A Birmingham reporter whose drunken resignation became a Youtube sensation was the toast of the Midlands media last night after scooping a top award.
Adam Smith, aka Steve Zacharanda, was named Weekly Journalist of the Year at the Midlands Media Awards.
The accolade marks a turnaround for Smith who lost his job at the Birmingham Mail after drunkenly announcing his resignation whilst covering the 2008 US presidential election during a now infamous video interview with a Dutch journalist.
The Youtube clip made headlines around the world but saw Smith, 38, lose his journalism job and sell electricity door-to-door.
Seven years later he has been recognised for his work on the Halesowen News.
Held at Villa Park, the Birmingham Press Club event was attended by print, broadcast and online journalists from across the region.
Smith won for his investigation into the English Defence League and for uncovering a school’s 'ban' on the Black Country accent.
Smith said: "This is the first time I've entered the MMA for nearly ten years as I figured I'd offended so many people in my 14 years as a journalist. But I had some cracking stories last year and I am delighted I entered. Just being around so many talented journalists is great.
“After my Obama episode I was selling commission-only insurance but I got two day’s freelancing at the Halesowen News five years ago and have loved every minute. I work with great people in a great patch."
“Hopefully this award shows there is still a place for the old-school hack in this ever-changing world of journalism.”
Members of the MMA judging panel said: “Adam is clearly a journalist immersed in his local community, who delivers high quality and topical stories featuring a range of subjects often then picked up nationally."
Documentary maker Lee Kenny followed Smith for three months for his film Obama & Me: The Incredible True Story of a YouTube Sensation – which will get its London premiere in September.
Full list of winners for the Midlands Media Awards
Blogger of the Year – Lewis Pacelli & Andy Taylor – Down the 18th.
Business Journalist of the Year – Jon Griffin, Birmingham Mail
Campaign of the Year – Caroline Jones, Derby Telegraph
Columnist of the Year – Daniel Wainwright, Express & Star
Feature Writer of the Year – Justine Halifax, Birmingham Mail
Headline of the Year – John Butterworth, Black Country Bugle. “Has Dudley Council Lost the Plot?”
Journalist of the Year – Zena Hawley, Derby Telegraph
Magazine of the Year – Winner – artsbeat
Newcomer/Student of the Year – Emma Burrows, ITV News Central
Newspaper of the Year – Derby Telegraph
News Photo of the Year – Will Johnston, Leicester Mercury
News Reporter of the Year (Daily) – Katy Hallam, Birmingham Mail
News Reporter of the Year (Weekly) – Adam Smith, Halesowen News
News Website of the Year – Birmingham Mail
Public Choice – Dine Birmingham, a platform for reviews and news about the city’s thriving gastro scene.
Scoop of the Year – Zena Hawley, Derby Telegraph
Sports Journalist of the Year – Martin Swain, Express & Star
Sports Photographer of the Year – Mike Sewell, Leicester Mercury
Supplement of the Year – Lincolnshire Echo
Television Journalist of the Year – Victoria Davies, ITV News Central
The Tony Flanagan Award for News Photographer of the Year – Darren Quinton, Birmingham Post & Mail