NPA wants industry-run national press awards in 2011

Newspaper Publishers Association – the trade association for the national newspaper industry – has withdrawn its backing from the current arrangements to run the British Press Awards.

The NPA said today it had decided to take the prize-giving “back into the industry” from next year and had asked the Society of Editors to administer a national press awards in 2011.

“The plan is to provide an editorial and journalism awards scheme for national newspapers in the UK that is independent of any one newspaper, fair and cost effective with proceeds retained within the industry,” a joint statement from the NPA and the Society of Editors said.

The proposal will see the Society of Editors take sole responsibility for organising the new awards and consult with national newspaper representatives over its categories, the judging process and the ceremony.

Under the new structure profits will be used to fund campaigning by the Society of Editors on behalf of the media and to support the Journalists’ Charity, which will be granted a minimum donation of ten per cent of net profits, the joint statement said.

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, has chaired the judges of the British Press Awards for the past two years.

Satchwell will now oversee the new awards in consultation with Jonathan Grun, editor of the Press Association.

In recent years the British Press Awards – the traditional awards ceremony of the national newspaper industry – have been run by Wilmington, previous owners of the Press Gazette.

Wilmington sold Press Gazette to Progressive Media in April last year but retained the ownership of the British Press Awards and ran last year’s prize-giving with the support of the NPA and the Journalists’ Charity.

Press Gazette understands those arrangements were put in place for just one year.

NPA said today its members had now undertaken to participate in the new awards and would not take part in any competing events.

It is not yet apparent if Wilmington would want to retain ownership of the British Press Awards name.

Clive Milner, chairman of the NPA, said: “Wilmington did a great job but we wanted proceeds from the awards to stay within the industry to help secure on-going finance for the work of the Society of Editors.

“Along with the society we also want to provide a regular contribution to the Journalists’ Charity.”

Donald Martin, president of the Society of Editors and editor of the Sunday Post in Scotland, said: “We are honoured to be asked to take over the organisation of the awards that celebrate the achievements of the best, most diverse and exciting press in the world,

“We have powerful membership across all sectors of the media but funding has always been limited. This arrangement will hopefully help to ensure we can continue working for the benefit of a free media and the public’s right to know.”

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