FORMER ‘SCOT’ EDITOR WINS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The former editor of The Northern Scot, Mike Collins, is to receive a prestigious award which recognises a lifetime of achievement in journalism in the Highlands and Islands.
Mike will receive the Barron Trophy at the annual Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards, being held at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness, on Friday 2 February.
During his 44-year career in journalism, Mike has written mile-upon-mile of copy, bringing to life thousands of reports from across his Moray beat.
He stood down as editor of the ‘Scot’ at the end of last year after ten years at the helm. Under his editorship, the ‘Scot’ was named the Highlands and Islands, Scottish and UK Weekly Newspaper of the Year for its coverage of the 2010/11 Save RAF Lossiemouth campaign.
Mike said: “Winning those awards were very proud achievements for the newspaper, highlighting the importance of our campaigning credentials and the key role we play in our local community.
“Being awarded the Barron Trophy for a lifetime of achievement in journalism is another accolade I will cherish. It is great to be recognised by my fellow journalists.”
Born and brought up in Keith, Mike was educated at St Thomas’ Primary and then at Keith Grammar. On leaving school, he studied journalism in Edinburgh before finding a job as a young reporter at the Banffshire Herald in his home town.
He went on to the Huntly Express before returning to the Keith paper as editor in 1976. He remained there until moving to the role of sub editor with the Aberdeen Press and Journal and then back to the ‘Scot’ as a sub editor and news editor.
He progressed through the roles of group chief sub editor – working on the Forres Gazette, Banffshire Journal and Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, too – as ‘Scot’ deputy editor and finally editor. It was in June 2007, following the retirement of his predecessor, Pauline Taylor, that he took the helm.
Mike has been reporting on Keith FC matches since 1973 and intends to continue providing match reports for the ‘Scot’.
He lives in Keith with his wife Lorna and has two children – Kevin and Paula – and has three grandchildren.
At the ‘Scot’, he has passed on the baton to Chris Saunderson and Joe Millican, who will be joint group content editors for a newly formed Elgin hub and team of community reporters producing The Northern Scot as well as The Forres Gazette, Banffshire Journal, Banffshire Herald, Banffshire Advertiser and the Huntly Express.
The Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards is organised by Inverness-based communications and PR company System2 and is sponsored by Diageo, HighNet, Chivas Brothers, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the National Union of Journalists and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
The event’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.
DAVID WINS LIFETIME MERIT AWARD FOR JOURNALISM IN HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS
David Ross, The Herald’s long-serving Highland correspondent, is to receive this year’s Barron Trophy, which recognises lifetime achievement in journalism in the Highlands and Islands.
David will be presented with the prestigious award at the annual Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards, being held at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness, on Friday 3 February.
David was brought up in Perthshire and Argyll, his father the son of a Presbyterian minister and his mother from a croft on the island of Iona. He studied in Edinburgh to be a teacher of history and modern studies. But David was to follow a career in journalism and worked with the Community Education monthly newspaper SCAN and the Times Educational Supplement Scotland (TESS) before joining the Glasgow Herald in Edinburgh.
His move to the north came in August 1988 when he was appointed to his current role covering the Highlands and Islands.
From his base in Cromarty, David produces a wide range of writing including the top news stories of the day, features, obituaries, arts reviews, leader-writing, columns, magazine and business articles.
In 2005, David edited a book marking the 50th anniversary of the Crofters Commission - 'Crofting People and Politics - Five Decades of the Crofters Commission.'
Since April 2015, David has worked for The Herald on a part-time basis.
His son, Calum, has followed in dad’s footsteps into journalism and is Chief Reporter of the Press and Journal, based in Inverness. Calum has been short-listed for Reporter of the Year in this year’s Highlands and Islands Media Awards.
David said: “I feel very honoured to be awarded the Barron Trophy, not least because I am following in the footsteps of really significant figures in Highland journalism, including many good friends. Sadly, not all are still with us.
“They shared a commitment to the Highlands and Islands as a very special part of Scotland.”
BBC reporters Craig Anderson and Jackie O’Brien nominated David for the award. They agree that few journalists have contributed more to journalism in the Highlands and Islands over the last 30 years than David.
Craig said: “I’ve been a constant admirer of David’s craft and style. He is a dogged and enthusiastic seeker after the truth. His writing style is fluid and forthright. And he conducts himself with a combination of amiability and professionalism.
“David has survived – indeed thrived – throughout a period of massive change within the paper – changes which have been far more fundamental than the dropping of “Glasgow” in the title. But he has continued to plough his furrow with articles that dig behind the headlines to highlight issues which go to the heart of where we are in the Highlands and where we might be going.”
Jackie said: “David has made his mark with the major stories that have touched the lives of ordinary Highlanders. Accuracy is his middle name but his passion for the land on which he lives and works brings David's work to life.
“David Ross is a modest, kind and compassionate man whose love of the north of Scotland, its distinctive cultures and its people makes him one of the best journalists the area will ever have.”
PAUL WINS LIFETIME MERIT AWARD FOR JOURNALISM IN HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS
Paul Breen, the former editor of the award-winning Highland News Group, is to receive this year’s Barron Trophy, which recognises lifetime achievement in journalism in the Highlands and Islands.
Paul, who has worked in regional and local newspapers in the North of Scotland for more than 40 years, will be presented with the award at the annual Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards, being held at the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness, on Friday 5 February.
Paul began his career as a trainee reporter with the Northern Scot in Elgin in 1974. Four years later, he moved to the Press and Journal and worked for 12 years in its Inverness office, covering many of the big stories of the time.
In 1990, he joined the Inverness Courier as a senior sub-editor before moving to the Highland News Group in 2002. For the past nine years he was group editor, being in charge of the North Star and Lochaber News as well as the Highland News.
During his time as group editor, the Highland News has won the title of Scottish Weekly Newspaper of the Year and been short-listed for this award in each of the last six years. The Highland News has also won the Newspaper of the Year for the Highlands and Islands and been short-listed on many occasions.
Gordon Fyfe, chairman of the Highlands and Islands Media Awards judging panel, said: “I had the pleasure of working beside Paul for 12 years and can testify to the fearless nature of his style in delivering balanced, accurate and well researched stories.
“He has served the Highlands tremendously well and is a worthy winner of this prestigious award.”
Eilidh Davies, chief reporter of the Highland News and Highlands and Islands Journalist of the Year in 2014, added: “Paul kept the Highland News Group entertaining and informative with a hard edge for news.
“He also ensured a grass-roots link between the papers and the local communities which produced a variety of great local stories about local people.”
2017 Mike Collins
2016 Dave Ross
2015 Paul Breen
2014 Neil Macphail
2013 Clive Dennier
2012 John Ross