The Belfast Telegraph's website was named Website of the Year at the prestigious Coca-Cola CIPR Northern Ireland Media Awards.
The Tele was the main winner at the weekend’s glittering ceremony with our journalists picking up seven of the event’s top awards.
Hosted by BBC broadcaster Justin Webb at Belfast’s Europa Hotel, the newspaper lifted more awards than any other media organisation, capping off a hugely successful year.
Judges said: "The website's sheer breadth and depth made it a clear overall winner.
"The quality of journalism in all its forms available to readers at the touch of a button which has ensured the title’s success".
The biggest prize of the night — the Newspaper of the Year title — was followed by the CIPR Lifetime Achievement Award being presented to Roy Lilley, the former editor of the Belfast Telegraph.
Other winners included Claire McNeilly who was named Business Journalist of the Year for a series of investigative stories; Jane Hardy scooping the Feature Journalist of the Year award, and Heather Byrne lifting the Newspaper Production Journalist award.
The Belfast Telegraph’s Titanic Tales supplements won the Supplement of the Year category, while we also lifted the Media Website of the Year award.
In other categories, Ciaran Barnes from the Belfast Telegraph’s sister paper Sunday Life was named Print News Journalist of the Year, as well as receiving the Scoop of the Year Award.
Other Telegraph journalists to garner a mention were crime correspondent Deborah McAleese who was runner-up in the Print News Journalist category, and political editor Liam Clarke, commended in the Political Journalist section.
Education correspondent Lindsay Fergus and Belfast City correspondent Lesley-Anne McKeown were both commended in the Specialist Journalist of the Year category, while deputy editor Gail Walker was commended in the Columnist of the Year section.
Environment correspondent Linda Stewart was also commended in the Environmental Journalist of the Year category, while business correspondent Margaret Canning and reporter Amanda Poole were both commended in the Business Journalist category.
Congratulating the winners, chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in NI, Gillian Shields, said 2012 has been fantastic for the province as the world’s attention has been captured by events such as the Titanic centennial, golfing success and major concerts.
Maire Campbell, director of public affairs for main sponsor Coca-Cola HBC Northern Ireland, also congratulated the winners — paying tribute to all of the media professionals who work and report in Northern Ireland and “the extremely high standards of journalism they display”.
Newspaper of the Year and Daily Newspaper of the Year
The Belfast Telegraph was named Newspaper of the Year for its “consistently high standards of reporting”.
A panel of judges — made up of the some of the industry’s leading names — said the quality offered by the daily newspaper to its readers was evident in the number of individual awards handed out to Tele journalists.
Assembled guests at Friday night’s awards heard that Northern Ireland is extremely well served by all its daily and Sunday titles. The judges said regional titles set standards for news, features, investigations and campaigns that should be copied.
Praising the improvements in the Telegraph in recent months, the judges said the Belfast Telegraph now “offers a brilliant service to its readers every day, with consistently high standards of reporting”.
They added: “This year its depth of quality is reflected in the individual awards already presented this evening.
“The levels of professionalism and dedication to craft are obvious on every page.”
Website of the Year: belfasttelegraph.co.uk
Judges said it was “the sheer breadth and depth of the Belfast Telegraph’s online content” that made it “a clear overall winner”.
As print newspapers struggle to adapt to a rapidly changing market, the Belfast Telegraph continues to buck the trend by attracting more and more readers to its online version.
The panel said the fast-growing audience which logs on to the Belfast Telegraph’s website, www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk, indicates its success.
They said: “Its figures demonstrate how it engages with a growing audience across a number of platforms.”
The judges said it was the quality of journalism in all its forms available to readers at the touch of a button which has ensured the title’s success.
The Belfast Telegraph continues to succeed “in maintaining a flow of up-to-the-minute content, and of a high quality”, the judges added.
Business Journalist of the Year: Claire McNeilly
The CIPR judges said that reporting by Claire McNeilly, the Belfast Telegraph’s consumer correspondent, is “a case study in why great journalism matters in society”.
They added: “(It is) why we should be proud of this industry in Northern Ireland — sticking up for the citizen, investigating stories that others are trying to sweep under the carpet and making a difference.”
Claire’s extensive portfolio included an exclusive on the impact of air passenger duty in Northern Ireland, an interview with Finance Minister Sammy Wilson about the so-called Tesco tax, and an investigation into shop closures across the province.
Claire is a previous recipient of Newcomer of the Year and Specialist of the Year awards for an outstanding series of scoops — both of which she was awarded in 2010.
Newspaper Supplement of the Year: Titanic Tales
In case anyone hasn’t noticed, this is Titanic’s centenary year — and the Belfast Telegraph seized the opportunity to acclaim, CIPR judges said.
Assembled journalists and photographers heard that the Tele’s “comprehensive, lavishly illustrated five-part Titanic supplement” celebrated “Northern Ireland’s great industrial heritage”.
Judges added: “No aspect was ignored, from the shipyard and its builders to the personal stories associated with the liner.
“Particularly impressive were the two Titanic Tales issues, using a quirky comic-book style to reveal some astonishing facts about the iconic liner.”
Titanic Tales were published in the run-up to last month’s centenary of the sinking of the ship.
Production Journalist of the Year: Heather Byrne
Designer Heather Byrne was commended for a highly skilled and professional portfolio which caught the eye of the CIPR judges.
Judges said her eclectic and substantial body of work displayed impressive flair — mixing cut-outs with points of interest.
Her portfolio is always consistent in maintaining solid typographical and design disciplines, they added.
Judges also noted Heather’s skill in displaying a substantial body of text in a way that is always accessible to the Belfast Telegraph’s readers — adding significantly to the title’s cutting edge look without losing touch with its readers. The judges added: “(Heather’s) great work makes the paper look modern, stylish and very readable.”
Feature Journalist of the Year: Jane Hardy
Jane Hardy received the Feature Journalist of the Year award to resounding applause.
Judges said they handpicked Jane for her skill as a writer and interviewer.
The audience heard that no topic was too controversial for Jane. The Kent woman’s work included an interview with Charlie Daniels, a former prostitute and ‘madam of the North’, whose grandparents hailed from east Belfast.
The judges said: “The award goes to a classy feature writer and interviewer of great skill — demonstrated in diverse submissions on a range of topics that were sometimes controversial and always illuminating and entertaining.”
Jane and her journalist husband Michael Conaghan also received a mention for their work on the Belfast Telegraph’s Titanic Supplement — which was awarded the CIPR Supplement of the Year award.
Who won what: The full list of winners
Coca-Cola CIPR Newspaper of the Year
Lifetime Achievement Award
Roy Lilley, former editor, Belfast Telegraph
Media Website of the Year
Business Journalist of the Year
Claire McNeilly (Belfast Telegraph)
Commended: Margaret Canning (Belfast Telegraph) and Amanda Poole (Belfast Telegraph)
Feature Journalist of the Year
Jane Hardy (Belfast Telegraph)
Commended: Gail Walker (Belfast Telegraph)
Production Journalist of the Year
Heather Byrne (Belfast Telegraph)
Magazine/Supplement of the Year
Titanic Tales supplement, Belfast Telegraph
Special Journalist of the Year
Seanin Graham (Irish News)
Commended: Lindsay Fergus (Belfast Telegraph), Lesley-Anne McKeown (Belfast Telegraph)
Print News Journalist of the Year
Ciaran Barnes (Sunday Life)
Commended: Deborah McAleese (Belfast Telegraph)
Political Journalist of the Year
Ken Reid (UTV)
Commended: Liam Clarke (Belfast Telegraph)
Columnist of the Year
Roisin Gorman (Sunday World)
Commended: Gail Walker (Belfast Telegraph)
Coca-Cola CIPR Martin O'Hagan Memorial Bursary Newcomer of the Year
Niall McCracken (the detail.tv)
Commended: Jamie McDowell (Belfast Telegraph)
Overall Journalist of the Year
Seanin Graham (Irish News)
Commended: Ciaran Barnes (Sunday Life)
Scoop of the Year
Ciaran Barnes (Sunday Life)
Sunday Newspaper of the Year
Weekly Newspaper of the Year
Weekly Newspaper Journalist of the Year
Ciara Colhoun (Down Recorder)
Environmental Journalist of the Year
John Manley (Irish News)
Commended: Linda Stewart (Belfast Telegraph)
Sports Journalist of the Year
Paddy Heaney (Irish News)
Commended: Steven Beacom (Belfast Telegraph)
News Broadcaster of the Year
Sharon O’Neill (UTV)
News Programme of the Year
Spotlight (BBC Northern Ireland)
Photographer of the Year
Colm Lenaghan (Pacemaker)
Sports Photographer of the Year
William Cherry (Press Eye)
Regional Photographer of the Year
John McVitty (Impartial Reporter)
News Photographer of the Year