JOURNALISM: Press Awards 2020 honour historic lockdown journalism

By Bill Heaney

The Society of Editors today announces the appointment of Dawn Alford as its new Executive Director.

Dawn, pictured right,  takes over from Ian Murray who stepped down from the post in March, after three years in the role.

Dawn has had an extensive career in newspapers and as a magazine editor. She has also spent more than 10 years as an editorial content director for digital and print content agencies.

She began her career on the Exeter Leader, a Northcliffe weekly before going to work on the city’s evening title, the Express and Echo. She later worked as crime reporter and chief reporter at the Southampton Daily Echo.

On national titles, she worked in various reporting and executive roles including for the Sunday Express, Daily Express, Mirror, Sunday People and the New Day.

The Society’s chair Ian MacGregor said: “It is great that Dawn Alford is joining us as Executive Director. Dawn has tremendous experience of national and regional news organisations, has a deep commitment to press freedom, and is passionate about taking the Society forward.”

Dawn, who began in the role on July 14 said: “It’s a privilege to take over as Executive Director for such a prestigious society and one so important in today’s complex world of communication.

“I have spent some time reading the shortlisted entries for this years’ national and regional awards and I am in awe of the incredible and important work undertaken by the British press in 2020.

“Press freedom is essential in times of crisis and, in the context of the global pandemic, British journalism has certainly risen to the challenge.

“As a Society we are about to embark on a series of consultations with our members about our future goals and what we can do to safeguard the freedom of the press, build trust in our industry and help newsrooms be as diverse as the communities and audiences they serve.

“There is a great deal to be done practically, including a refresh of our website and its content to better reflect the new support we can offer and to encourage a new generation of members.

“I’m delighted that we will soon also launch our Diversity and Inclusion Resource Hub which brings together a series of advice and initiatives being put in place across our industry. We hope it will further boost the opportunities for both aspiring and current journalists to progress in their chosen careers.”Brilliant journalism during the pandemic lockdown year is celebrated in the Press Awards for 2020 announced today.

Individual journalists and teams are honoured for their work in a historic year in which newsrooms emptied almost overnight and journalists had to find new ways of working at a critical time for the nation.

The Press Awards 2020 organisers said: “Despite this disruption, the press continued to do its job: representing the interests of readers, holding power to account, and telling the story of the human impact of the virus. As fake news online put lives at risk, the press, with its high editorial standards, presented news that could be trusted.”

The awards celebrate the broad spectrum of the press and judges drawn from every title ensure that excellence is recognised in all areas, whether broadsheet or tabloid, in print or online.

The awards highlight coverage about diversity – and also reflect the determination of the industry to tackle the challenge of creating more diverse newsrooms. There is a Special Award for the Journalism Diversity Fund, which is funded by the industry and is celebrating 15 years of success, during which time it has granted more than 400 bursaries to help journalists enter the industry.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the National Council for Training Journalists, said: “We are so pleased that the Journalism Diversity Fund has been given this special award by the Press Awards.

“It is recognition of the JDF’s achievements since it was established in 2005, and a reminder of the significant amount of work that remains to be done to make the news media sector more accessible and truly representative.”

The News Website of the Year is theguardian.com, with the ft.com highly commended.
 
Sunday Newspaper of the Year is The Sunday Times, with The Mail on Sunday highly commended.
 
Daily Newspaper of the Year is the Daily Mail, with the Daily Mirror highly commended.

Visit the Gallery of Winners

Meanwhile, brilliant journalism during the pandemic lockdown year is celebrated in the Press Awards for 2020 announced today.

Individual journalists and teams are honoured for their work in a historic year in which newsrooms emptied almost overnight and journalists had to find new ways of working at a critical time for the nation.

The Press Awards 2020 organisers said: “Despite this disruption, the press continued to do its job: representing the interests of readers, holding power to account, and telling the story of the human impact of the virus. As fake news online put lives at risk, the press, with its high editorial standards, presented news that could be trusted.”

The awards celebrate the broad spectrum of the press and judges drawn from every title ensure that excellence is recognised in all areas, whether broadsheet or tabloid, in print or online.

They highlight coverage about diversity – and also reflect the determination of the industry to tackle the challenge of creating more diverse newsrooms. There is a Special Award for the Journalism Diversity Fund, which is funded by the industry and is celebrating 15 years of success, during which time it has granted more than 400 bursaries to help journalists enter the industry.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the National Council for Training Journalists, said: “We are so pleased that the Journalism Diversity Fund has been given this special award by the Press Awards.

“It is recognition of the JDF’s achievements since it was established in 2005, and a reminder of the significant amount of work that remains to be done to make the news media sector more accessible and truly representative.”

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