Mail dominates at Press Awards
The Mail dominated the Press Awards with 11 honours, more than any other publisher, including Newspaper of the Year for the Daily Mail, Website of the Year for MailOnline and a special award for Peter Wright.
The Daily Mail was the night's big winner with an unprecedented eight awards, including the flagship honour, compared to the next largest tally which was five for The Times. "In this battle of the titans, the winner was a consistently must-read product even if it can drive you to distraction," said the judges. "Its hard-hitting journalism, virulent opinion, remorseless commitment, courage and conviction means it is feared but fears no one." The title also won the News Team of the Year prize.
Accepting Campaign of the Year for the paper's campaign for justice for Stephen Lawrence Paul Dacre paid tribute to Neville and Doreen Lawrence and said that it remained "unfinished business". The judges said the campaign, which culminated in the jailing of two men for Stephen's murder was "proof of what a free press is all about, and essential reading for Lord Justice Leveson". It also received the Cudlipp Award.
To mark his 14 years as editor of The Mail on Sunday, before his recent appointment to the new role of editor emeritus at Associated, Peter Wright was presented with a special award by Fran Unsworth, head of newsgathering at the BBC and president of the Society of Editors. "His skill as an editor is outstanding according to anyone who has worked with him," she commented. "His attention to detail is astonishing. Nothing gets into his newspaper without his eye, and probably his pencil as well, having been on it. His news judgement has been unerring. His feel for the paper's readership has allowed him to keep his circulation longer when all around have been losing theirs. According the latest ABC figures his paper's market share has grown from 15% to 23% over the past 14 years. The paper has won numerous awards and it has been innovative including a promotion that put on 600,000 readers. But most of all he has nurtured and championed great journalism." Peter responded: "All I have ever wanted is to edit a newspaper, I feel humbled."
Seeing off competition from the Times, the FT and the Telegraph, MailOnline was named Website of the Year. The site "showed a willingness to tear up the formula when the story demands it, with great use of images and video," said the judges. "The large amount of original content makes it essential reading in the newsrooms of competitors."
Craig Brown made Press Awards history by becoming the first individual to win three awards on the same night - the Columnist and Humour honours for his work on the Daily Mail and Critic of the Year for The Mail on Sunday.
The Mail's Ben Todd, praised for the diversity of his entries, was named Showbiz Reporter of the Year. His colleague David Jones won the Feature Writer award, with judges citing "a combination of really readable features".
Organised by the Society of Editors, the ceremony took place last night at Lancaster London and was hosted by Sian Williams. "We owe the judges a huge debt," commented SoE executive director Bob Satchwell. "Their efforts confirm that British national newspaper readers are still served by the world's most vibrant and diverse press which is still read by more than half of the adult literate population, on paper, online, on mobile and who knows where else in 12 months' time?" The full list of winners is available on the SoE website.