The Manchester Evening News took home a clutch of awards at the Regional Press Awards today for its work in 2017, the year in which 22 people were killed and hundreds injured in a terror attack in the city.
The MEN, owned by Reach (formerly Trinity Mirror), was named Daily/Sunday Newspaper of the Year (with a circulation above 20,000) prompting journalists at rival publications to stand and applaud the news team as they collected the prize.
The newspaper’s splash, printed just hours after the fatal bomb blast at a music venue on 22 May and simply headlined: “Massacre” (pictured), won Front Page of the Year. Judges said it had “summed up the enormity of what had been unfolding in the city centre”.
Its campaign, #WeStandTogether, which followed in the wake of the tragedy, was named Campaign of the Year. Judges said it “brought the entire community together and celebrated the things that make Manchester great despite the temptation to take an opposite view”.
The MEN was also named Website of the Year and Social Media Team of the Year, with the paper’s Jennifer Williams winning the prize for Specialist Writer and Chris Osuh named Feature Writer of the Year.
Accepting the Newspaper of the Year prize was new MEN editor-in-chief Darren Thwaites, who thanked his predecessor, Rob Irvine, “for leading the team through last year with such distinction”.
He added: “Of course, at this time, with the anniversary of the attack on Tuesday [next week] our thoughts are very much with the victims and families, the brave emergency responders and of course the people of Manchester.”
The judges said: “The Manchester Evening News had an exceptional year during 2017 and has been widely recognised for its work.
“Under former editor Rob Irvine, the paper produced outstanding coverage of the Manchester arena atrocity that was dignified, sympathetic and insightful. It reflected the grief and courage of a community in mourning.
“It continues to produce exceptional news, sport and business coverage both in print and online and its social media offerings and followers continue to reflect its strong community spirit.”
The awards, organised by the Society of Editors and presented at the IET, Savoy Place, in London also saw the Newsquest-owned Mail (formerly the North West Evening Mail) awarded the Daily/Sunday Newspaper of the Year (below 20,000 circulation).
The Bucks Free Press was awarded the Weekly Newspaper of the Year (below 15,000 circulation) and the Camden New Journal took the weekly newspaper (above 15,000 circulation) award.
Archant was also a big winner with the Eastern Daily Press taking home the Overall Digital Award and the Digital Initiative of the Year Award for its innovative Archant Databank.
The Liverpool Echo took home the Scoop of the Year Award for reporter Joe Thomas’ investigation into the predatory exploitation of vulnerable young girls by two paedophile brothers.
The paper’s Josh Parry awarded the Young Journalist of the Year Award for his undercover reporting on “gay conversion” therapies while the Business and Finance Journalist was awarded to Alistair Houghton for his reports on the regeneration of the city.
The Western Mail was awarded the Supplement of the Year Award for its Weekend edition and Carolyn Hitt was named the Columnist of the Year. Trinity Mirror’s data unit was awarded the Innovation and Initiative of the Year Award.
Full list of 2017 winners:
YOUNG JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
Winner: Josh Parry, Liverpool Echo
Highly commended: Samantha Booth, Croydon Advertiser
BUSINESS AND FINANCE JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
Winner: Alistair Houghton, Liverpool Echo
Highly commended: Kevin Scott, The Herald, Glasgow
SPECIALIST WRITER/ IMPACT JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jennifer Williams, Manchester Evening News
Highly commended: Paul Brackley, Cambridge Independent
FEATURE WRITER /LONG FORM JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
Winner: Chris Osuh, Manchester Evening News
Highly commended: Peter Barron, The Northern Echo and Jennifer Williams, Manchester Evening News
COLUMNIST OF THE YEAR
Winner: Carolyn Hitt, Western Mail
Highly commended: Bill Heine, Oxford Mail and Paul Kirkley, Cambridge Independent
WEEKLY SPORTS JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jon Colman, The Cumberland News
Highly commended: Chris Harby, Melton Times
DAILY/SUNDAY SPORTS JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
Winner: Cahair O’Kane, The Irish News
Highly commended: Neil Allen, The News, Portsmouth
SOCIAL MEDIA JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR
Winner: Brendan Hughes, The Irish News
Highly commended: David Pritchard, Oxford Mail
REPORTING COMMUNITIES AWARD
Winner: Sam Jackson, The Star, Sheffield
Highly commended: Mark Taylor, Cambridge Independent
WEEKLY REPORTER OF THE YEAR – sponsored by UK Power Networks
Winner: William McLennan, Camden New Journal
Highly commended: Charles Thomson, Yellow Advertiser
DAILY/SUNDAY REPORTER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jeanette Oldham, Birmingham Mail
Highly commended: Gordon Blackstock, Sunday Post and Marion Scott, Sunday Post
WEEKLY PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Mark Williamson, Stratford-upon-Avon Herald
Highly commended: Michael Gillen, The Falkirk Herald
DAILY/SUNDAY PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
Winner: James Hardisty, The Yorkshire Post
Highly commended: Tim Thursfield, Express & Star, Wolverhampton
DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Tracey Renowden, Western Morning News
Highly commended: Gary Beckwith, The Chronicle, Newcastle and David Lewins, Bristol Post
SUPPLEMENT OF THE YEAR
Winner: Weekend, Western Mail
Highly commended: The Spirit of Manchester, Manchester Evening News
FRONT PAGE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Massacre, Manchester Evening News
Highly commended: Devastation, The Mail
SCOOP OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jailed for 40 years, Liverpool Echo
Highly commended: 33 police officers say they were abused by disgraced force doctor, Eastern Daily Press and Uni boss to be paid £230k for 6 months’ research, Bath Chronicle
CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
Winner: #WeStandTogether, Manchester Evening News
Highly commended: Cleaner Coastlines, Weston, Worle and Somerset Mercury
MAKING A DIFFERENCE AWARD
Winner: Sling the Mesh – Cambs Times
WEBSITE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Manchester Evening News
Highly commended: The Yorkshire Post
SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM OF THE YEAR
Winner: Manchester Evening News
Highly commended: WalesOnline
DIGITAL INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Archant Databank, Eastern Daily Press
Highly commended: Brummie Mummies, Birmingham Mail
THE OVERALL DIGITAL AWARD
Winner: Eastern Daily Press
Highly commended: Manchester Evening News
INNOVATION AND INITIATIVE AWARD OF THE YEAR
Winner: Trinity Mirror Data Unit
Highly commended: The Bristol Cable
JOURNALISTS’ CHARITY AWARD
Winner: Peter Sands
WEEKLY NEWSPAPER (BELOW 15,000)
Winner: Bucks Free Press
Highly commended: Cambridge Independent
WEEKLY NEWSPAPER (ABOVE 15,000)
Winner: Camden New Journal
Highly commended: The Cumberland News
DAILY/SUNDAY NEWSPAPER (BELOW 20,000)
Winner: The Mail
Highly commended: South Wales Echo
DAILY/SUNDAY NEWSPAPER (ABOVE 20,000)
Winner: Manchester Evening News
Highly commended: Sunday Post