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Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life scoop prizes at Regional Press Awards

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The Belfast Telegraph and the Sunday Life have won a number of awards at the Regional Press Awards.

The Belfast Telegraph and the Sunday Life have won a number of awards at the Regional Press Awards.

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The Belfast Telegraph and the Sunday Life have won a number of awards at the Regional Press Awards.

The Belfast Telegraph and its sister title the Sunday Life have won a number of awards at the Society of Editors Regional Press Awards.

The Belfast Telegraph's digital team won Digital Initiative of the Year for its Brexit Voices project during the YouTube broadcast awards ceremony.

The Brexit Voices project allowed a team of reporters to produce long-form digital journalism over the course of a few weeks, with their work reflecting as many aspects of life in the region as possible.

It is the second award the coverage has picked up, with the Belfast Telegraph being named best regional news site at the Drum Online Media Awards for its Brexit coverage earlier this year.

Belfast Telegraph digital reporter Gareth Hanna picked up the Digital Live Sports Reporter of the Year award while Sunday Life's Paul Ferguson was named Sports Journalist of the Year for Weekly/Sunday Paper.

Belfast Telegraph Business Editor Margaret Canning was highly commended in the Business & Finance Journalist of the Year category while Sunday Life was highly commended in the Front Page of the Year for weekly paper category for its coverage of the death of Lyra McKee and the paper was also highly commended for its 'Evil Eyes' story in the Scoop of the Year category.

Sunday Life Chief Reporter Ciaran Barnes was highly commended in the Special Writers/Impact Journalist of the Year category.

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Retired fisherman Jackie Norman, seen here at Kilkeel Harbour in March 2019, was featured in the winning piece. Picture: Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph.

Retired fisherman Jackie Norman, seen here at Kilkeel Harbour in March 2019, was featured in the winning piece. Picture: Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph.

Retired fisherman Jackie Norman, seen here at Kilkeel Harbour in March 2019, was featured in the winning piece. Picture: Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph.

Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life Editor-in-Chief Eoin Brannigan said: "Three awards and four highly commended is a great day’s work for the team at The Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life. Well done to Paul, Gareth, the digital team and indeed all our 15 nominees.

“News, sport and business were all recognised and this is further proof that we’re trusted when it comes to all aspects of Northern Irish life.

“The two digital awards are a sign of our online strength, something we look forward to growing on the back of launching our paid-for content a month ago.”

Other Northern Ireland based reporters picked up awards, with The Impartial Reporter's Rodney Edwards winning the Weekly/Sunday Reporter of the Year category.

With local journalism one of the industries put under strain by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Society of Editors has been celebrating the important work of the regional press through its #LoveLocalMedia campaign.

Nearly 700 entries were received from across the UK covering all aspects of local journalism, including sports, data, social media, campaigns and photography.

Due to the coronavirus crisis, a planned awards gala was replaced by a live online YouTube video event.

In a video message, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden paid tribute to the regional press and the "unique role" it plays in "holding local politicians to account and in building a sense of community".

Mr Dowden said he found questions asked by local journalists at the regular coronavirus government briefings among the trickiest to deal with as they came from reporters close to their communities.

Sarah Brown, Facebook’s Head of Northern Europe News Partnerships, said: “I would like to say a huge congratulations to all those chosen as winners in the Regional Press Awards, a great achievement. We are delighted to be sponsoring the awards at a time when news is more important than ever.”

Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors commented: “Even though the awards have been affected by the coronavirus emergency and we were unable to stage the gala lunch we were determined all the fantastic work carried out by the regional and local press did not go unrecognised.

“Anyone looking at the breadth and scale of the entries for this year’s awards will recognise the tremendous and vital role the sector plays in our nation.”

Belfast Telegraph