Wide consultation leads to all-new British Press Awards

The British Press Awards 2006 will be held at the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane on Monday 20 March.

After
wide consultation with the industry following criticisms of last year’s
event, significant changes have been made to the format and the judging
process. The number of categories has been reduced, as has the number
of people who will be able to attend the event. No individual
categories will be sponsored.

Charles Wilson, chairman of the
judges, said: “We have listened to the views and criticisms of previous
press awards from a wide selection of editors and senior journalists in
an attempt to reach a consensus.

“Their comments mainly concerned
the organisation of the judging process and the awards ceremony. We
have made a number of changes as a result of these suggestions and we
are still open to any further improvement possible within what is now a
fairly tight timescale.

“For instance, we have designed a smaller but more attractive ceremony in one of the most elegant venues in London.”

“Our
original intention was to make a number of categories subject to a
final ‘academy’-style judging process. Having taken on board industry
comments, we now plan to use the academy vote for only one category,
Newspaper of the Year.

“For other categories, each of the
national newspapers will be asked to nominate a number of staff names
for a judging pool that will be augmented by a selection of respected
‘unattached’

names. A small jury, chaired by me, will then select chairs and members of each of the judging panels from the pool.”

“Our
aim is to create a totally fair and transparent judging process and an
enjoyable and dignified night of celebration of which the industry can
be proud.”

■ Amanda Berry, the chief executive of the British
Academy of Film and Television Arts, has joined the Press Gazette board
as a non-executive director. Widely credited with transforming the
BAFTA awards into a world-class event, Berry will advise on the
magazine’s events.

She said: “The reason I wanted to be involved
is that I see it as a huge opportunity to be part of an established
industry event where there is a real will to develop the awards and
create something very special indeed.”

Full details and entry forms will be published in Press Gazette shortly.

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