Paywall plea from Witherow as Times titles take newspaper of the year double at London Press Club awards

News UK scored a double at the London Press Club awards as The Times and Sunday Times were named daily and Sunday newspaper of the year.

Times editor John Witherow urged other publishers to follow News UK’s lead and charge for their journalism online.

He said: “We were one of the first publishers to put our content behind a paywall seven years ago. It’s doing very well and we are pleased that other newspapers are beginning to follow us. I think the more that do, the better it will be for journalism.”

Private Eye editor Ian Hislop was named print journalist of the year at a time when his title has achieved the highest ABC sales figure in its 55-year history.

He said Private Eye’s success was proof that “journalism is A, worth doing, and B, worth paying for both in terms of paying journalists and the public paying up for it”.

Evening Standard columnist Anthony Hilton picked up the Edgar Wallace Award for writing or reporting of the highest quality.

He said: “My message for the people in this room is that news doesn’t come to you, you’ve got to go to the news.

“If mechanisms can be found to free journalists from their word processors to go out and find out what’s going on, and what people don’t want to be published, then we do have a future.”

Digital journalist of the year went to Lara O’Reilly for her work on BusinessInsider.com. She thanked Press Gazette’s editor for giving her a start in journalism in 2009 when she was a journalism undergraduate at Kingston University.

Emily Maitlis of the BBC was named broadcast journalist of the year for her work reporting on Donald Trump and the US.

She dedicated the award to “the man who made the copy to do it and who made news great again”.

Oliver Shah of The Sunday Times won business journalist of the year for Sir Philip Green and the collapse of BHS.

The Londoner of the Year award went to Her Majesty the Queen and was accepted on her behalf by Prince Andrew.

He told the audience of journalists and senior editors at London’s Corinthia Hotel: “Even though we get criticised, keep doing what you do.”

 Picture: Reuters/Andrew Winning

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