Entries are now closed for the 2020 British Journalism Awards which has attracted a record number of more than 600 entries for the 25 award categories. Chairman of the judges, Dominic Ponsford, editor-in-chief of leading media industry website, Press Gazette, which is organising the event, said: 'There are some 200 entries this year from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) journalists, and female and disabled journalists who previously could not have afforded the entry fees'.
Helped by sponsorship from Google, Press Gazette this year waived the entry fees in these categories, with Ponsford pointing out: 'The judges were especially keen to encourage entries from female journalists who have been historically under-represented on shortlists in the past. This year, for the first time, there is a 50/50 gender split among the 80-strong panel of independent judges'.
The best of the BAME entrants will be considered for a new award named in honour of Barbara Blake-Hannah – in 1968 the UK's first black on-screen news reporter/interviewer with Thames Television, but whom, sadly, left the UK because of racism and returned home to Jamaica. Blake-Hannah, 79, who subsequently carved out a highly successful career in her homeland, will help judge the award.
Journalists from every major news organisation in the UK are taking part this year. Uniquely, among major journalism UK awards, every category is open to journalists working across all media – print, digital and broadcast. The winners will be announced via a virtual event on 9 December.
Ponsford added: 'We've been amazed by the interest in this year's event which reflects the fact that this has been an awful and an amazing year for journalism. Colleagues have had to to work under difficult circumstances, with many losing their jobs and taking pay cuts. But journalists have risen to the challenge of telling the biggest story of their lives admirably. With access to quality information a matter of life and death these days, the judges will take their duty particularly seriously when it comes to deciding on the winners'.
The fledgling BBC Scotland channel has twice triumphed in this year's Broadcast Digital Awards – winning Best Documentary and Best Drama Programme categories for Matchlight/Bodhi's football documentary, Real Kashmir FC
, and Happy Tramp North/Expectation's thriller, Guilt
Real Kashmir FC
won against stiff competition from BBC Three, BBC Four and YouTube. Guilt
, a co-commission with BBC Two, came out on top in the Drama category which included productions for Sky One, BBC Three and Sky Atlantic. The judges praised Guilt
as 'expertly scripted, acted and directed', and also noted its 'confidence and assuredness'. The series has been recommissioned and is due to film later this year.
Real Kashmir FC
, a documentary about former Aberdeen FC and Rangers FC player, David Robertson, departing to the Indian league to manage a team there, was praised as a 'fantastic way to put BBC Scotland on the map'. A follow-up, also made by filmmaker, Greg Clark, Return to Real Kashmir FC
, has also been shown on BBC Scotland.
In June, BBC Scotland was awarded the first-ever Royal Television Society Scotland Judges award. Additionally, the society gave the RTS Scotland Award to outgoing director, Donalda MacKinnon.
Scottish student publications have won three categories in national awards for student journalism from a field of more than 1,200 nominations. The Scottish winners are: Best Sports Coverage Winner – Brig
newspaper, Stirling University; Best Human Rights Story – Lucia Posteraro, The Glasgow Guardian
, Glasgow University; and Best Magazine Design – The Magdalen
, Dundee University.
The editor of the Sunday National
and founding editor of The National
, Richard Walker, has stood down meantime to seek the SNP's nomination as its candidate for the Ayr seat at next year's Scottish Parliament election. Callum Baird, currently editor of The National
and the Glasgow Times
, will add the Sunday National
to his responsibilities in Walker's absence over the coming weeks.
Walker, 64, who was born in Troon and lives in the Ayr constituency, aims to fight a key target seat for the SNP. Walker is a decidedly personable fellow, a man of principle, who is much liked by his journalistic peers. He told The National
: 'I am taking a step back from the Sunday National
. I think that is the right and fair thing to do. I wouldn't want to be making editorial decisions about selection contests. The very nature that there would be a perception of a conflict suggests that I should take a step back'.
As editor of the now-defunct Sunday Herald
, from 2004 to 2015, Walker committed the title to supporting independence – making it the only newspaper in Scotland to do so ahead of the 2014 referendum. He explains: 'I have been campaigning for independence since before the 2014 referendum, bringing the Sunday Herald
for Yes and founding The National
and the Sunday National
. I believe I have a lot of ideas, experience and skills which I would like to put at the disposal of the SNP and the wider Yes movement'.
He added: 'I think we will see Scotland become independent following a second referendum. What better prospect than to be part of a parliament which helps to shape the new Scotland once independence is won'.
Walker has had a very successful 40-year career in newspapers, starting out working for local titles in Ayrshire before moving on to regional and national publications including Scotland on Sunday
and the Daily Record
. Colleague Callum Baird comments: 'Richard is an inspiration – a genius newspaper editor. He has been nothing but a tireless campaigner for independence ever since I met him. He's got our blessing to follow this dream'.
John Scott won the Ayr seat for the Tories in the first-ever Scottish Parliament by-election in March 2000, and has held it since with a majority at the last election of just 750 votes ahead of the second placed SNP candidate. Walker faces five opponents in the SNP's selection contest.
DC Thomson Media is investing in three of its titles in a series of brand and marketing campaigns, with activity across out-of-home advertising (OOH), digital, experiential and PR. It has undertaken ambitious marketing activity for The People's Friend
, The Sunday Post
and The Scots Magazine,
to strengthen the future of the titles which between them have been in circulation for a combined total of more than 500 years.
The People's Friend
, founded in 1869, is recognised as the longest-running women's weekly in the world. It launched 'Close Knit Friends', a campaign which culminated in a yarn-bombed bus with knitted donations from readers, to show older generations that the nation is with them. The campaign addressed that many folk are experiencing loneliness and feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on our social lives. In partnership with friendship charity, Re-engage, and bus operator, Stagecoach, the bus completed a tour from Torquay to Dundee, stopping at care homes and residential streets, as part of a nationwide PR campaign.
The tour followed the launch of 'Adventure is on your Doorstep' for The Scots Magazine
– a Scotland-wide campaign to demonstrate the adventures on the doorstep of every town and village across Scotland. A key element of the campaign included the launch of an interactive map for people to add their recommendations of big and wee adventures. The campaign promoted how the glossy colour magazine helps readers discover Scotland – from outdoor adventures, cultural trips, food and drink, books and music.
And there was an ambitious multi-channel campaign for The Sunday Post
. The activity, according to DC Thomson Media 'encompassed OOH, digital, experiential and radio, and showcased the art of factual, well-considered journalism from a weekly paper in the age of the relentless, 24-hour news cycle'. Highlighting the reputable skills of the editorial team, the campaign employed disruptive, copy-led advertising to engage audiences and spark a shift in brand perception, with lines including: 'Worth its wait in words'; 'We don't just break the news. We tell the whole story'; and 'You shouldn't need to fact-check the facts. That's our job'.
Rebecca Moncrieff, head of communications and brand marketing at Dundee-based DC Thomson Media, said: 'With some of the most loved and respected titles and magazines within our portfolio, we are passionate about investing in these titles which have been at the centre of our readers' lives for generations. Whether that's promoting the importance of investigative journalism in the age of click bait, showcasing everything Scotland has to offer, or putting a smile on the faces of those who have been facing months of loneliness, we are dedicated to continuing to deliver the content that matters to our readers'.
The campaigns were undertaken by creative agency WIRE, accompanied by PR and digital activity in partnership with DC Thomson Media's in-house team.