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Regional Press Awards Categories

The awards recognise the work of regional news journalists in print and digital platforms. Reporters, feature writers, interviewers and photographers working for agencies are also eligible to enter work published between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020.

Entries can be made for work published in print, website, online, mobile, video, audio or any other news delivery format in any UK regional or local newspaper or any news website or platform covering UK regional news (excluding broadcast media).

All entries must be endorsed by the editor or managing editor in or on whose publication or digital platform they appeared. Full guidance for entry can be downloaded here.

Entries can be made here until Friday 30 April 2021 at 23.59.

Notes for categories

  • * Journalists in these categories can submit three articles, including up to one joint byline
  • ** Two or more journalists working together on up to three examples of work. Can include work by full section teams. Judges’ focus will be on strength of examples submitted rather than numbers of journalists

Young Journalist of the Year *

Open to journalists aged 26 or under on 31 December 2020 who have not previously been shortlisted for this award. Entries may include work from any journalistic discipline. Judges will be looking for the individual who has made significant impact over the year.

Business and Finance Journalist of the Year *

For reporters and commentators covering all aspects of business and personal finance. Judges will be looking for the ability to break stories and explain issues to a general audience.

Specialist Writer/ Impact Journalist of the Year *

For journalists with specialisms not covered by any other category such as health, fashion, travel, science, health, environment, motoring and politics. The judges will look for journalists who break stories, analyse and explain their subject for a wider audience.

Feature Writer/ Long Form Journalist of the Year*

Quality of writing is paramount. Judges will be looking for journalists who demonstrate a compelling style in news reportage, colour writing, analysis and backgrounders.

Please consider very carefully whether your entry is more suitable for this category or Reporter of the Year (Weekly or Daily/ Sunday).

Columnist of the Year – Daily/ Sunday Papers *

Entrants should have a regular by-lined column or blog. The winner will be a journalist with a special style and the ability to provoke debate that may annoy as much as delight.

Columnist of the Year – Weekly Papers *

Entrants should have a regular by-lined column or blog. The winner will be a journalist with a special style and the ability to provoke debate that may annoy as much as delight.

Sports Journalist of the Year – Daily/ Sunday Papers*

Open to sports news writers, match reporters, feature writers and columnists on daily/ Sunday newspapers. Entries may be from a variety of sports or one specialist area. Judges will be looking for good writing and agenda setting reporting.

Sports Journalist of the Year – Weekly Papers*

Open to sports news writers, match reporters, feature writers and columnists on weekly newspapers. Entries may be from a variety of sports or one specialist area. Judges will be looking for good writing and agenda setting reporting.

Social Media Journalist of the Year*

Open to anyone who regularly uses social media to enhance the public’s awareness of their own work and that of their publication/website. Entries may focus on an individual’s year-long all-round input or specific cases where an individual has shown imagination, technical awareness and flair to use the medium to full effect.

Reporting Communities Award

This award seeks to recognise the tremendous work that goes on in regional newspapers to ensure all communities are well covered. Entries can come from individual journalists or news teams that can show how they have ensured the diverse communities in their publication’s region are well served and that their journalists reach out to provide reporting that is inclusive and all-encompassing regardless of ethnicity, ability, faith or sexuality.

Weekly Reporter of the Year *

The category for weekly newspaper reporters who provide the heart and soul of any newspaper. The judges will be looking for well-researched exclusives brilliantly told. Tenacity, flair, investigative skill and an ability to handle difficult subjects carefully will score highly.

Daily/ Sunday Reporter of the Year*

The category for daily/ Sunday newspaper reporters who provide the heart and soul of any newspaper. The judges will be looking for well-researched exclusives brilliantly told. Tenacity, flair, investigative skill and an ability to handle difficult subjects carefully will score highly.

Visual Awards

Weekly Photographer of the Year

News, sports and features pictures used in a weekly newspaper are eligible. Judges will look for versatility, technical skill and the ability to capture the picture that matters. The mood of an interview, subject or feature needs to come across strongly.

Daily/ Sunday Photographer of the Year

News, sports and features pictures used in a daily/ Sunday newspaper are eligible. Judges will look for versatility, technical skill and the ability to capture the picture that matters. The mood of an interview, subject or feature needs to come across strongly.

Designer of the Year – Newspaper

An award for designers and graphic artists. Judges will look at finished pages that demonstrate innovative and skilled design and layout.

Designer of the Year – Magazine/ Supplement

An award for designers and graphic artists. Judges will look at finished pages that demonstrate innovative and skilled design and layout.

Team Awards

Supplement/ Section of the Year

Entries will be judged on outstanding content, design, use of photography and readability. The supplement or section should be published at regular intervals – be that daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly – either with the newspaper or clearly linked to a local or regional paper.

Special Supplement of the Year

Entries will be judged on outstanding content, design, use of photography and readability for a special supplement produced as a one-off to mark a special event or achievement, either with the newspaper or clearly linked to a local or regional paper.

Magazine of the Year

Many publishers and individual regional news centres produce high standard, superbly designed, monthly or regular standalone magazines, but not one-off or annual publications. These are packed with wonderful content, are beautifully illustrated and give the national magazines a run for their money. This award recognises the growth in the quality of these magazines and seeks to reward one of the outstanding success stories of the regional press. The magazine must be produced as part of a stable of products from a regional news publisher. Entries will be judged on outstanding content, design, use of photography and readability.

Front Page of the Year – Weekly Papers

Judges will be looking for the outstanding and most memorable front page published in a regional or local newspaper during the year.

Front Page of the Year – Daily/ Sunday Papers

Judges will be looking for the outstanding and most memorable front page published in a regional or local newspaper during the year.

Scoop of the Year

The story or series of stories that everyone else wished they had broken. This can be a team or individual award.

Campaign of the Year – Daily/ Sunday Papers

Judges will be looking for campaigns that made waves, struck a chord with readers and simply made a difference. This can be a team or individual award. Entries will also be automatically considered for the Making a Difference award, organised by News Media Association.

Campaign of the Year – Weekly Papers

Judges will be looking for campaigns that made waves, struck a chord with readers and simply made a difference. This can be a team or individual award. Entries will also be automatically considered for the Making a Difference award, organised by News Media Association.

Website of the Year

The judges will look for excellent reporting, writing or flair and innovation in content, design and delivery and interaction with readers and will seek to recognise journalistic achievement online. Screengrabs showing examples of a brand’s use of an app are encouraged for those entries which have shifted or expanded into this medium.

Social Media Team of the Year **

Open to news teams that have as a unit made the best use of social media platforms to reach out and engage with the public. Entrants may focus on sustained overall year-long achievements or pinpoint specific cases with breaking stories or campaigns. The judges will be looking for imagination, flair and technical know-how across a broad range of social media options.

Data Journalist of the Year *

This award seeks to recognise those journalists who are making use of the wealth of data and information that is now available to newsrooms. It could be using their skills to mine data bases for that nugget of information that cracks a story wide open, or fantastic use of FoI, or tracking down and interpreting facts for readers that reveals a true insight into an important story.

Digital Live News Reporter of the Year *

This award seeks to recognise those journalists who go live either on Facebook or via live blogs or live tweeting that through their skill and understanding of the medium take the reader and viewer with them to the heart of the action. Submissions could include reporters bringing to life the latest breaking news stories or sports journalists producing the latest sporting updates.

Digital Initiative of the Year

This category focuses on those bright ideas that changed the face of digital coverage. This could be an individual’s single idea that shaped a massive response from the public, or a team effort that showed flair and imagination as well as technical know-how.

The Overall Digital Award

The judges will look for the newspaper that produces the best journalism and service to readers on a range of platforms whether this be website, mobile or any other means. Special attention will be made to innovation and use of social media including blogs.

Other Awards

Chairman’s Special 2020 Award

This award is to recognise individual journalists, teams and support staff who have gone that extra, extra mile to ensure their publications/websites continued to function during the 2020 Covid-19 crisis. The award will acknowledge the Herculean efforts that have been undertaken in the regional press to overcome the challenges during the pandemic of ensuring the news got through under the most difficult of circumstances.

The award can recognise efforts to ensure the day-to-day, week-to-week news production and delivery, the launch of one-off special initiatives, individual initiatives.

The award is not just open to journalists, but also the ‘backroom’ teams – IT, production, administration – who worked to achieve miracles.

Entries for the award will be highlighted in the Society of Editors regular Bulletins, on its website and as a record of the Covid-19 Response from the UK Regional Media.

The Cathryn Nicoll Award

The award is open to any journalist working for a weekly or daily local or regional newspaper published in the UK, who is aged between 18 and 25 as of the entry closing date of 5 March 2020. Entrants must submit a published feature or news story based on an interview that they have carried out with a well- known person or celebrity between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020. The judges will be looking for what they consider to be the best entry on the basis of quality, flair and originality of the prose and contribution to public debate or entertainment.

Set up by the News Media Association, the Award has been launched in memory of Cathryn Nicoll who held the position of news editor at the Croydon Advertiser during her career as a journalist. Cathryn was known for her passionate belief in journalistic standards and training, and the award will highlight and reward brilliant interviewing and feature writing by young journalists, with a cash prize of £500 for the winner.

Journalists’ Charity Award

The winner will be chosen by the Journalists’ Charity and is in the gift of the charity’s council and recognises an individual or body that has made an outstanding contribution to journalism and journalists in any way. This award cannot be entered.

Newspaper of the Year Awards

Paid for Weekly Newspaper of the Year

i) Above 50,0000 total monthly reach for U.K. publications (not including Northern Ireland) + above 10,000 circulation for Northern Ireland titles

ii) Below 50,000 total monthly reach for U.K. publications (not including Northern Ireland) + below 10,000 circulation for Northern Ireland titles ***

These categories will be judged by panels of experienced senior journalists or former journalists from all parts of the media. They will consider the achievements of each of the entries across all platforms set out in submissions by editors. The judges will look for service to the local community, great exclusives and successful campaigns, editorial achievements and other outstanding journalism. 

Daily Newspaper of the Year

i)  Above 400,000 total monthly reach for U.K. publications (not including Northern Ireland) + above 15,000 circulation for Northern Ireland publications

ii) Below 400,000 total monthly reach for U.K. publications (not including Northern Ireland) + below 15,000 circulation for Northern Ireland publications***

Daily Newspaper of the Year categories will be judged by panels of experienced senior journalists or former journalists from all parts of the media. They will consider the achievements of each of the entries across all platforms set out in submissions by editors. The judges will look for service to the local community, great exclusives and successful campaigns, editorial achievements and other outstanding journalism.

*** Category figures for total monthly reach are calculated using data from JICREG, November 2019. For titles from Northern Ireland, the entry criteria has been kept the same as that of last year’s Newspaper of the Year categories as JICREG data does not cover Northern Ireland.

Sunday Newspaper of the Year

This category – new for 2020 – will be judged by a panel of experienced senior journalists or former journalists from all parts of the media. They will consider the achievements of each of the entries across all platforms set out in submissions by editors. The judges will look for service to the local community, great exclusives and successful campaigns, editorial achievements and other outstanding journalism.

Free Weekly Newspaper of the Year

Free Weekly Newspaper of the Year will be judged by panels of experienced senior journalists or former journalists from all parts of the media. They will consider the achievements of each of the entries across all platforms set out in submissions by editors. The judges will look for service to the local community, great exclusives and successful campaigns, editorial achievements and other outstanding journalism.