by Philippa Kennedy
The Daily Mail has won journalism’s top accolade — Press Gazette’s British Press Awards 2001 Newspaper of the Year.
Judges, which included representatives from all the newspaper groups, decided that the Mail was "quite simply the complete package". In their summing up, they said: "It is so consistent, so professional, so authoritative, so maddening. It bestrides the middle market like a colossus. It has sustained a consistently high level of journalism and a hard campaigning edge."
The paper’s star columnist, Lynda Lee-Potter, was also honoured with the title of Columnist of the Year in a category that attracted a record 92 entries.
"She has an amazing ability to pick up on what a lot of people are thinking. After all these years she can still surprise us. She’s still the best and she deserves it," judges commented.
And the Mail carried off a third trophy by winning the Hugh Cudlipp Award for excellence in tabloid journalism, made in association with the British Journalism Review, for its coverage of the Dr Harold Shipman case. Judges remarked: "When Harold Shipman was sentenced, one tabloid’s reporting was an outstanding example of consummate professionalism."
A Special Award for Outstanding Journalism was presented to Matlock Mercury editor Don Hale for his successful six-year campaign to free Stephen Downing from jail for the murder of Bakewell typist Wendy Sewell.
Also honoured was Serb journalist Miroslav Filipovic, whose reporting of Serbian army atrocities led to a seven-year jail sentence after a military court found him guilty of espionage charges. Filipovic, of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, won the new Online Reporter of the Year award. Judges said he was "a worthy winner whose work illustrates how the internet came of age clinging to the Balkans crisis".
The Observer’s new Sport Monthly magazine, described as "ground-breaking quality journalism that opens up sport to new readers", was awarded the Supplement of the Year trophy.
The Sunday Times won three awards — Marie Colvin, Foreign Reporter of the Year; David Walsh, Sports Writer and Tim Rayment, feature writer. Allison Pearson, writing for the Daily Telegraph, is Interviewer of the Year, Craig Brown of The Mail on Sunday won Critic of the Year and The Sun’s veteran reporter John Kay was named Reporter of the Year.
Colvin’s courageous reporting was praised by the judges who said: "The story of her escape from Chechnya was one of the great adventure stories of all time. They should make it into a film."
Kay, described as "one of Fleet Street’s finest operators", has been nominated several times in the British Press Awards. Judges said: "Year in and year out he produces knock ’em dead stories that come out of a clear blue sky."
The Sun also won Front Page of the Year for the second year running for its front page of the bungled gems robbery at the Dome, headlined "I’M ONLY HERE FOR DE BEERS".
Team of the year was The Mirror for its coverage of the rail crisis. It is the second time in three years that The Mirror has won this award. The paper’s Bradley Ormesher won Sports Photographer of the Year.
The Guardian’s Emma Brockes, another familiar face in the shortlists, won Young Journalist of the Year.
The Roll of Honour