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Here comes the new head judge

Nicola steps up as Gordon says farewell after outstanding service to media awards.

After more than 30 years of scrutinising the cream of journalism in the Highlands and Islands, Gordon Fyfe is hanging up his marker pen.

Gordon is stepping back from his role as chairman of the Highlands and Islands Media Awards judging panel which he took up in 1991.

His successor will be STV Highlands and Islands reporter Nicola McAlley who has been a member of the judging panel for many years.

Gordon, 70, was a newspaper reporter for 20 years with the Inverness Courier and Press and Journal before a 24-year spell as public relations manager at Highland Regional Council and The Highland Council.

A distinguished player with Caledonian FC in the 1970s, he is currently a director with Inverness Caledonian Thistle, joint chair of the ICT Community Trust and co-ordinator of the Inverness Football Memories Project.

He is also a former president of Inverness Golf Club.

He said: “It has been an honour and a very great pleasure to chair the judging panel of the Highlands and Islands Media Awards over the past 32 years.

“We are so fortunate to have such a thriving newspaper and broadcasting industry in our large and diverse region, where communication is so vital.

“The industry is adapting to a period of rapid change as it embraces the digital age and recognises the importance of the environment and sustainability in our communities.

“Nicola has been a much-valued member of the judging panel for a number of years and has the experience and expertise to take the awards forward in a hugely positive way.

“She will do a great job.”

Nicola, who has been STV’s voice of the Highlands for 23 years, will begin her new role when entries open for the awards in the autumn.

She said: “Having served on the judging panel for the past few years, I know the level of journalistic talent we have in the Highlands and Islands and I’m honoured to be asked to take on this new role.

“Our industry is constantly evolving and colleagues are constantly adapting to fresh challenges while providing high quality content, whichever format they are working in.’

“I would like to pay tribute to Gordon for his guardianship of the awards over so many years – his are very big shoes to fill and I look forward to working with the team involved in highlighting the best of those working in newspapers, magazines, broadcast, photography and online”.

John Ross, chairman of the Highlands and Islands Press Ball, where the awards are presented annually, said: "Under Gordon's leadership, the Highlands and Islands Media Awards have developed into an elite competition which showcase the very best of journalism in our diverse region.

"He has been a highly-regarded member of the Highlands and Islands media for nearly five decades and his chairmanship of the awards has helped maintain high standards of quality and ensures they are much sought-after accolades.

"Everyone connected with the Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards thank him for his outstanding contribution to our industry as he steps down from a role he has held with such distinction.

“We are also delighted Nicola has agreed to succeed Gordon as chair of the judging panel.

“As an experienced and respected journalist who knows the area well, she is a leading light in the industry. I expect the awards to flourish further under her guidance.”

The 2024 Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards (HIPBMA) will be held on February 2 in the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness.

The Highlands and Islands Press Ball was revived in 1989 after a period in abeyance.

In 1991 the event incorporated the Highlands and Islands Media Awards to recognise excellence in journalism in the region.

​Due to the scattered nature of the area, HIPBMA continues to be the only event that brings together the region's media in its various forms.

Each year it welcomes colleagues working in print, broadcasting and online platforms from Shetland to Argyll and from Moray to the Outer Hebrides.

The event’s principal sponsor is Diageo, with other support from Statkraft, Chivas Brothers, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Hub North Scotland, the National Union of Journalists, Highland Tourism CIC and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.


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