The Scottish Sun swept the board at the 42nd annual Scottish Press Awards last night as the industry celebrated the very best of journalism from across the country.
The Glasgow-based title scooped the prestigious Newspaper of the Year Award, Journalism Team of the Year and News Website of the Year accolades, for its coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It was also a triumphant year for the publication’s Political Editor Chris Musson, who was named Journalist of the Year, Reporter of the Year, and Scottish Political Journalist of the Year.
He further secured Scoop of the Year with colleague Graham Mann for their shocking expose that saw Finance Secretary Derek Mackay quit in 2020 after revealing he sent hundreds of messages to a schoolboy, 16,
Chair of judges Denise West, chief commercial officer at DC Thomson Media and ex-Trinity Mirror (North) managing director said: “Journalists dig up stories, but their titles have to know what to do with them, and with its usual panache, The Scottish Sun knew exactly what to do when the good were delivered.
“Our daily paper of the year has lost none of its style and vigour and resisted political pressure to deliver one of the most important stories of 2020 and to keep well ahead of the pack when it came to the big political scoops.”
Denise said the decision to give Chris Musson Journalist of the Year was one of the “easiest decisions” judges have had to make in the awards’ recent history.
She added “Chris was involved in scoop after scoop which made the political weather week after week and even cost a Scottish cabinet minister his job.”
Sunday Times Scotland became the first Sunday newspaper of the Year as judges praised the publication for its “agenda-setting news stories” as well as hard-hitting commentary and analysis.
And the Lennox Herald was chosen as the Weekly Newspaper of the Year by a panel of Scottish daily newspaper editors.
A total of 33 awards crediting the vital work of print and digital journalism were announced, with The Daily Record scooping the Campaign of the Year title with its ‘Addicted: What Do We Do About Scotland’s Drugs Deaths” series.
The Press and Journal’s Julia Bryce won the first ever Food and Drink Writer of the Year award, Gabriella Bennett of The Times won the Travel Writer category and DC Thomson’s Lesley-Anne Kelly was named Specialist Reporter of the Year.
The Nicola Barry Award, which was introduced in 2018 in honour of the late award-winning columnist and feature writer, was awarded to The Sunday Post’s Laura Smith.
Alan Muir, the ex-editor of The Scottish Sun who recently left after 34 years at the newspaper. received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement award.
And The Orcadian received the inaugural Chairperson’s Award for how they’d served their local community and “stood up for its readers” during the pandemic.
Denise praised the newspaper, adding: “This one small title went out of its way to do its bit with tangible help for its community by giving up vital revenue to reduce advertising rates so small local companies could market their services cheaply and rebuild.”
This year’s judging panel comprised 37 independent judges compromising 21 women and 15 men drawn from across the Scottish media, communications, and public affairs industries.
The event at the DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central was hosted by former BBC Scotland newsreader Jackie Bird.
The 42st Scottish Press Awards are sponsored by VisitScotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, Diageo, Johnnie Walker Princes Street, Openreach, BIG Partnership, Women in Journalism Scotland, DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central, Event Consultants Scotland and SGN.
Scottish Newspaper Society Director John McLellan said: “There is no question that 2020 was the most difficult year news publishing has ever faced, trying to make sure readers were kept properly informed through the biggest crisis any of us have ever known at the same time as the revenues on which all titles depend all but collapsed.
“It has been brilliant to have our first in-person awards since the pandemic began and the judges were thoroughly impressed by the high quality of all the final entries.”