The Scottish Sun crowned Newspaper of the Year

THE Scottish Sun was last night crowned the Newspaper at the Year at the Scottish Press Awards, which also saw Bill Jamieson, of The Scotsman, chosen as Journalist of the Year.

Said the judges of the Sun, whose editor, David Dinsmore, collected the award: “[It has been] consistent across the board through the year, ran a broad range of stories and had a high standard across all areas including sports, news, presentation and photography. It also broke more stories that got people talking, was entertaining and agenda-setting.”

Jamieson, The Scotsman’s executive editor and economics writer, won his prize for his coverage of the recent banking crisis. In an inspiring acceptance speech – echoing that of the judging panel chair, former Scottish Parliament presiding officer, George Reid – he said: “Words are our gift that will see us through this storm and other storms.”

It was a more subdued awards ceremony than usual, perhaps because of the job cuts taking place throughout the industry. Absent from the proceedings was the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, whose journalists boycotted the event because they are on strike against compulsory job cuts – for three days, as of this morning – and whose senior management were therefore required to try to put the papers together. The absence meant there was not the normal banter that occurs between the Record/Sunday Mail and Sun/News of the World. Last year, and the year before, the Daily Record had been named Newspaper of the Year.

The evening’s lifetime achievement award went to Herald sportswriter, Doug Gillon. At a modest estimate, during his 41 years as a journalist, he has written 15,000 stories amounting to some six million words. He has been 30 years at The Herald. With deliberate exaggeration, his current editor, Donald Martin – who also chairs the awards organising body, the Scottish Daily Newspaper Society – said of his efforts during the Beijing Olympics: “He single-handedly produced more copy than probably the 200-strong BBC team.”

Said Gillon, in his acceptance speech: “I remain certain we will adapt successfully to the digital and online era. I’m less confident, however, that the staff-cutting rife throughout the industry will promote the kind of training and mentoring which I was fortunate to receive.

“So, if I may use this platform to urge anything, it’s to encourage a culture which helps nurture and encourage young journalists. It remains critical, and it is all of our futures.”

Gillon, however, was unable to top the evening by winning the Sports Feature Writer of the Year award, for which he was nominated – instead, it went, for a third successive time, to Scotland on Sunday’s Tom English. Also on the SoS table was Peter Ross, who took both the Magazine Writer and Feature Writer titles.

At the Sunday Times Scotland table, husband-and-wife team, Allan Brown and Anna Burnside, dominated the Arts/Entertainment Journalist category, Anna taking the runners-up spot, Allan the top spot.

Including its Newspaper of the Year award, the Sun lifted four prizes, while The Scotsman took six, including Journalist of the Year. The Daily Record pitched in with three, the same number as Scotland on Sunday.

Added Martin: “These are challenging times for Scottish newspapers but it is heartening to see that journalistic quality remains high. The standard of entry this year was, as always, outstanding.”