Top Story prize at Highlands and Islands Media Awards

It’s been a big weekend. I’m a bit lost for words so I’m just going to share with you here a news release put out last night from the organisers of the Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards… 

Lewis-based journalist Katie Laing’s coverage of a David v Goliath wind turbine battle in Lewis between local crofters and an international developer has been voted Top Story of the Year at the annual Highlands and Islands Media Awards.

The Hebridean writer and blogger was also shortlisted in two other categories – Feature Writer of the Year and Best Use of Digital Media.

She was presented with her award at the Highlands and Islands Press Ball, which was organised by Inverness-based communications and PR company System2.

Katie’s award-winning story detailed the complex legal conflict on Lewis where the crofters propose to build 21 turbines on land which EDF Energy has also earmarked for 36 turbines.

The dispute is being examined by the Scottish Land Court and the Crofting Commission, and is also being seen as a test case as the crofters are attempting to use a piece of legislation for the first time.

Awards chairman Gordon Fyfe said: “Katie has followed every twist and turn in this David v Goliath fight over the right to develop a multi-million wind farm in Lewis.  It is a classic story, which has captured the interest of the national media and very worthy of our top story of the year.”

Craig Taylor, a senior reporter with the Orcadian, was named Diageo Journalist of the Year at the awards ceremony.

Craig was the unanimous choice of the judges for his strength of writing across a number of categories. He won the Reporter of the Year title, which comes with the Jim Love Memorial Award, and was also shortlisted for Sports Reporter of the Year.

The BBC collected three honours. Eilidh Macleod won the Bòrd na Gàidhlig award for Best Use of Gaelic; Andrew Thomson, was named Feature Writer of the Year; and a joint entry from David Delday and Robbie Fraser, from Radio Orkney, and Jane Moncrieff, from Radio Shetland, won the Sports Reporter of the Year title.

The Inverness Courier was named Newspaper of the Year and one of its reporters, Nicole Webber, was crowned Young Journalist of the Year, collecting the Alex Main Trophy, named after a former Courier editor.

Shetland-based freelance Malcolm Younger was named Photographer of the Year, and the Top Shot of the Year was won by Inverness freelance photographer Paul Campbell for his dramatic photo of mountain biker Luca Cometti crashing out of the finals of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William.

Inverness Gigs won the award for Best Use of Digital Media and Mallaig-based West Word was named Community Newspaper of the Year.

The former editor of the Norther Scot, Mike Collins, also received the Barron Trophy for lifelong achievement in journalism.

The awards were presented by Keith Miller, Distillation and Maturation Director of Diageo, the principal sponsor of the Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards, held at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness.

Other sponsorship this year was provided by HighNet, Chivas Brothers, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the National Union of Journalists and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

The ball’s charity fundraising will benefit four local organisations: Alzheimer Scotland, Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), Highland Heart Failure Service and The Oxygen Works, created by the MS Therapy Centre

The full list of award winners is –

Best Use of Gaelic
Eilidh Macleod, An Là

Best Use of Digital Media
Inverness Gigs

Young Journalist of the Year (Alex Main Trophy)
Nicole Webber, Scottish Provincial Press

Sports Reporter of the Year
Jane Moncrieff (Radio Shetland), David Delday and Robbie Fraser (Radio Orkney)

Photographer of the Year
Malcom Younger, freelance, Shetland

Top Shot of the Year
Paul Campbell, freelance, Inverness

Reporter of the Year (Jim Love Memorial Trophy)
Craig Taylor, Orcadian

Top Story of the Year
Katie Laing, Hebrides Writer

Feature Writer of the Year
Andrew Thomson, BBC

Community Newspaper of the Year
West Word, Mallaig

Newspaper of the Year
Inverness Courier

Diageo Journalist of the Year
Craig Taylor, Orcadian

Barron Trophy for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism
Mike Collins


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