New premier prizes for British Press Awards

The Press Gazette British Press Awards 2008 is launched this week with new categories to recognise online journalism and the courage of colleagues working overseas.

The event, to be held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London, will again recognise the greatest journalists in the UK national press through the most rigorous judging process of any journalism awards in the country.

Around 100 judges are to be appointed. Each national newspaper editor was this week invited to nominate two senior journalists for the judging panels.

The remainder of the judges will be made up of independent figures from British journalism – including a number of regional press and magazine editors.

This year the format of the awards has changed with three ‘premier’awards to be presented – by a special guest, to be announced neared the event. These are: Newspaper of the Year, Journalist of the Year and International Journalist of the Year.

These categories will not require an entry form or fee – but editors may provide a supporting statement to make their case for Newspaper of the Year.

The international prize is intended to recognise the courage of foreign journalists working in difficult conditions overseas and has been launched in light of the increasingly dangerous areas journalists work. According to the International News Safety Institute, so far in 2007 166 journalists and media staff have been killed doing their jobs.

The other categories will require an entry fee – which remains unchanged since last year. The two main changes to these categories are the addition of two new online awards: Website of the Year, for the pre-eminent national newspaper website in the UK, and Digital Journalist of the Year, for a journalist whose work appears online and which utilises the properties of the online medium.

Press Gazette editor-in-chief Tony Loynes said: ‘With new categories to recognise the huge strides being made online by British newspapers – and to single out the extraordinary courage of our colleagues abroad – the 2008 British Press Awards will again be an event that recognises and dignifies great British journalism.

‘They reward the best-of-the-best in what remains the world’s most competitive, exciting and fun newspaper market.

‘It is Press Gazette’s pledge that the judging process will be completely independent, fair and transparent – and that we will to our utmost to ensure the only thing which influences our judges is the journalistic excellence of the entrants.”

Entry this year is by email and pdf – saving hours of time and frustration spent hunting down and mailing those cuttings. The closing date for entries is 23 January, 2008, with the awards being held on 8 April.

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