Friday, 27 January 2012

Over to you Paul ... enjoy it as much as I did

The team from The Irish News, winners of Newspaper of the Year, with host Nick Ferrari at last year's awards
Start putting together your best work from last year - the Regional Press Awards are back. The awards lunch will be on Friday May 25th at Savoy Place in London, so make sure you keep the date clear. It is with some regret, though, that I am standing down as chairman of the judges this year. My decision is partly because I don't have the time but mainly because I have taken a non-executive director's role with Northcliffe Media, so can no longer strictly be regarded as an independent. The job will be in safe hands with former Manchester Evening News editor Paul Horrocks taking over. Good luck to him. It was a real honour to have been chairman for the last six years. I have seen the awards run by the Press Gazette, the Wilmington Group, killed off for a year, and then resurrected by the Society of Editors last year. But through all the changes, the constant has been the high standard of journalism. Despite the economic ravages and the cuts, and against a backdrop of some elements of the Press being vilified, there are still regional journalists going the extra yard, delivering great stories, campaigns and investigations that really do change communities. My view has always been that the industry should throw its weight behind these awards. If we don't celebrate the excellence that runs through our newspapers, who will? That is why I took the chairman's role in the first place and why I will continue to help Paul, Bob Satchwell and the Society as they strive to make the awards a success. I hope the industry supports them too by encouraging its editors and journalists to enter. The entries will open on February 13 and details will be posted soon on www.theregionalpressawards.org.uk.
I will still be around on the day to catch up with old friends and colleagues, buy drinks and save tipsy editors from walking in front of cars - but this year I won't have to field the polite and not-so-polite bar-room questioning over 'why didn't we win.' Over to you Paul.
The Hull Daily Mail table celebrates winning daily Newspaper of the Year (over 25,000) at the 2008 awards

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