For only the second time in its 22-year history, a photographer has been named Journalist of the Year at the Highlands and Islands Media Awards.
At a ceremony held last night, Willie Urquhart of the West Highland Free Press, took the top prize at the awards, which had announced the winners of its other prizes a fortnight ago. Hence, Urquhart, who lives and works on Isle of Skye, knew, prior to arriving at the awards, that he had already scooped the Photographer of the Year title, ahead of Inverness-based freelancer, Trevor Martin.
The only other photographer to have taken the Journalist of the Year prize at the awards is John Paul.
Urquhart has been with the West Highland Free Press for 26 years and was winner of the Photographer of the Year title at the awards two years ago. He started out as a 'snapper' at the now defunct Sunday Standard, in Glasgow, as a trainee.
He said:”To follow John Paul is a real honour, I'm very proud of that. I'd like to thank my editor [at the West Highland Free Press], Ian McCormack, who gives me free reign.”
The guest speaker at the ceremony, held in Nairn, was local MSP, Fergus Ewing; as traditional, the evening got off to an uproarious start courtesy of the deadpan humour of MC, The Scotsman's John Ross.
The other award winners were:
Bord Na Gaidhlig Award for best Gaelic entry
Winner: Andreas Wolff, BBC Alba.
Highly Commended: Alasdair Campbell, West Highland Free Press
Best Use of Journalism on the Web
Winner: Steven Mckenzie, BBC
Local Newspaper Photographer of the Year
Winner: Gary Anthony, Scottish Provincial Press
Highly Commended: Eric Cormack, Northern Scot
Photographer of the Year
Winner: Willie Urquhart, West Highland Free Press
Highly Commended: Trevor Martin, freelance, Inverness
Young Journalist of the Year and the Alex Main Trophy
Winner: Fiona Miller, Moray Firth Radio
Highly Commended: Jenny Morrison, Inverness Courier
Sportswriter of the Year
Winner: Keith Mackenzie, West Highland Free Press
Highly Commended: Eric Mackinnon, Stornoway Gazette
Local Reporter of the Year
Winner: Andy Dixon, Inverness Courier
Highly Commended: Gavin Musgrove, Strathspey and Badenoch Herald
Reporter of the Year and the Jim Love Memorial Trophy
Winner: Louise Lee, ObanTimes
Highly Commended: Donald Wilson, Highland News
Feature Writer of the Year
Winner: Aileen MacNicol, Dunoon Observer
Highly Commended: Lorraine Shearer, Orcadian
UHI Millennium Institute Community Newspaper of the Year
Am Paipear, Benbecula
Newspaper of the Year