British Press Awards reveals the newspaper of the year finalists

The Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Guardian, Mail on Sunday and Observer have been shortlisted for the newspaper of the year award at this year's British Press Awards.

The shortlist was arrived at after the British Press Awards Academy ranked the newspapers between five and one and the point scores were added up.

Some 100 respected figures drawn from the world of journalism, who have read a broad range of newspapers over whole of 2006, cast their votes. Shortlists for the other "non-visual" award categories have also now been revealed (see below).

Tony Loynes, editor in chief, Press Gazette, said: "There has been a real sense that the British Press Awards are back as a pinnacle of journalistic achievement. For the first time in many years every national newspaper has entered. And consequently we have had more entries than many can recall.

"It's traditional at this point to say how high the standard of those entries has been, but rather than mouth platitudes I would simple point to the number of categories in which the judges were unable to reduce entries to the desired shortlist.

"This has given the final judging round a bigger problem than before, but it shows just how testing this process has been for some of the finest minds in British journalism. Need I say more?"

Hosted by Jon Snow, the evening takes place at London's Grosvenor House on Monday, 26 March. For table bookings call 020 7549 2549.

Newspaper of the year nominees: Daily Mail

The head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, used the Mail front page to call for troops to be pulled out of Iraq immediately.

In showbusiness, it printed the divorce papers filed by Heather Mills.

The paper campaigned for a national memorial for servicemen and women who have died since World War Two — the Lottery Fund eventually agreeing to pay. The paper prised Richard Littlejohn from The Sun and was one of the few titles to increase sales year-on-year.

Daily Mirror

The Mirror broke John Prescott's confession of an extra-marital affair in April and news of Sir Paul's McCartney's trial separation in May.

It carried the leaked memo revealing Tony Blair's "Blue Peter" exit strategy.

In showbusiness, The Mirror published pictures of Coronation Street star Craig Charles's crack cocaine addiction and carried Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond's first interview after his car accident.

The paper ran David Beckham's first and only interview after being dropped as England captain.

The Guardian

The Guardian broke the carousel fraud story, an issue which caused Revenue & Customs to assign an extra 500 officers to the case and revealed the day-long row between Blair and Brown which ended with seven MPs quitting the Government.

Investigations into the NHS computer firm, iSoft and BAE prompted investigations by the SFO.

Innovations included G24 — a constantly updated pdf of the newspaper and website comment site Comment is Free.

Mail on Sunday

The MoS published Tracey Temple's diaries of her affair with John Prescott, the front-page picture of Prescott "running"

Britain from his Dorneywood croquet lawn and the revelation that he had failed to declare gifts from an American casino boss.

It also revealed Gordon Brown's curry house plot to unseat Blair and broke the story of Alexander Litvinenko's poisoning in a sushi bar — also getting the first interview with his widow Marina. And it revealed how Lembit Opik had dumped weather girl Sian Lloyd for a Cheeky Girl.

Also enjoyed a year of circulation growth.

The Observer

Relaunched in January 2006 in the Berliner format.

High points included: Revealing that that Ruth Kelly had agreed to a convicted sex offender teaching in a school, breaking news of the sex-for-asylum scandal at the Home Office's Lunar House which led to a series of arrests, and the freedom on the internet campaign in association with Amnesty, which led to a UN conference.

Observer Woman was launched and its Sports monthly won magazine of the year at the Sports Industry Awards.

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