Society of Editors revives Regional Press Awards

A new awards programme to celebrate the achievements of the regional press is being launched jointly by the Society of Editors and the Newspaper Society.

The awards – to be called The Society of Editors Regional Press Awards – will open for entries from next month, with revenue generated by entry fees, table sales and sponsorship paying for the event.

Profits generated by the awards will be given to the Journalists’ Charity, organisers said today.

The Newspaper Society, the body which represents the interest of regional papers across the UK, said its members had agreed to support the new awards programme and would not take part in any competing events.

The Regional Press Awards had historically been run by Press Gazette but the event was retained by Wilmington when it sold Press Gazette to Progressive Media in April last year.

The National Union of Journalists took the decision to host a scaled-down version of the awards last June after Wilmington decided not to run the event because of a lack of support from the regional newspaper industry.

The situation is similar to the fate of the British Press Awards, which was effectively taken over by the Society of Editors last year.

The awards to recognise achievements in the national press, which had been run by Press Gazette for more than 20 years, was also retained by Wilmington Media following its decision to sell Press Gazette.

However, the Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade body which represents national newspaper owners, decided not to support any awards which did not benefit the industry and instead threw its backing behind the new ‘Press Awards’will be held on 5 April, and will also be run by the Society of Editors.

Georgina Harvey, president of the NS and managing director of Trinity Mirror Regionals, said: “It’s more important today than ever to celebrate the unique strengths of our industry.

“The regional and local press has a long and proud history of journalistic excellence and photographic prowess and I’m delighted we’ll have the chance to pay tribute to our best journalists and photographers with these new awards.”

Entries for the new regional awards will open on 14 February and close on 8 March, with shortlists published in early April.

Newspaper consultant and designer Peter Sands will chair the judges. A lunchtime awards ceremony will then be held in London on 11 May, to coincide with the Newspaper Society AGM and Local Newspaper Week 2011.

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the SoE, will oversee the awards in consultation with Lynne Anderson, communications director of the NS. The scheme will be reviewed after the first year.

Details on how to enter the awards will be published shortly on a dedicated website regionalpressawards.org.uk.

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