Unsung news agency journalists recognised at NAPAs

The life and work of Sunday Mirror journalist Rupert Hamer was recognised with a special award at the National Association of Press Agencies awards.

The NAPAs recognise the work of the normally un-bylined reporters and photographers who provide many of the biggest stories for the national press.

Hamer was killed aged 39 by an improvised explosive device while embedded with US forces in Afghanistan in January this year. He was the first British journalist to be killed covering the current conflict in Afghanistan.

The Rupert Hamer award for best young talent was sponsored by the Sunday Mirror and reflected the fact that Hamer formerly worked as a reporter for INS news agency in Reading.

The prize went to Simon Boyle of Mercury Press Agency for: ‘Hotel bosses’ ‘bomb rant’ at Muslim guest”. This was the Sun story which revealed that two Christian hotel owners called a guest who came down to breakfast wearing a hijab a terrorist.

The prize for exclusive news/sport story of the year went to Nick Constable of West Coast News for ‘Marines could have rescued pirate hostages’in the Mail on Sunday.

This was the story revealing that marines were all set to rescue two British hostages kidnapped by Somali pirates but that the order to start the operation never came.

Spec news/sport story of the year, for stories found by news agencies and sent in speculatively to publishers, went to Andrew Whelan of Ferrari Press Agency for his Daily Mirror front page headlined: ‘Fergie terror as killer aide goes on the run”.

Feature story of the year went to Rachel Dale of Cavendish Press for the widely-covered story about a woman whose husband tried to poison her with mercury.

None of the winners in the story categories were given a byline in the publication which used their work.

Picture of the year (UK) went to Jonathan Short of London Features International for his shot of London mayor Boris Johnson falling up to his waist into a London river during a publicity stunt.

Picture of the year (rest of the world) went to David Schultz of Solent news for his comical photo of three penguins.

Sports picture of the year went to Andrew Boyers of Action Images for his shot of an Australian batsman losing his wicket.

The awards were presented by journalist and broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson on Friday night in London.

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