of the Liverpool Echo; Steve Hothersall, news and sports editor at Radio City and Nicola Priest, editor of Warrington Guardian which won Newspaper of the Year at the Cheshire and Merseyside O2 Media Awards for the second year running.
O2 employs more than 1200 people at its award-winning Customer Service Centre in Bury, which this month celebrated ten years of business at the Dumers Lane site.
Glenn Manoff, O2’s Director of Communications and Reputation, said the awards recognised outstanding media coverage of issues affecting communities across Manchester and Lancashire.
‘We’re delighted to be able to celebrate the huge service local and regional journalists provide in our towns and cities,’ he said. ‘This is a region rich with quality journalism which has been reflected in the high level of entries we have received from writers, broadcasters and photographers working in the area.’
O2 Media Awards Winners and Finalists
Winner: William Watt ‘ The Gazette Blackpool
Paul Cockerton ‘ Lancashire Telegraph
Martin Hamer ‘ Lancashire Evening Post
Winner: The Gazette Blackpool
BBC North West
All Together Now
Winner: Natalie Banks – Chorley and Leyland Guardian
Robert Dawson ‘ Stockport Express
John Siddle ‘ Ormskirk Advertiser
Alice McKeegan ‘ Rochdale Observer
Winner: Catherine Pye ‘ Lancashire Evening Telegraph
Nafeesa Shan ‘ Lancashire Evening Telegraph
Joe Robinson ‘ The Gazette Blackpool
Winner: Lauren Moss ‘ Wish FM
Paul Lockitt ‘ Key 103
Rachel Murray ‘ Tower FM
Winner: Michelle Livesey – Key 103
Abbie Jones ‘ BBC North West Tonight
Stef Hall ‘ Lancashire Evening Post
Winner: Dave Guest ‘ BBC North West Tonight
Rob Smith ‘ Granada Reports
Andy Gill ‘ BBC North West Tonight
Winner: Manchester Evening News
The Gazette, Blackpool
Crains Manchester Business
Winner: Mike Hall – Granada Reports
Chris Hall – Granada Reports
Andy Cryer ‘ Lancashire Telegraph
Photographer of the Year
Winner: Tim Bradley ‘ Rochdale Observer
Ian Robinson ‘ Lancashire Evening Post
Helen Brown ‘ Lancashire Telegraph
Winner: Caroline Hacking ‘ Granada Reports
Jemma Humphreys ‘ Lancashire Telegraph
Caroline Dutton ‘ Lancashire Telegraph
Winner: Ben Rooth ‘ Manchester Evening News
Chris Maguire ‘ Chorley Guardian
Ben Briggs ‘ Lancashire Telegraph
Winner: Lucy McGuire ‘ Salford Advertiser
Lesley Richards ‘ Leigh Journal
Alan Salter ‘ Transport Matters
Chris Visser ‘ Lancashire Evening Post
Scoop of the Year
Winner: Paul Keaveny – Bolton News
Vanessa Cornall – Accrington Observer
Ken Bennett – Oldham Chronicle