Newspaper of the Year

By The Drum, Administrator

May 6, 2004 | 13 min read

The team from the Sunday Herald celebrate their win with their hatstand trophy.

It had all the ingredients of a night that would be (and was) talked about widely on editorial floors the morning after. Take a boycott by the editors of the Scotsman Publications and add in a few comments deemed to be “sexist and offensive” by the host for the evening Dominik Diamond and you know you are going to get something pretty tasty.

The Scottish Newspaper of the Year event is always one that conjures up passion as Scotland’s many newspaper editors, deputies and associates sit (perhaps grudgingly) in the same room for a few hours in the hope of being named the best in their respective fields. Be it news coverage, business reporting, feature content, range of supplements or any of the key criteria used to assess the quality of Scotland’s newspapers.

The stage was set after an equally passionate judging day took place in Glasgow in February, with the judging panel headed up by Blair Jenkins, head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland, and consisting of Matt Wells, media editor of the Guardian, Tim Burrowes, editor of Media Week, Ian Reeves, editor of Press Gazette, chairman of the Scottish IPA Ian McAteer, Eddie Friel, chief executive of Greater Glasgow and Clyde Valley Tourist Board, John Robertson of the Newspaper Society, Paul Holleran of the National Union of Journalists and Jane Cumming of the Scottish IPR and Platform PR.

Also heading up judging panels in a number of special categories were Gillian Meighan of the Law Society of Scotland, Louise MacDonald of Young Scot and Linda Dunion of See Me.

As in years gone by, all of the judges received three consecutive copies of each Scottish national newspaper and were asked to rate them out of ten in the key criteria: design and layout, news, sport, business, features, opinion and comment, supplements, foreign coverage, and arts and entertainments. Once these initial findings were collated, The Drum was able to draw up a shortlist in each category. The judging panel then met to discuss the shortlists and reach a final decision in each category.

And so on the night it was left to Dominik Diamond to break the news to the gathered audience of some 250 people at the Moat House Hotel in Glasgow.

And here’s what he said – minus the “sexist and offensive” remarks, of course.

Best Design and Layout

Winner: Sunday Herald

Nominations: Herald, Scotsman, Sunday Herald and Edinburgh Evening News.

Judges’ comments: “The judges were looking for a newspaper that was clean, clear and easy to read and navigate throughout. We found what we were looking for. The Sunday Herald was chosen as the winner in this category for its bravery in the use of pictures and its desire to challenge the traditional rules of broadsheet design.”

Best News Coverage

Winner: Scotsman

News Editor: Nick Drainey,

Nominations: Sunday Herald, Herald, Press & Journal and Scotsman.

Judges’ comments: “The winner in this category has been developing for the last 18 months under its new editor and perhaps it would be fair to say the quality of the Scotsman’s news coverage surprised us a little when we really considered it closely. The news coverage in the issues under the microscope was broad ranging and, in general, seems to have been refocused on economic issues since Iain Martin took over. Overall, the total news content impressed us.”

Best Sports Coverage

Winner: Daily Record

Nominations: Daily Record, Sunday Herald, Sunday Times Scotland, Evening Times and Edinburgh Evening News.

Judges’ comments: “After a debate about just what constitutes quality Scottish sports coverage, we aimed to identify the newspaper that knows its own sports market the best and goes above and beyond in catering for it. Our winner, the Daily Record, may not have the broadest range of sports coverage, but it demonstrated again an intrinsic knowledge of what its readers want to read about when it comes to sport, and its depth of coverage of the Old Firm continues to be unparalleled in Scotland.”

Best Feature Content

Winner: Sunday Herald

Nominations: Sunday Herald, Sunday Times Scotland and Sunday Mail.

Judges’ comments: “The winner here was chosen for its sheer breadth of feature content. The newspaper always has something for everyone, whether it be hard-news-based features, business-related analysis or lifestyle features. It seems to know its audience well and knows how to cater for what a diverse audience wants. It also generally manages to make its features look visually appealing in order to draw readers in.”

Best Business Pages

Winner: Edinburgh Evening News

Business Editor: Gareth Mackie

Nominations: Sunday Herald, Sunday Times Scotland, Edinburgh Evening News, Herald and Press & Journal.

Judges’ comments: “Business coverage continues to be high on the agenda of all broadsheets and all of the nominated papers do an admirable job of covering Scotland’s business community. But the winner has again made a vast improvement over the last year and has really set its stall out in the business arena and become a must-read for the city’s business community.”

Best Supplement Package

Winner: Scotland on Sunday

Spectrum Editor: Eilidh MacAskill

@home editor: Lynn O’Rourke

Nominations: Scotland on Sunday, Herald

and Sunday Herald.

Judges’ comments: “What we wanted to concentrate on here was the newspaper that we felt offered the best overall package of supplements, as opposed to any one individual supplement. The winning newspaper contains a good varied selection of good quality and readable supplements, which do not always hang on TV listings or events guides. The development of its property supplement, @home, has made a big difference to the package and is one of the most readable property sections on the market. Overall, Scotland on Sunday is a value-for-money package.”

Best Opinion and Editorial

Winner: Sunday Herald

Nominations: Scotsman, Herald and Sunday Herald.

Judges’ comments: “The Sunday Herald wins in this category because of the calibre of its opinion writers and columnists and the quality of the articles that they write. They are invariably topical, interesting and generally hard-hitting and make a point.”

Best Arts and Entertainment

Winner: Scotsman

Arts & Ents editor: Andrew Easton

Nominations: Evening Times, Scotland on Sunday, Scotsman, Sunday Herald and Daily Record.

Judges’ comments: “This was a difficult category, as it is difficult to pin down just what good arts and entertainments coverage should encompass. But we again tried to see which newspaper catered best for its market. The Scotsman covers a wide range of arts and its reviewers write authoritatively and knowledgeably about their subjects, making the Scotsman stand out from a crowd of newspapers that were all generally strong in this area.”

Best Foreign Coverage

Winner: Sunday Herald

Nomination: Sunday Herald.

Judges’ comments: “This is one area that again was lacking in high quality. However, the Sunday Herald continues to invest in having its own people on the ground in areas of conflict and that comes through in its emotive reporting from areas such as Iraq and, latterly, Haiti.”

The Young Scot Award for

Excellence in Youth Issues Coverage

Winner: Edinburgh Evening News

Nominations: Herald, Sunday Herald and Edinburgh Evening News.

Judges’ comments: "The misrepresentation of young people in the media is a serious issue - and one that young people tell us concerns them greatly. The aim of the Young Scot Award, which is judged by a panel of young people, is to recognise excellence in youth issues coverage, avoiding stereotypical language and images. The Edinburgh Evening News this year was a worthy winner, with great examples of positive coverage of young people's issues, both locally and nationally."

The ‘See Me’ Award for

Best Coverage of Mental Health Issues

Winner: Sunday Herald

Nominations: Sunday Herald, East Fife Mail and Herald.

Judges’ comments: “The winner has given in-depth coverage to mental health issues, both at Scottish Mental Health Week and at other times of the year. Detailed coverage and editorial comment were given to news such as Rosie Kane’s recovery from depression, which really conveyed the message of recovery as we would want it seen.”

The NHS Health Scotland Award for Contribution to Health Improvement

Winner: Daily Record

Nominations: Daily Record, Daily Express, Sunday Post and Scottish Sun.

Judges’ comments: “The final decision was due to feature coverage for contribution to health improvement and specifically because of the newspaper’s dedication to the Scottish persona. The health coverage of the Daily Record newspaper was seen as positive and upbeat.”

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

Award for Reporting Excellence

Winner: Eva Langlands for Changing The Script, published in The Big Issue Scotland.

Judges’ comments: “The reporter’s role is essential in a democratic society. Good reporting on sensitive issues such as mental health is invaluable in properly informing that society and enabling us to reach the right decisions on how we can help each other. Eva Langlands’ feature, Changing The Script, examined, sensitively and in detail, the problems many patients faced when being prescribed psychiatric drugs. It is a worthy winner of this award.”

Evening Newspaper of the Year

Winner: Edinburgh Evening News

Judges’ comments: “The Edinburgh Evening News was considered to have attained a commanding position as a high-quality metropolitan newspaper. Its news coverage is comprehensive, at a local, national and international level, its business is authoritative and well informed and its editorial voices strong opinions on the many issues relating to its readership. An excellent evening newspaper.”

Sunday Newspaper of the Year

Winner: Sunday Herald

Judges’ comments: “While Scotland on Sunday remains a good-quality Sunday newspaper package, there was one clear winner here, the Sunday Herald, which is strong in every area of the package.”

Daily Newspaper of the Year

Winner: Herald

Judges’ comments: “This was a particularly hard decision to make, with broadsheets, particularly a much improved Scotsman, and tabloids all in the frame for doing a good all-round job for their readers. However, our winner was again judged to have consolidated its position as a real high-quality daily, covering all the big stories, finding some good exclusives and remaining authoritative in areas such as opinion, sports and business.”

Best Scottish Edition of a UK National Newspaper

Winner: Sunday Times Scotland

Nominations: Daily Mail and Sunday Times Scotland.

Judges’ comments: “The winner here was considered the most comprehensive newspaper package on the market. However, with much of its content sourced from outside Scotland, we felt that it could not honestly play a bigger part in other categories. That said, its increased coverage of Scottish news and business and its excellent Ecosse section make it a good Sunday read.”

Scottish Newspaper of the Year 2004

And so, after all of that, we arrived at the moment when one newspaper editor would be jubilant and others would be mildly annoyed or deeply furious to have missed out on the Scottish Newspaper of the Year Hatstand trophy.

There were three newspapers in the running for the overall title. They were the Edinburgh Evening News, the Herald and the Sunday Herald.

The judges concluded that each newspaper was excellent in its marketplace and offered everything its readers could want and more – quality news coverage, in-depth sport, diverse features and a strong editorial voice.

However, after much deliberation the judges agreed that, again, the Sunday Herald had performed the most strongly across the main criteria and so should be crowned Scottish Newspaper of the Year for a second consecutive year.

The newspaper was nominated in all nine of the key criteria used in this competition, winning awards for its design and layout, features, opinion and editorial and foreign coverage.

Speaking of the Sunday Herald, judges said: “The Sunday Herald is the complete newspaper. It looks good, uses pictures imaginatively and is broad and diverse in its content in all areas, particularly features. Its continued investment in foreign reporting is a credit to it and is evident in its coverage of international issues, which are so important at the moment.”

So, there we have it for another year. Can the Sunday Herald hold on to its crown for another year? Or can the Scotsman Publications continue to pile on the pressure next year? Maybe the changes implemented by the Daily Record’s new editor, Bruce Waddell, will pay dividends and see the tabloids emerge as a force to reckoned with. Likewise, the strength of the evening newspapers, particularly the Edinburgh Evening News, could see them rule supreme in 12 months’ time.

But one thing is for sure - whoever attempts to steal Andrew Jaspan’s Scottish Newspaper of the Year Hatstand trophy away next year will have to go into Renfield Street and get it themselves, because he won’t give it up without a fight.

Local Newspaper of the Year 2004

Competition in the local newspaper arena was again fierce this year as 2003’s winner, the Dumfries and Galloway Standard looked to defend its title and retain its hat stand.

As always all the local newspapers that entered the competition were judged on the following criteria: Design & layout, news coverage, sports coverage, features, standard of campaigning and use of pictures and photography with judges asked to rate each title out of ten in each area.

This years judges included Andrew Jaspan, editor of the Sunday Herald, Mark Dickinson of the Liverpool Echo, Gillian Meigham of the Law Society of Scotland and David Benjamin of the Manchester Evening News.

And so after the judging three local Scottish newspapers made it through to the shortlist, and they were: The Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser, the Stirling Observer and the Highland News.

But it was the Scottish & Universal Newspapers-owned Stirling Observer, which scooped the Local Newspaper of the Year hat stand trophy this year.

Editor of the Stirling Observer Alan Rennie was at the event to collect the newspapers award and to hear judges praise it highly for its mix of hard news stories and lighter stories. The judges felt that the newspaper, which was made tabloid in format around five years ago, had lively opinion pages and was east for readers to find their way around. Judges felt that the package also benefitted greatly from being full colour.


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