YOUR Echo has been named daily newspaper of the year in the regional journalism awards. We saw off tough competition to win the top prize at the EDF Energy East of England Media Awards.
Judges at the prestigious ceremony, which took place in Newmarket, praised the Echo for “delivering exactly what it says on the tin”. The judges described the Echo as “page after page of page-turning news.” Editor Martin McNeill said: “It’s a great tribute to the fantastic team of journalists at the Echo.
“We know readers love the paper because it has one of the best sales records in the industry, but it is wonderful to have the paper’s quality recognised by a team of experts.
“Our journalists work hard to produce the big exclusives and cover the issues that matter to our readers.” As well as winning the newspaper of the year award, Echo staff dominated the news reporting sections.
Echo investigative reporter Jon Austin was named daily print journalist for the seventh year in a row. Fellow Echo reporters Gina Marden and Melissa Hills were shortlisted in the category. Jon Austin also won specialist journalist of the year, a category in which Gina was also shortlisted. Jacqueline McMillan was shortlisted as newcomer of the year.
Judges were impressed with Jon’s investigation into a Basildon firm which has taken £300million of investors’ cash for luxury Carribean apartments yet has so far only built 300 out of 6,000.
Jon’s entries also included stories on police failings after the mysterious death of Lee Balkwell, who was crushed beneath a cement mixer, and an expose of a fraudulent accountant.
The judges said: “All these stories got the ‘Austin treatment’, resulting in page after page of exclusives and follow-up reports.” The awards recognise the best of journalism in the East of England. They are open to newspaper, website, radio and TV journalists in Essex, Suffolk, Cambridge, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.