The Regional Press Awards are to be held on Friday, 7 July at a lunchtime event that will also feature the inaugural Regional Newspaper Hall of Fame.
The awards — at a new venue, the Royal Lancaster Hotel overlooking Hyde Park in London — have been overhauled to ensure that the very best journalism in the regional press is properly celebrated.
The judging process has been updated too. Peter Sands, director of Press Association Training, will chair a rigorous two-stage process involving independent judges from across the country.
Entry forms will be available next week and the closing date for the 21 categories will be on 19 May.
Sands (pictured) has worked in regional journalism for almost 30 years and is one of the industry’s most respected figures.
He was editor of the Northern Echo at the age of 34 and later a member of Westminster Press’s senior executive team and a director of UK News.
He later bought the award-winning Westminster Press training centre in Hastings and in 2004 sold a 50 per cent stake in it to PA. He has redesigned 80 newspapers and magazines, trained countless journalists, helped run the Daily Mirror’s Academy of Excellence, set up journalism diplomas in Ireland and the Channel Islands and assisted newspapers in their strategic approaches.
Sands said: "I am honoured to be chairing these awards and look forward to confirming my long-held belief that, even in difficult times, regional newspaper journalists regularly produce work of outstanding quality."
The Regional Newspaper Hall of Fame follows Press Gazette’s highly successful event for the national newspaper industry during its 40th anniversary celebrations.
It will celebrate the 40 most influential people in regional newspapers in the past four decades. Their portraits will be on display at the event.