By Sarah Lagan
The Northern Echo has been named North East newspaper of the year at the Cordner North East Press Awards. Judges said the paper had "strengthened its grip on the essential craft of journalism."
The Darlington-based title beat last year's winner the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, the only other paper shortlisted in the category. Mike Amos of the Echo was named both journalist and sports writer of the year, Sarah Foster won the feature writer, Olivia Richwald won the hard news category while Joe Willis won scoop of the year.
The Hexham Courant walked away with the Northeast Weekly Newspaper of the yYear title and a number of individual awards.
Journalist and MP Martin Bell paid tribute to the country's regional newspaper industry for upholding the best traditions of journalism which he said were increasingly at risk.
Other winners were:
Graeme Stanton Award: Robin Crowther, Darlington College;
Tom Cordner Quill (Trainee journalist of the Year) Bethany Usher, Sunderland Echo;
North East Weekly Newspaper Journalist of the Year: Lyndsey Wright, Hexham Courant;
North East Weekly Newspaper Journalist: Lyndsey Wright, Hexham Courant;
North East Magazine: the Mike Gilligan Prize, Culture;
Consumer Affairs Prize: Jane Hall, The Journal;
North East Business Prize: Graeme King, The Journal;
North East Health Prize: Linda Colling, Sunderland Echo;
Thomas E Bergman Prize (For the best arts reportage): David Whetstone, The Journal;
Phillip Hickey Trophy (North East Columnist of the Year): Brian Tilley, Hexham Courant;
Steve Jones Prize (For reporting that contributes most to the community): Rob Lawson, Sunderland Echo;
North East Women's Writer of the Year: Lindsay Jennings, Northern Echo;
Jeremy Bennington Prize – for Scoop of the Year: Joe Willis, Northern Echo;
Investigative Journalism Prize: Adam Jupp, Evening Chronicle;
Kate Adie Award for Initiative in Journalism: Adam Jupp, Evening Chronicle;
ABC Spike (for overall newspaper page design): Peter Leathley, The Journal;
Splash Award the Tony Dumphy Trophy (for front and/or back page design): David Morton and Dave Hedley, Evening Chronicle;
Fred Hurrell Prize (for the best features writing): Sarah Foster, Northern Echo;
Maurice Brady Award (For Hard News reporting): Olivia Richwald, Northern Echo;
Ian Weir Memorial Award (North East Picture of the Year): Richard Rayner, North News & Pictures;
Jim Merrington Prize (Best portfolio of pictures): Iain Buist, Evening Chronicle;
Eric Dobson Scroll (NE Trainee with highest NCTJ exam marks): Sophie Doughty, Teesdale Mercury.