Craig Taylor, a senior reporter with the Orcadian, has been named Diageo Journalist of the Year at the annual Highlands and Islands Media Awards. 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.
His prize, which includes £500, of which £300 will be gifted to a charity of his choice, was presented at the annual Highlands and Islands Press Ball in Inverness. Judges chairman Gordon Fyfe said: “Craig demonstrated a consistently high standard of work in researching and delivering strong readable human interest stories across news, sport and features. He is a committed, hard-working and accurate journalist who is a credit to the Orcadian and its readership.”
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.
Hebrides Writer Katie Laing, who was shortlisted in three categories, scooped the prize for Top Story of the Year for her coverage of the David v Goliath windfarm dispute in Lewis, between local crofters and international developers.
Shetland-based freelance Malcolm Younger was named Photographer of the Year, and the Top Shot of the Year was taken 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.
The former editor of the Northern 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.
The event was organised by Inverness-based communications company System2, with other sponsorship this year 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