YOUR free and favourite All Together NOW! newspaper scooped the Specialist Newspaper of the Year title at the O2 Media Awards – and football legends Ian St John and Roger Hunt were first to congratulate the team.
Judges told an audience of 300 journalists and media executives at a glittering ceremony at Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium:
“This is a fantastic publication which deserves recognition.”
They also commented on the free newspaper’s colourful design and about its excellent content.
It is the latest in a string of media and community awards the charity newspaper has picked up since launching 12 years ago.
First in line to congratulate the All Together NOW! team were the former Liverpool FC and international footballers Roger Hunt and Ian St John, who, himself had just been presented – from England’s 1966 World Cup hero, Roger – with a special O2 Stand Out award to mark his 38 years in the broadcasting industry.
Ian said: “I am really surprised to be honoured with this award, but I am also delighted for All Together NOW!
“It’s a brilliant publication and one that is very much needed, especially as so many disabled and older people just don’t know about what’s out there to help them.
“All Together NOW! is a great charity and I hope it keeps getting the support it needs to develop its work across the region.”
Editor Tom Dowling said: “This award is a great testament to all our supporters who have been helping us these past 12 years.
“Newspapers all over the country are experiencing huge drops in circulations, and are being forced to close.
“It’s also extremely tough for us, especially as the paper is free, but we are in the unique position whereby we just cannot keep up with demand for the paper. We currently distribute 100,000 copies, but more and more people are asking for copies all over the region. But our resources are stretched to the limit.
“Hopefully, we can build on this latest recognition and attract the funding we need to get even more copies of the paper to people who would benefit from its unique content.”
THE NIGHT was dominated by the superb coverage of the Manchester Arena terror attack.
The Manchester Evening News was named Best Editorial Print Team and also won the On-Line Journalism award for its coverage of the May 22 suicide bombing, in which 22 people were killed and hundreds more injured.
The MEN also received the Best Daily Newspaper award from blast survivor Martin Hibbert, who was paralysed by Salman Abedi’s nail bomb.
BBC Radio Manchester won Best Broadcast Team and the O2 award for the Most Memorable Broadcast Programme, for its reporting on the night of the terror attack.
Other multiple winners were journalists at ITV Granada Reports and BBC North West Tonight.
Granada’s Elaine Willcox was judged Best Broadcast News Reporter, while BBC’s Clare Fallon was named TV Journalist of the Year.
Both BBC and ITV news teams were jointly honoured in the Best News Programme category.
They were presented with their awards by Paddy Ennis, the first paramedic inside the Arena after the bomb went off.
In other categories there were awards for writers and photographers on the Liverpool Echo, while local TV station, That’s Lancashire, won the Young Broadcast Journalist through Elizabeth Baines and Moving Images with cameraman Jake Harvey.
There were prizes, too, for BBC Radio Merseyside (Best Team, Broadcast) and Radio City (Community Journalism)
A special O2 Journalism Award was presented to Jennifer Williams, Manchester Evening News, for her exclusive investigation into the use of the drug Spice in Manchester city centre.
Coronation Street actors Bev Callard, Daniel Brocklebank and Patti Clare also presented awards alongside members of the community who had featured in the media through the year.
The awards were hosted by BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin and Dave Massey, Head of Corporate Communications at O2.
Nicola Green, Director of Corporate Affairs at O2, said: “This was an unprecedented year of news events across the North West. The awards demonstrate the importance and value of the regional media in our communities.”
FOOTBALL LEGENDS PICTURE (Home Page) by TONY MILLER