Former Daily Star and Sunday Express editor Brian Hitchen gave the current cohort of national newspaper journalists a roasting when he presented the National Association of Press Agencies Awards on Friday night.
Hitchen said: ‘People who work in news agencies must find it heart-breaking to see good stories sacrificed at the altar of reality TV and dropped for the scrapings of the celebrity barrel.”
And he condemned current newspaper editors for often spending four or five pages on one story – such as Prince Harry in Iraq.
He said: ‘After first allowing ourselves to be silenced, newspapers fell for an MoD publicity stunt.
‘The Daily Mail devoted nine pages to the Diana inquest. It’s a good story, but nine pages? What about all the other news stories that were around that day?”
Bringing up a growing gripe from news agencies, Hitchen said: ‘The way they rip off your work and put it up on their websites is stealing.
‘Often stories appear on the web that are not used in newspapers at all. They are used on the web without those who supply them being told and they don’t get paid.”
This year’s Napa winners were:
News story of the year: David Leigh from Splash News and Pictures for his exclusive interviews with the wife of ‘canoe-man’Anne Darwin.
Feature story of the year: Keeley Henderson of North News for tracking down child criminal ‘rat boy”.
Sports story of the year: Alex Crook of M&Y News Agency.
Sports picture of the year, feature portfolio of the year and news picture of the year: Charles Mcquillan of Pacemaker scored a hat-trick, picking up all three photographic prizes.