'Some redtop editors have lost the plot': Hill

Peter Hill receives his awards from John Sergeant

Peter Hill, the What the Papers Say Editor of the Year, has nothing but contempt for tabloid editors who publish "ego newspapers" – and fail to give people what they want to read.

Hill told competitors at the BBC2 programme’s annual awards lunch that he would give them a few tips on how to raise circulation.

"The secret of success is to actually produce papers people enjoy – revolutionary stuff!" he said.

Hill told Press Gazette his award was "a recognition that tabloids like the Daily Star are an important part of British culture, a vital part reat by many people every day.

"People who suggest the tabloids are dead are idiots. They need not be – if you produce newspapers that people want to read. Sometimes the redtop tabloid editors have lost the plot because they are not producing papers people want to read.

"They are producing ego newspapers."

Hill’s own extraordinary circulation rise, which has pushed Daily Star sales up 17.4 per cent year-on-year to 736,186, was the reason for his unanimous selection by the judges, who said he was a "brilliant" editor who "certainly knows his readers – he knows they can’t go a day without the Star, so he has launched a new Sunday Star".

The awards, which have often gone to broadsheets, followed their 2001 example by giving a tabloid editor the top title and pressed home this new message by giving four awards to the Daily Mirror and one to the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.

Presenter John Sergeant handed out Daily Mirror awards to Steve Dennis, Reporter of the Year, for his part in securing royal butler Paul Burrell’s story; to 3am Girls Jessica Callan, Niki Waldegrave and Suzanne Kerins, jointly for Showbiz Reporter of the Year; to Columnist of the Year Jonathan Freedland for his work in both the Mirror and The Guardian; and to graphic artist Carl Baldwin’s enhanced picture of the Argentinian football team "The Argentinian Wall" which won Favourite Picture of the Year.

Paul Dacre, editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail and MoS, collected the award for Scoop of the Year for the devastating e-mails that proved No 10 had lied in the Cheriegate saga.

Christina Lamb took the Foreign Reporter of the Year title for her work on the Sunday Telegraph. She is now with the Sunday Times. Martin Samuel of The Times was Sports Writer of the Year.

Edwina Currie, the subject of one of the year’s most surprising revelations over her affair with John Major, was guest speaker at the awards, which were organised by Granada TV.

By Jean Morgan

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