In our opinion: Award ceremonies

ALLMEDIASCOTLAND has long wondered if there is a gap in the market for a new set of Scottish media awards; to recognise the best of Scotland’s……,er, frankly, to up the site’s profile, underline an extra degree of credibility and earn some dough to keep the show on the road.

But the country is awash with them, and none more passionately contested – in the opinion of this humble writer – than the Scottish Press Awards.

But the Scottish Press Awards could learn a thing or two from its Highlands and Islands counterpart, which took place on Friday evening, in Nairn.

Allmediascotland had never previously attended them but booked into a delightful B&B a couple of hours before this year’s event with any number of people assuring a good time would be had by all.

Through the mist of a pretty decent hangover, the verdict is: The Highlands and Islands Press Ball – during which the media awards are handed out – has to be the most fun of the lot.

It’s the lack of self-consciousness. Guests bring along partners and partners greet each other with genuine affection – well, they have nothing too obvious to lose, they’re not protecting a media reputation. And when one of the organisers – from the podium – informs the diners that a cheque is destined for a ‘therapy garden’ on a Western Isle, there is not a heckler to be heard.

Every year, it is the same two main speakers, and the prospect of their welcome is a source of excitement. When The Scotsman’s John Ross delivers his first deadpan aside, it’s as if he’s given permission for the festivities to begin.

At the Scottish Press Awards, it is more serious, more knowing; up north, it’s more like family. In Glasgow, it’s glitzy and the stakes are higher; in Nairn, there aren’t the same usual suspects and they seem genuinely pleased to be so.

Not that there are many mentions of the media. In fact, word of the award recipients is routinely not shared with the likes of And the award winners – but for the recipient of the Journalist of the Year title – all turn up having already heard of their success.

It’s less a competition, more of a celebration.

Local newspapers – heavily represented in a way that they are not at the Scottish Press Awards – may or may not be fearing for their very future, but if there is anything to be said about them, it’s as simple and as complicated as ‘Thank you’.

A full throttle, Orkney Strip the Willow, at the end of the evening, seemed to say it all.