Urquhart named ‘Journalist of the year’ at Highlands & Islands Media Awards

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

Orkney Today