Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Press Awards: The secret to being a winner

GOOD TIMES AHEAD: Newspaper of the Year team from The Times
AMONG the many weird and wonderful jobs I had as general gofer for Thomson Regional Newspapers at the Watford bunker in the early 90s was ensuring that our papers won awards.
Sitting hundreds of miles from the action in Aberdeen, Belfast, Cardiff or Newcastle (plus Reading and Milton Keynes among others) I couldn’t affect the substance but I could add a little style.
Just making sure all the forms were correctly filled in and the ‘supporting statements’ were pithy yet, er, supportive was a job in itself.
And it worked.
Yes, of course the papers were very good but the attention to detail in making the judges’ task easy should not be underestimated.
The intensity of those inky-handed days came flooding back last night at the Society of Editors Press Awards, where I shared a table with the lovely people from Gorkana and tried not to divulge any insights from the confessional of the judges’ chambers where I had judged four categories and been panel chairman of two.
 It was an uplifting and invigorating night surrounded by talented, committed people fighting for the right to continue to practise journalism as we know it, Jim.
Congratulations, of course, to all the winners but two special mentions from me:
  • Nicola Jeal (right), another graduate of the Today school of journalism from the late 80s, now editor of The Times Magazine which won supplement of the year.
  • Jonathan Grun, now emeritus editor of the Press Association, given the Chairman’s Award. One of THE genuine good guys of journalism and shortly to appear in my next opus ‘60@sixty’ – more of which later…

Jonathan Grun (centre) with the grizzly old men of journalism, SoE executive director Bob Satchwell and  awards host Nick Ferrari