As an (alleged) vision of journalistic hell was presented to jurors at the Old Bailey yesterday, I was privileged to immerse myself in journalism heaven as I convened the judging for this year's British Journalism Awards.
These are Press Gazette's attempt to launch set of journalism prizes for the UK which are akin to the Pulitzers in the US and which are open to all journalists wherever they work – be that national or regional press, magazines, broadcasting or purely online.
They were launched last year (winners pictured above) partly as a response to the Leveson Inquiry and its one-sided portrayal of our industry as amoral and uncaring. The British Journalism Awards are determinedly high-minded in their aims with an emphasis on journalism which is both interesting to the public, and in the public interest.
With the hacking trial now in full swing, and politicians seemingly determined to impose a system of statute-backed regulation on a reluctant industry, it is more important than ever to draw attention to the great work journalists do.
I hope that every member of Parliament takes the time to glance through the British Journalism Awards shortlist when it is published on Monday. There is evidence time and again of how journalists across our industry have stepped into the breach when politicians, police, businesses and other public institutions have been found failing.
At last week's Media Society dinner in honour of Sir Harold Evans there was a lot of reminiscing about his amazing editorship of The Sunday Times in the 1960s and 1970s.
The British Journalism Awards show that the type of investigative journalism in the public interest which he pioneered is alive and kicking in 2013.
Press Gazette wants to play a small part in encouraging and promoting it and I hope politicians and publishers alike realise how important it is that they do the same.
This year we had more than 300 entries encompassing all the major national newspaper publishing groups as well as the BBC, Sky, ITN and a number of regional and business titles as well as specialist websites.
The Investigation, New Journalist and Foreign categories all had a particularly high number of brilliant entries leaving the judges with a tough job to do.
The shortlists for nearly all the awards categories will be announced on this website on Monday. The Journalist of the Year and the Marie Colvin Award do not have shortlists and the winners will be announced at the awards event, which is being held at Stationers' Hall in London on 2 December.
Many thanks to all the judges for giving up their time to help make this important event possible:
George Brock, former managing editor of The Times and head of journalism at City University (and a Liveryman of the Stationers’ Company)
Lori Miles, former editor of Mizz, Chat, Take a Break and the London Evening News
Kevin Marsh, former editor of Today and the BBC College of Journalism
Peter Preston, editor of The Guardian from 1975 to 1995
John Dale, fomerly of The Observer, Daily Mail and editor of Take a Break for 20 years. Ten-time BSME Awards winner
Liz Gerard, former night editor of the Times with 40 years experience in journalism – author of the SubScribe blog
Fiona Fox, chief executive of the Science Media Centre
Alan Geere, former editor of titles including The Tribune (USA), the Trinidad Express and the Northcliffe Media South East series
John Mair, former BBC producer and editor of 10 books on journalism
David Banks, former editor of the Daily Mirror, New York Daily News, Sydney Daily Telegraph
Robin Morgan, former Sunday Times Magazine editor
Peter Cole, emeritus professor of journalism at Sheffield University, former deputy editor of The Guardian and founding editor of the Sunday Correspondent
- Ian Reeves, former editor of Press Gazette now director of learning at the University of Kent journalism department.
The 2013 British Journalism Awards are sponsored by:
The 2013 British Journalism Awards are supported by: