Highlands awards honour Macdonald

A lifetime of achievement in journalism by Martin Macdonald, the Inverness-based bilingual broadcaster and journalist, has been marked by his colleagues with the award of the prestigious Barron Trophy.

Macdonald received the award from Deputy First Minister Jim Wallace at the Highlands and Islands Press Ball last week, having completed 43 years in the industry.

After starting his career as Skye correspondent for the Inverness Courier and Oban Times he did freelance work for the national press while writing a weekly column for the West Highland Free Press.

In 1965, Macdonald joined the BBC in Glasgow as a Gaelic producer.

However, he missed journalism so freelanced in Glasgow before rejoining the BBC in Aberdeen as the editor of current affairs programme Northbeat.

He was also Scottish editor at Westminster during the pioneering parliament broadcasting experiment in 1975. From 1984-86 Macdonald worked as a freelance journalist/ broadcaster.

He is currently writing historical features for The Press and Journal and BBC Scotland radio.

Gordon Fyfe, chairman of the awards judging panel, said: “At the age of 66 Martin is still producing the high quality of researched feature writing in Gaelic and English that has become his trademark. He is a gifted descriptive storyteller, a pioneering broadcaster, easy company, a valued friend and adviser, a super ambassador for Skye, the Highlands and the Gaelic language and culture and the doyen of Gaelic journalism in our area.”

Macdonald said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been awarded this recognition by my friends in the world of journalism.”

Helen Bushnell, reporter on the Highland News, Inverness, won the Highlands and Islands Journalist of the Year award along with £500, £300 of which will be donated to a charity of her choice.

From Torrin, Skye, Bushnell has worked for the Highland News for three years. A previous Young Journalist of the Year, she impressed judges with her range of news reports and features.

Another success on the night was the local newspaper serving Moray, The Northern Scot, which was voted Newspaper of the Year for the second year in a row. Staff photographer Eric Cormack won Local Newspaper Photographer of the Year and, to complete a hat-trick of successes, Peter Jones, who runs the Moray News Agency, was named Reporter of the Year.

Northern Scot editor Pauline Taylor said: “We have a magnificent team of first-class journalists. They are hard working, loyal, truthful and full of inspired talent. Our paper truly is a great Scot and we intend to keep it that way.”

The full list of award-winners is: Local Newspaper Photographer of the Year: Eric Cormack, The Northern Scot.

Photographer of the Year: John Baikie, freelance, Caithness.

Journalist of the Year: Helen Bushnell, Highland News, Inverness.

Young Journalist of the Year: Ally McGilvray, John O’Groat Journal.

Sportswriter of the Year: Robert Leslie, Orkney Today. Highly commended: Jim Tait, Shetland Times.

Local Reporter of the Year: Gavin Musgrove, Strathspey & Badenoch Herald.

Reporter of the Year: Peter Jones, freelance, Moray.

Feature Writer of the Year: Claire Doughty, Highland News.

Community Newspaper of the Year: Touler, Tomintoul.

Newspaper of the Year: The Northern Scot, Elgin.

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