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Scottish Newspaper of the Year 2003

By The Drum | Administrator

May 26, 2003 | 23 min read

The Sunday Herald's team regains the trophy hatstand

It shouldn’t happen to a newspaper ... but last year it probably did. The Sunday Herald was taken over, fears have surrounded staff futures and, to top it all off, someone stole their crown. However, with a new owner now in place the Scottish Newspaper of the Year crown has been reclaimed. Gordon Laing discovers how it was all right on the Sunday Herald’s night.

The emerging Pete Townsend saga was the lead in most newspapers during the week that was in question for this year’s competition. A bit of ‘research’ allegedly going astray.

However, it was the newspapers that were under scrutiny, not their collective subjects, as the judges sat down to decide the winners of the 2003 Scottish Newspaper of the Year awards.

Every title in Scotland was invited to submit a portfolio of newspaper editions spanning the 16, 17 and 18 of January this year (with the Sunday papers submitting copies from the 5, 12 and 19 of the same month).

And, as in years gone by, the consecutive editions were sent out to our judging panel to be assessed across nine categories, Design and Layout, News, Features, Sport, Business Pages, Supplement, Foreign Coverage, Opinion & Editorial and Arts & Entertainment.

As always, the competition was fierce, with Scotland’s top newspapers submitting their cherished titles to be studied, discussed, praised and ripped apart by the panel of judges.

Once all the completed judging books had been returned, the panel re-assembled over lunch at Opus in Glasgow to debate their choices, come up with nominations in each category and to name the winner for each of these categories, including the Best Daily, Evening, Sunday and Overall titles.

Furthermore, this year a specialist panel was amassed, by the Law Society Scotland, See Me and Young Scot, to judge and present awards for the Best Legal Coverage, Coverage that Helps Challenge the Stigma of Mental Ill Health and for Excellence in the Coverage of Youth Issues, respectively.

What was decided that day was unveiled at a Gala Dinner in the Holiday Inn, Glasgow, to an on-looking crowd of 250 newspapermen and women, all baying to get their hands on the coveted hatstand trophy (as modelled by the Edinburgh Evening News last year) and the right to add the moniker of Scottish Newspaper of the Year to their mast head.

Despite a good performance by last year’s title-holders, the Edinburgh Evening News, noticing an evolution in its readership and a rise in circulation, the East Coast evening title was forced to relinquish its crown and hat stand to the Sunday Herald as it romped home to win five of the categories up for grabs.

The Sunday broadsheet was widely praised by the judges, who this year included Roger Alton, editor of the Observer, Judith Mackay of BBC Scotland, Robert Ridley, deputy editor of the Manchester Evening News, Councillor Charles Gordon of Glasgow City Council, Lesley Sawyer of the Royal Mail, Ardi Kolah of the IPR, Vernon Murphy of BAA and Richard Draycott and Gordon Young from The Drum.

While the specialist panel consisted of Gillian Meighan of The Law Society of Scotland, Louise MacDonald from Young Scot and Linda Dunion from See Me.

Speaking of the Sunday Herald, the judges said: “From the moment we started the judging process it soon became obvious that the Sunday Herald stood a very good chance of regaining its Newspaper of the Year crown as it picked up nominations in every category.

“As always, the design and layout of the newspaper was heavily praised, as was its Seven Days supplement. It also only just missed out on the Best News Coverage category for the way in which its reporters handled stories. For a Sunday newspaper to rival a daily newspaper in the news category means it must be doing something right.”

The judges were unanimous in their praise for the Sunday Herald, which they felt was the best overall newspaper package produced in Scotland for Scottish readers.

“It targets its content very well to its audience,” said the panel. “And we feel that as long as it continues to cater for its readers then it will have a big future.”

The success bodes well for the former SMG title and its sisters, the Herald and Evening Times, now under the new direction of Newsquest and new managing director, Tim Blott.

But how did the other newspapers fare under the scrutiny of the judges?

The categories were highly contested by the panel and often (although not always) it took the judges much debate to reach a winner in each category.

The first category up was design and layout. The nominations were the Herald, Sunday Herald and Sunday Times Scotland. After praising the overall standards of design in the Scottish broadsheet market, the judges debated every aspect of the layout – from masthead to use of pictures. The guidelines set by the panel meant that the eventual winner would have to be clean, clear and easy to read. A head-to-head ensued between the Herald and Sunday Herald, with the daily title pipping its stable partner to the post.

The judges praised both for their excellent use of pictures and superb production values. However, special praise was showered on the Herald for its spreads, use of colour and “lack of design rules”. All in all, though, the judges agreed that it was a hard category to kick off the session.

Next up was perhaps one of the most sought after accolades, Best News Coverage. The tabloids did well in this category with the Daily Record and the Edinburgh Evening News battling it out with the ever-present Sunday Herald. After the lengthy (and usual) “chat” about what constitutes a news story, the Daily Record was awarded the title. The judges said of their choice: “Everyone might not agree with its values, but there is a lot of news and it is clearly a Scottish title – it doesn’t try to be anything else. It identifies with Scottish issues in the broadest sense, but with a good UK balance.”

Another highly contested accolade was for Best Sports Coverage. This year the News of the World beat off stiff competition from broadsheet rivals both from the West and the East. The Scotsman and Sunday Herald, although praised for their breadth of coverage, could not match the in-depth knowledge, views and behind-the-scenes coverage of the News of the World.

The judges said of the win: “It was good to see a number of Scotland’s tabloids picking up awards, particularly in categories such as News and Sports. We feel that the results are very reflective of what newspaper readers are wanting more of these days.”

Continuing the success of the tabloids, the Scottish Sun scooped the Best Opinion and Editorial award, fending off the Herald and, again, the Sunday Herald.

“The winner had to say what it wanted to say firmly, without leaving any doubt in the reader’s mind ... the Sun does just that,” said the judges, despite their high regard for the independent editorial focus of the two other nominees.

Next category to be judged was Best Features. Nominated in this section were Sunday Times Scotland, Scotland on Sunday and the Sunday Herald. Despite a good showing from the Sunday Herald and a strong argument for both Scotland on Sunday and the Scottish Daily Mail (although the latter failed to make the final list), leading the pack was the Sunday Times Scotland. “The title reflects the organic news feature agenda in Scotland,” said one judge. “Due to the resources at hand, Sunday Times Scotland is able to go deeper to the heart of a subject. A true features newspaper.”

Once the criteria for judging had been finalised by the panel, the award for best newspaper supplement was awarded to Seven Days (Sunday Herald). The judges ranked the Sunday Herald supplement above both Scotland on Sunday’s Spectrum and Sunday Times Scotland’s Ecosse commenting on the quality of journalism and its maturity.

There was one notable absentee from the next category. However, the closure of Business am – last year’s winner of the Best Business Coverage section – has not seen the standard of business coverage in Scotland drop with complacency. If anything, the judges felt that business coverage remained at a consistent high. Nominated, after great debate in this category, were Sunday Times Scotland, Sunday Herald and Edinburgh Evening News. The award went to Sunday Times Scotland – its third award of the night. The newspaper’s “comprehensive” business pages beat off an extremely strong pack, with the judges saving special praise also for the Evening News’ local business coverage and Sunday Herald’s true reflection of the Scottish business landscape.

Nominated for Arts and Entertainment were the Sunday Herald, Sunday Times Scotland and the Evening Times.

Of the winner, the judges said: “Its arts and entertainment sections are both strong and clear. There is bags there, be it a tacky film or a highbrow art show. The spread really is remarkable for an evening tabloid newspaper.”

The Evening Times was happy to pick up the award.

In the final open category of the night, the Sunday Herald picked up another award for Best Foreign coverage. Also nominated in the section were Scotland on Sunday and Sunday Times Scotland. In the past the judges had felt that perhaps this was an area for concern in Scotland.

This year, the assembled panel voiced none of these fears. Scotland on Sunday and Sunday Times Scotland both merited high commendation from the judges for their coverage, both with a good mix of international news.

But, again it was the Sunday Herald that received the top accolade for its “recognition of the importance of foreign coverage and the high standards of coverage that it keeps.”

So with the main categories decided, it was time for the judges to choose the overall winners in the Evening, Sunday and Daily Newspaper of the Year awards. Perhaps the panel’s most challenging choice.

“Easy on the eye, with strong features, good use of pictures and up-to-the-minute news.” The Evening Times was voted winner in the category Evening Newspaper of the Year, claiming the award from last year’s title-holder, the Edinburgh Evening News.

There were two major contenders for Sunday Newspaper of the Year – Sunday Times Scotland and Sunday Herald. And it was the Sunday Herald that was chosen by the judges to scoop the title. Voted by the judges as a “truly Scottish paper, consistently original and pleasing on the eye”. There could, in the end, be only one winner.

Daily Newspaper of the Year was the most open category in the awards. The Herald, Daily Record and the Sun were all mulled over. But it was the Herald, with its “beautiful, clean layout, excellent use of pictures and clearly labelled sections” that caught the eye of the judges.

Furthermore, the Herald picked up two awards, sponsored by See Me and The Law Society of Scotland, for its coverage challenging the stigma of mental ill health and its coverage of legal issues, respectively.

Also gaining nominations in the Legal Coverage category were the Edinburgh Evening News, the Press & Journal and the Scotsman, while picking up a nomination for their empathetic coverage of mental illness issues were the Scotsman and the Sunday Herald.

The Sunday Herald also collected the award for Best Coverage of Youth Issues, a category sponsored by Young Scot, against the Edinburgh Evening News and the Herald.

In the Local Newspaper of the Year award the Dumfries and Galloway Standard beat competition from the Perthshire Advertiser and the Aberdeen Evening Express to land the title. The paper scored highly across the whole panel, described as “sharp and professional” and “everything a local newspaper should be”.

So, there we have it, the full run-down of results at the Scottish Newspaper of the Year Awards 2003. Minus one, that is – the much coveted Scottish Newspaper of the Year title. The judges felt that there really only could be one winner in this category – the main category of the night.

Having been nominated in almost every section of the awards and scooping a handful of prizes too, the title of Scottish Newspaper of the Year had to go to the Sunday Herald. And, for once, there were no arguments there.

The emerging Pete Townsend saga was the lead in most newspapers during the week that was in question for this year’s competition. A bit of ‘research’ allegedly going astray.

However, it was the newspapers that were under scrutiny, not their collective subjects, as the judges sat down to decide the winners of the 2003 Scottish Newspaper of the Year awards.

Every title in Scotland was invited to submit a portfolio of newspaper editions spanning the 16, 17 and 18 of January this year (with the Sunday papers submitting copies from the 5, 12 and 19 of the same month).

And, as in years gone by, the consecutive editions were sent out to our judging panel to be assessed across nine categories, Design and Layout, News, Features, Sport, Business Pages, Supplement, Foreign Coverage, Opinion & Editorial and Arts & Entertainment.

As always, the competition was fierce, with Scotland’s top newspapers submitting their cherished titles to be studied, discussed, praised and ripped apart by the panel of judges.

Once all the completed judging books had been returned, the panel re-assembled over lunch at Opus in Glasgow to debate their choices, come up with nominations in each category and to name the winner for each of these categories, including the Best Daily, Evening, Sunday and Overall titles.

Furthermore, this year a specialist panel was amassed, by the Law Society Scotland, See Me and Young Scot, to judge and present awards for the Best Legal Coverage, Coverage that Helps Challenge the Stigma of Mental Ill Health and for Excellence in the Coverage of Youth Issues, respectively.

What was decided that day was unveiled at a Gala Dinner in the Holiday Inn, Glasgow, to an on-looking crowd of 250 newspapermen and women, all baying to get their hands on the coveted hatstand trophy (as modelled by the Edinburgh Evening News last year) and the right to add the moniker of Scottish Newspaper of the Year to their mast head.

Despite a good performance by last year’s title-holders, the Edinburgh Evening News, noticing an evolution in its readership and a rise in circulation, the East Coast evening title was forced to relinquish its crown and hat stand to the Sunday Herald as it romped home to win five of the categories up for grabs.

The Sunday broadsheet was widely praised by the judges, who this year included Roger Alton, editor of the Observer, Judith Mackay of BBC Scotland, Robert Ridley, deputy editor of the Manchester Evening News, Councillor Charles Gordon of Glasgow City Council, Lesley Sawyer of the Royal Mail, Ardi Kolah of the IPR, Vernon Murphy of BAA and Richard Draycott and Gordon Young from The Drum.

While the specialist panel consisted of Gillian Meighan of The Law Society of Scotland, Louise MacDonald from Young Scot and Linda Dunion from See Me.

Speaking of the Sunday Herald, the judges said: “From the moment we started the judging process it soon became obvious that the Sunday Herald stood a very good chance of regaining its Newspaper of the Year crown as it picked up nominations in every category.

“As always, the design and layout of the newspaper was heavily praised, as was its Seven Days supplement. It also only just missed out on the Best News Coverage category for the way in which its reporters handled stories. For a Sunday newspaper to rival a daily newspaper in the news category means it must be doing something right.”

The judges were unanimous in their praise for the Sunday Herald, which they felt was the best overall newspaper package produced in Scotland for Scottish readers.

“It targets its content very well to its audience,” said the panel. “And we feel that as long as it continues to cater for its readers then it will have a big future.”

The success bodes well for the former SMG title and its sisters, the Herald and Evening Times, now under the new direction of Newsquest and new managing director, Tim Blott.

But how did the other newspapers fare under the scrutiny of the judges?

The categories were highly contested by the panel and often (although not always) it took the judges much debate to reach a winner in each category.

The first category up was design and layout. The nominations were the Herald, Sunday Herald and Sunday Times Scotland. After praising the overall standards of design in the Scottish broadsheet market, the judges debated every aspect of the layout – from masthead to use of pictures. The guidelines set by the panel meant that the eventual winner would have to be clean, clear and easy to read. A head-to-head ensued between the Herald and Sunday Herald, with the daily title pipping its stable partner to the post.

The judges praised both for their excellent use of pictures and superb production values. However, special praise was showered on the Herald for its spreads, use of colour and “lack of design rules”. All in all, though, the judges agreed that it was a hard category to kick off the session.

Next up was perhaps one of the most sought after accolades, Best News Coverage. The tabloids did well in this category with the Daily Record and the Edinburgh Evening News battling it out with the ever-present Sunday Herald. After the lengthy (and usual) “chat” about what constitutes a news story, the Daily Record was awarded the title. The judges said of their choice: “Everyone might not agree with its values, but there is a lot of news and it is clearly a Scottish title – it doesn’t try to be anything else. It identifies with Scottish issues in the broadest sense, but with a good UK balance.”

Another highly contested accolade was for Best Sports Coverage. This year the News of the World beat off stiff competition from broadsheet rivals both from the West and the East. The Scotsman and Sunday Herald, although praised for their breadth of coverage, could not match the in-depth knowledge, views and behind-the-scenes coverage of the News of the World.

The judges said of the win: “It was good to see a number of Scotland’s tabloids picking up awards, particularly in categories such as News and Sports. We feel that the results are very reflective of what newspaper readers are wanting more of these days.”

Continuing the success of the tabloids, the Scottish Sun scooped the Best Opinion and Editorial award, fending off the Herald and, again, the Sunday Herald.

“The winner had to say what it wanted to say firmly, without leaving any doubt in the reader’s mind ... the Sun does just that,” said the judges, despite their high regard for the independent editorial focus of the two other nominees.

Next category to be judged was Best Features. Nominated in this section were Sunday Times Scotland, Scotland on Sunday and the Sunday Herald. Despite a good showing from the Sunday Herald and a strong argument for both Scotland on Sunday and the Scottish Daily Mail (although the latter failed to make the final list), leading the pack was the Sunday Times Scotland. “The title reflects the organic news feature agenda in Scotland,” said one judge. “Due to the resources at hand, Sunday Times Scotland is able to go deeper to the heart of a subject. A true features newspaper.”

Once the criteria for judging had been finalised by the panel, the award for best newspaper supplement was awarded to Seven Days (Sunday Herald). The judges ranked the Sunday Herald supplement above both Scotland on Sunday’s Spectrum and Sunday Times Scotland’s Ecosse commenting on the quality of journalism and its maturity.

There was one notable absentee from the next category. However, the closure of Business am – last year’s winner of the Best Business Coverage section – has not seen the standard of business coverage in Scotland drop with complacency. If anything, the judges felt that business coverage remained at a consistent high. Nominated, after great debate in this category, were Sunday Times Scotland, Sunday Herald and Edinburgh Evening News. The award went to Sunday Times Scotland – its third award of the night. The newspaper’s “comprehensive” business pages beat off an extremely strong pack, with the judges saving special praise also for the Evening News’ local business coverage and Sunday Herald’s true reflection of the Scottish business landscape.

Nominated for Arts and Entertainment were the Sunday Herald, Sunday Times Scotland and the Evening Times.

Of the winner, the judges said: “Its arts and entertainment sections are both strong and clear. There is bags there, be it a tacky film or a highbrow art show. The spread really is remarkable for an evening tabloid newspaper.”

The Evening Times was happy to pick up the award.

In the final open category of the night, the Sunday Herald picked up another award for Best Foreign coverage. Also nominated in the section were Scotland on Sunday and Sunday Times Scotland. In the past the judges had felt that perhaps this was an area for concern in Scotland.

This year, the assembled panel voiced none of these fears. Scotland on Sunday and Sunday Times Scotland both merited high commendation from the judges for their coverage, both with a good mix of international news.

But, again it was the Sunday Herald that received the top accolade for its “recognition of the importance of foreign coverage and the high standards of coverage that it keeps.”

So with the main categories decided, it was time for the judges to choose the overall winners in the Evening, Sunday and Daily Newspaper of the Year awards. Perhaps the panel’s most challenging choice.

“Easy on the eye, with strong features, good use of pictures and up-to-the-minute news.” The Evening Times was voted winner in the category Evening Newspaper of the Year, claiming the award from last year’s title-holder, the Edinburgh Evening News.

There were two major contenders for Sunday Newspaper of the Year – Sunday Times Scotland and Sunday Herald. And it was the Sunday Herald that was chosen by the judges to scoop the title. Voted by the judges as a “truly Scottish paper, consistently original and pleasing on the eye”. There could, in the end, be only one winner.

Daily Newspaper of the Year was the most open category in the awards. The Herald, Daily Record and the Sun were all mulled over. But it was the Herald, with its “beautiful, clean layout, excellent use of pictures and clearly labelled sections” that caught the eye of the judges.

Furthermore, the Herald picked up two awards, sponsored by See Me and The Law Society of Scotland, for its coverage challenging the stigma of mental ill health and its coverage of legal issues, respectively.

Also gaining nominations in the Legal Coverage category were the Edinburgh Evening News, the Press & Journal and the Scotsman, while picking up a nomination for their empathetic coverage of mental illness issues were the Scotsman and the Sunday Herald.

The Sunday Herald also collected the award for Best Coverage of Youth Issues, a category sponsored by Young Scot, against the Edinburgh Evening News and the Herald.

In the Local Newspaper of the Year award the Dumfries and Galloway Standard beat competition from the Perthshire Advertiser and the Aberdeen Evening Express to land the title. The paper scored highly across the whole panel, described as “sharp and professional” and “everything a local newspaper should be”.

So, there we have it, the full run-down of results at the Scottish Newspaper of the Year Awards 2003. Minus one, that is – the much coveted Scottish Newspaper of the Year title. The judges felt that there really only could be one winner in this category – the main category of the night.

Having been nominated in almost every section of the awards and scooping a handful of prizes too, the title of Scottish Newspaper of the Year had to go to the Sunday Herald. And, for once, there were no arguments there.

CategoryNewspaper

Overall WinnerSunday Herald

Daily Newspaper of the YearThe Herald

Evening Newspaper of the YearThe Evening Times

Sunday Newspaper of the YearSunday Herald

Best News CoverageDaily Record

NominatedEdinburgh Evening News, Sunday Herald

Best Design & LayoutThe Herald

NominatedSunday Herald, Sunday Times Scotland

Best FeaturesSunday Times Scotland

NominatedScotland on Sunday, The Herald

Best Sport News of the World

NominatedThe Scotsman, Sunday Herald

Best SupplementSeven Days (Sunday Herald)

NominatedScotland on Sunday, Sunday Times (Eccosse)

Best Business PagesSunday Times Scotland

NominatedEdinburgh Evening News, Sunday Herald

Best Opinion & EditorialThe Scottish Sun

NominatedSunday Herald, The Herald

Best Arts & EntertainmentEvening Times

NominatedSunday Herald, Sunday Times Scotland

Best Foreign CoverageSunday Herald

NominatedScotland on Sunday, Sunday Times Scotland

Legal CoverageThe Herald

The ‘See Me’ awardThe Herald

Young Scot award for Youth IssuesSunday Herald

LOCAL NEWSPAPER results

PositionNewspaper

WinnerDumfries and Galloway Standard

NominatedPerthshire Advertiser

NominatedAberdeen Evening Express

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