By Hamish Mackay
The Sunday Herald's Scottish political editor, Paul Hutcheon, has had a striking double triumph at the 27th Scottish Press Awards, winning both the Journalist of the Year and Political Journalist of the Year awards.
The accolades recognised Hutcheon's prowess (with not a little help from the Freedom of Information Act) in a year-long investigation which led to the resignation of Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie for taking publicly-funded taxis for personal and legal business.
The judges said that Hutcheon, former editor of Holyrood magazine, had made brilliant use of the FoI legislation and knew what questions to ask — and when to ask them.
Newspaper of the Year is the Edinburgh Evening News, which also lifted the campaign award for its Edinburgh Royal Infirmary investigation.
And it had further successes with Frank Boyle voted top cartoonist and a runner-up spot in the Front Page of the Year section.
The event, run by the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society (SDNS), and staged before 500 guests at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Glasgow, also honoured the editor of the Largs and Millport News weekly, Drew Cochrane, who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Daily Record had a rewarding night - lifting five top awards.
Richard Elias was named Reporter of The Year for a series of exclusive stories exposing Scotland's criminal underworld; Lynn Davidson won Scoop of the Year for revealing how Scottish artist Jack Vettriano based his paintings on a cheap art manual; and Mark Runnacles was News Photographer of the Year for coverage of the G8 riots in Edinburgh.
The Daily Record also took the Front Page of the Year title and it won the Team award for coverage of the Jodi Jones murder trial. The reporting team, based in the Edinburgh office, was Marie Sharp, Lynn Davidson, Jack Mathieson, Lori Campbell, Amy Devine, Ian Dow and courts correspondent Gordon McIlwraith.
Lucy Bannerman, of The Herald, who has subsequently joined The Times, triumphed in the Young Journalist of the Year section to add to the same title which she won at the British Press Awards last month.
In the Weekly Newspaper of The Year section, there was double success for the Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser with Robert Mitchell winning and colleague John Hutcheson finishing runner-up.
Allan Rennie, editor of the Scottish Sunday Mail and chair of the SDNS Editors' Committee, said: "In the midst of much change over the past year one thing has remained constant and that is great Scottish journalism. The standard this year was superb and as always the awards offered both the opportunity to reward talent and professionalism."
The awards are open to journalists and photographers working for newspapers and magazines published in Scotland and Scotland-based journalists and photographers writing exclusively on Scottish affairs for non-Scottish publications.
The full awards list was:
Scoop of the Year: Lynn Davidson, Daily Record; Runner-up: Gavin Madeley, Scottish Daily Mail.
Reporter of the Year: Richard Elias, Daily Record; Runner-up: Michael Tierney, The Herald.
Financial/Business Writer of the Year: Ian McConnell, The Herald; Runner-up: John Penman, Sunday Times Scotland.
Feature Writer of the Year: Michael Tierney, The Herald; Runner-up: Catherine Deveney, Scotland on Sunday's Spectrum Magazine.
Columnist of the Year: Winner: Gillian Bowditch, The Scotsman; Runner-up: Ian Bell, Sunday Herald.
Campaign of the Year: ERI Investigation, Edinburgh Evening News; Runner-up: Dignity For The Elderly, Scottish Daily Mail.
Front Page of the Year: If You See a Ned, Let Me Know.., Daily Record; Runner-up: The Nightmare Comes True, Edinburgh Evening News.
Journalist Team of the Year: Jodi Jones case, Daily Record; Runner-up: July 7th Bombings, Scotland on Sunday.
Weekly Newspaper Journalist of the Year: Robert Mitchell, Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser; Runner-up: John Hutcheson, Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser.
Political Journalist of the Year: Paul Hutcheon, Sunday Herald; Runner-up: Steve Bargeton, The Dundee Courier.
Sports Feature Writer of the Year: Paul Forsyth, The Sunday Times Scotland; Runner-up: Glenn Gibbons, The Scotsman.
Sports News Writer of the Year: Iain King, The Scottish Sun; Runner-up: Keith Jackson, Daily Record.
Arts/Entertainment Writer of the Year: Catherine Deveney, Scotland on Sunday's Spectrum Magazine; Runner-up: Teddy Jamieson, The Herald.
Cartoonist of the Year: Frank Boyle, Edinburgh Evening News; Runner-up: Brian Adcock, Scotland on Sunday.
Young Journalist of the Year: Lucy Bannerman, The Herald; Runner-up: Anna Smyth, The Scotsman.
News Photographer of the Year: Mark Runnacles, Daily Record; Runner-up: Ian Rutherford, The Scotsman.
Sports Photographer of the Year: Tom Main, Sunday Times/The Times/News of the World; Runner-up: Ian Rutherford, The Scotsman.
Gaelic Journalist of the Year: Alasdair Allan, The Scotsman; Runner-up: Murdo MacLeod, Scotland on Sunday.
Newspaper of the Year: Edinburgh Evening News.
Journalist of the Year: Paul Hutcheon, Sunday Herald.
Photo: Chris James