The Daily Mail was crowned Daily Newspaper of the Year for the fourth time at The London Press Club Awards lunch.
Other winners included The Times, which took the newly-created Weekend Newspaper of the Year award, and journalists from ITV, Sky, BuzzFeed, The Spectator, The London Evening Standard and the Mail on Sunday were honoured.
The glittering awards ceremony, held at the Corinthia Hotel, was packed with editors, journalists and presenters from the world of print, broadcast and digital media.
The compere, BBC News presenter, Kate Silverton, started by thanking the assembled audience of news gatherers – on what was her first day back at work – for “keeping me sane” during two years maternity leave.
Quoting the judging panel, she said that the Daily Mail’s ‘vigorous campaigns’ and ‘star-studded roster of columnists’ made the paper stand out among its competitors as ‘the one not to be missed’. They also praised its sports section and ‘strong opinion that makes grown men quake’.
‘If it’s not in this paper, it probably didn’t happen,’ said one member of the judging panel.
Accepting the award, the newspaper’s fourth in 11 years, editor-in-chief, Paul Dacre, paid tribute to the high quality of journalism in Britain, declaring that, at its best, it is ‘better today than it ever was’.
‘Our industry is populated by incredibly dedicated and hard-working people, many in the regions working on a pittance,’ he said.
‘Indeed, at the risk of blowing our own trumpet, I would like to say that no one works harder than the Mail’s journalists. I am constantly humbled at their selflessness, brilliance and passion for getting it right. I accept this award on their behalf.’
Of The Times Saturday edition, Silverton told the audience: “In a field crowded with excellent writing and comprehensive coverage of everything from politics to sport and finance to lifestyle, the judges thought the winner’s roster of suburb columnists gave the edge over weekend competitors.”
World record Marathon runner, Paula Radcliffe, was named Londoner of the Year, and flew to London from her training camp in Spain to collect her award.
She said she was honoured to receive such an accolade, and referring to unsubstantiated allegations of drug cheating last year, she added: “My integrity’s been challenged, but I know that my integrity is strong.”
The awards winners were announced by category, starting with Business Journalist of the year, which was taken by Sky’s Mark Kleinman.
Silverton told the audience: “Sometimes called ‘the scourge of the City’, Sky Business Editor Kleinman breaks news like no other broadcaster on a regular basis and surprises his competitors with his ability to dig out stories many City people wish he wouldn’t.”
The second category was Print Journalist of the Year, which was won by the Political Editor of the Mail on Sunday, Simon Walters.
Silverton said: “Scoop after breathtaking scoop furnished by the Political Editor of the MoS makes the paper unmissable for those inside and outside the Westminster bubble.”
Digital Journalist of the Year award went to Heidi Blake of BuzzFeed.
“In joining Buzzfeed over the last year, Heidi Blake has continued to grow her reputation as a highly formidable investigative journalist and helped the platform on its journey towards being regarded as a serious news site. Her work on breaking the tennis scandal last year not only was a global story, but a powerful indication in how future online media can use data to break huge stories,” Silverton told the audience.
Julie Etchingham of ITV picked up the Broadcast Journalist of the Year award for her work as one of the solo presenters of News at Ten.
“A news-making interviewer in her own right on ‘Tonight’ and as the moderator of the only election debate in which all the political leaders took part,” was what made her stand out to the judging panel.
In the hotly contested Scoop of the Year category, Miles Goslett, won for his expose of Kids Company which was published by The Spectator.
The judges said of Goslett’s work: “In taking on Kids Company and its two prominent mouthpieces, Camilla Batmanghelidjh and Alan Yentob, Miles Goslett was effectively tackling much of the British establishment. This was a charity beloved by so many in positions of power, not least the Prime Minister’s wife and some fairly powerful BBC top brass, so doggedness – and accuracy – were to be crucial.”
The Edgar Wallace Trophy, in honour of one of Fleet Street’s most famous journalists, was awarded to David Cohen, campaigns editor and chief feature writer of the London Evening Standard.
Chairman of the judges, Bill Hagerty, said: “There was no argument this year when the panel debated whose name should be added to previous inductees of one of journalism’s most exclusive clubs. The career to date of David Cohen made him the outstanding candidate, one whose work has already seen him win the Paul Foot Award, for spearheading the paper’s Frontline London campaign on gangs, and receive two Orwell Prize nominations, for series on The Dispossessed and disadvantaged young Londoners.
“What Cohen has achieved should provide inspiration for all journalism students and those considering working across the news media platforms.”